You might remember a few months ago I shared a couple blogs on substitute teaching for Lucner whenever he was stateside for his master's studies. As intimidating as putting myself before 50 businesspeople, students, politicians and community members was to teach them English (after being used to only teaching 10-12 seminary students), I was blown away at the opportunity I suddenly had to share the gospel to a deeply captive audience.
I think it was Aunt Lori that said, "I can just see your brain working, Stacey...can't wait to see what the Lord does with this."
Not long after that, but before we ever moved to Sakenville, Matt and I started talking about what WE could do in Sakenville to bless the community, to die to them and most, to give this dark place Jesus.
The Lord used our friend Abel to bring these two things together.
"I want to learn more...the English!" he said one afternoon over lunch after helping move us in all morning.
"Do you think there are a LOT of people in Sakenville that want to learn English?" I asked.
So we thought and prayed and talked some more, and finally I hooked up with Pastor Janiel's wife, an administrator, and asked her to go into this ministry idea with me. Due to the earthquake and all that has followed, I've yet to share a word of this with you, but this past Saturday morning we held our 4th S.E.E.P. class, Sakenville Evangelistic English Program at Maranatha Church of Sakenville.
SO SO GOOD.
The second people heard that a woman that teaches at the beautiful "new" Emmaus Biblical Seminary was offering a course for "everyone else", that the cost was the cost of copies (ie....$7 US for the entire year), and that the subject was the much-sought-after English language, my "30 student" cut-off went to 40. 50. 60. Not one person over 75. And that is where we are today.
Also advertised strongly was that the point of this class was to study the Bible, learn about God, and to bring people to a saving knowledge of He who made them, died for them and is waiting. There would be one text: the Bible. There would be one purpose: Evangelism. But it would be in English.
Fifteen spots were reserved for people from the church, and each Saturday it brings me joy to tell people about the Lord alongside of these 15 brothers and sisters. We gather in the church, bringing people from around Sakenville and the surrounding zones into His house. And I "stole" the Chronological Bible Story Method from Junior, and that's all we do.
For example, Week One. I told of Genesis 1, the creation of the world and of man. Mostly teaching in Creole, I emphasized major vocabulary (earth, animal, plant, man, sun) in English. I share the passage several times in several ways, having this humungous class of businesspeople, farmers, street vendors, the mayor of Acul-du-Nord, policemen, students, church members and who-knows-who-else repeating the facts of the passage after me.
At the end of our 2 hour class, we go through a long series of questions in Creole and English, working through what it MEANS.
Why are men and women different than animals? Because they were made in the image of God. What was there in the beginning? Nothing but the Spirit of God. What does that tell us about God? He is and always has been.
How can I explain how BEAUTIFUL this part of the class is? Where did you come from? and 75 people strongly (over 50 being non-Christians) shout "God made me."
The next week: How did Adam and Eve know not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Because God told them. What does this tell us about God? He communicates with us.
But the best? This past Saturday.
Don't get me wrong...when Friday night comes around, and I am making word posters, and getting ready to get up early on Saturday morning to walk to church toting a dry-erase board, a bulletin board, and easel, two translations of Bibles and all my notes after a full and busy week, I think, "Why am I doing this again?"
But when I am in front of these 75, albeit still intimidating, Dear Ones, and starts sharing the Word with them, MAN, there is just nothing better. We've talked about how He made us, we talked about what sin is and how it came to be and how it breaks God's heart. What I know and they don't is what is COMING...We're beginning to understand the huge problem of sin, but what they don't know is coming is the solution...the HOPE. I can SEE the darkness in their beautiful eyes, and I can TASTE the hope for the Light to come.
This week was quiet unexpectedly the best yet: Cain and Abel. In the chronological Bible story telling method, you're not supposed to work ahead, and you're not supposed to turn the stories into devotionals. Just tell the story, ask the questions, review the previous stories and allow the students to work through it on their own.
But this week, as I shared about Cain and Abel, I'm telling you, I felt His Spirit in that church, "hovering over the darkness" as He did before the first day of time. We talked about how Cain and Abel both gave God a gift. We don't know exactly why, but God was pleased with Abel's gift, and not with Cain's. He Who Knows the Heart must have seen the difference between the intention or motive or meaning behind these gifts.
Instead of being devastated, apologizing, and giving the Lord an upright gift, Cain was angry. Then, as we all learned in Sunday school, Cain killed Abel. But if you look in Genesis 4, God tried to work with Cain before he ever shed blood.
"Why are you angry?" God asked Cain. "Why are you upset? If you choose what is right, won't your countenance then be lifted up? But if you choose what is not right, sin is crouching at your door. Sin wants to rule over you, but you must master it!"
As soon as I spoke these words, His Spirit fell. I couldn't help but speak it again.
What is sin?
It is doing what we want over what God wants.
Why did Cain kill Abel?
Because he was jealous.
Did Cain do what he wanted to do?
What do we call it today when we do what we want?
When Cain did what he wanted to do, did he become free?
What became his master?
What did God tell Cain to do?
Fight against sin. Rule over sin.
Have freedom from sin?
Yes, freedom. True freedom.
Would God ask CAin to rule over sin if this was not possible?
So when we do what we want to do, we become slaves to sin?
But we can defeat sin with God's help?
So what gives us freedom?
Living for the Lord.
I began to get really chocked up at this point because of the fervent way the entire class was responding and the true way that they were understanding, and felt the hairs on my arms standing up. You read last weeks blog about these same men and women professing that Jesus was Lord but claiming that they wanted the freedom to keep doing what they wanted.
But Saturday, Cain and Abel, and the horrific reality of the rest of Cain's life due to his choice of slavery to sin, though His loving God lovingly urged him to chose joy and life and freedom, dropped scales from many eyes. I could hear them dropping, could see veils being lifted.
WHAT A JOY! To stand before His people, most living it utter slavery and heart-breaking darkness, and open God's transforming and perfect and exquisite Word and let His Spirit reveal it to them, and watch Him change everything, watch Him do impossible things, watch Him transform what I never could.
OH, this is long. I'm sorry. PLEASE be praying for this class, for these students, for me as I teach and for His Spirit to be with us every Saturday morning from 8-10.
Before I go, I've got to urge you...Doing this has been terrifying, time-consuming, challenging and SO entirely out of my comfort zone. But in just 4 weeks, He has shown up in an incredible and tangible way, and people that I am convinced would NEVER study the Bible otherwise are professing loudly His truth.
Go and Do Something New.
Let Him do something new because you are. Let Him be seen in a way He never has been because you are doing something you have never done. Let Him work in a way He can't through ANYONE else, to people He can't through ANYONE else.
OH, Family. I promise you that no matter how terrifying, uncomfortable, sacrificial, challenging or stretching it is for you to do this, that He will heap riches unimaginable, indescribable, invaluable upon your heart.
If even ONE was worth it to Him to DIE for, is even ONE not worth it for us to die to?
Matt and Enick, after a VERY long ordination service at Coup-a-David this morning...Enick, a graduate from Matt's first class, is now officially "Pastor Enick."
Ricky and Aidan...CONGRATS!