Great things. A boy. How do those two things go together?
David and Goliath may have crossed your mind. This is a modern-day story like that. But this story doesn’t have any giants. It does have a father, a son, a family, and about 50 Christian mission volunteers in Kenya who were blessed to witness some amazing things. This is their story. Our team was engaged in a 10-day mission effort in Mombasa, Kenya. Our group’s primary responsibility was medical missions. We also did crusade services in the evenings as well as backyard Bible schools in Mombasa neighborhoods.A 50 member team can do quite a few things in more than one place. To be as efficient as possible, we divided into 5 work teams with different daily assignments. Just a couple of days into our mission, the work team I led was assigned to do a backyard Bible school. I went with the team and helped draw a crowd with a little open Frisbee play and some soccer balls. It doesn’t take long to get a crowd of youngsters when you have the right tools! By the time our team got the kids to the Bible teaching time, a driver and translator arrived to take me to a noon preaching event. When I returned, “Sandra” was anxious to talk to me. She had primary leadership responsibility for the Bible school. A homeless boy had attended the school. Sandra wanted to know what, if anything, we could do for a boy that was living on the street. That’s not real uncommon in parts of Mombasa. This was memorable because the boy had been put out of his home because of his faith! There is a large Muslim population in Mombasa. Our host church, Ushindi Baptist, is right in the heart of the Muslim ‘district.’ The church has multiple Sunday services with as many as 16,000 people attending. ‘Ushindi’ is the Swahili word for Victory. Their story is amazing all by itself. Ushindi is gaining victory in their culture for Christ. The boy we encountered was from a Muslim family in this area of Mombasa. His family was wealthy. He had attended private schools all his life. He spoke five languages. He was not your ‘average’ street urchin. He was on the street because his father kicked him out of their home when he professed his faith in Jesus Christ. After dinner each evening, our team gathered for a sharing and debriefing session. Everyone was not together all day so this is how we learned what happened with our fellow volunteers. Sandra shared the story of meeting this boy. The problem was he slipped out of the school before anyone was able to find out how to find him again. The whole team prayed for him that night. Two days passed without encountering the boy. The next day my work team was again in the neighborhood where we met him. When the driver arrived to pick me up, we headed to a local high school where I was to address the entire faculty and student body. It seemed to me to be a great preaching opportunity. It was, but God also had other things in store. After my message, I spent about 20 minutes with the headmaster of the school. She was a delightful lady and we enjoyed meeting each other and hearing about the different ministry roles God had given us. Returning to my work team, I found Sandra very excited. The boy came to see them again while I was at the high school. As Sandra talked with him, she learned a little more. He had come to faith in Christ a few weeks before we arrived in Mombasa. His family, the father in particular, had tried very hard to counter his step of faith. The father reached the end of his efforts and then threatened the boy’s life! Hearing that, the boy simply said, “If you kill me, I’ll just be with Jesus even sooner.” With that, the father disowned him and put him on the street. After dinner, we shared all of this with our whole team. The next night a large crusade event had been planned by our hosts. It was to be held in a local stadium so the the location was well known. Sandra had invited the boy to the event. He said he would be there. Again, we prayed for him and talked about things we might do for him the next evening. He did come. We ministered to him. But our time ran out and we went home. We didn’t reach a ‘resolution’ for him. I corresponded with the headmaster of the high school. Team members gave enough money to house the boy at the school and pay his tuition. We thought that was a great ‘resolution’ to the story. God had a better one. What happens when a boy won’t give up his faith and Christians won’t give up on being Christ to those in need? For six months a Muslim family we never met watched all this from afar. That family is now a Christian family! Jesus said, “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” They found ushindi, and that same victory can be yours!