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Trusting God: “The Best Opportunity”

Steve Saint
Nate Saint, a missionary pilot, flew the plane that helped Jim Elliot and three other missionaries reach the Waorani people. (Read more about the missionaries here.) After Nate’s death, his son Steve grew up in Ecuador and spent school vacations with his Aunt Rachel, who served God among the Waorani tribe. Later Steve also served as a missionary among the tribe.

A Flying Car
Steve started a company in the United States that invents machines to help people spread the gospel in hard-to-reach areas. One of the machines is a flying car! One day when Steve was testing one of the company’s machines, he had an accident that left him partly paralyzed. His condition has improved, but he still has physical challenges.

Christians and Pain
Steve has experienced sadness and pain in his life. His dad died about three weeks before his fifth birthday. Now Steve experiences physical pain from his accident. Jesus said that His followers would have challenges in their lives. “In this world you will have trouble,” He said. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (See John 16:33.) How should Christians deal with pain when it comes? Should they smile and pretend they have no pain? Should they blame God for their troubles?

Steve Saint told what he has learned through painful times in his life:
I have learned that life is painful for everyone. Trusting God to take away pain is admirable. But trusting God’s will and His love when He doesn’t take the pain away is yours and my greatest opportunity to demonstrate our faith.

How does Steve say we can best demonstrate faith?

Trusting God’s love when things aren’t going well is a powerful way to show others that God’s promises to care for us are real. Job in the Bible suffered through many trials, but still trusted God. (See Job 13:15.) David said: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4, ESV).

Steve Saint, Job, and David didn’t say, “Everything is fine!” Instead they say, “Even when everything is not fine, I know God is good and that He cares for me.

Islam in Uganda and Hassan’s School

Hassan’s school

The previous post told about Hassan, a Muslim in Uganda who tried to disrupt Christian meetings — until he met Jesus. The majority of the people in Uganda are Christians. But Islam is growing, and parts of the country have more Muslims than Christians. (Islam is the religion of Muslims.)

Why is Islam Growing?
*Besides attacking Christian meetings, Hassan and other Muslims studied how to use technology and media to make Muslim beliefs seem more appealing.

*Muslims worship in buildings called “mosques,” and their holy book is the Quran. But Muslim media specialists may call a mosque a “Muslim church” and the Quran the “Muslim Bible.” They hope Christians will think, “Muslims are a lot like us!” (Check the Beliefs section to find several charts comparing differences between Islam and biblical Christianity.)

*A Muslim businessman may come to a town in Uganda and say, “I’m going to open a factory and hire 1,000 people to work for me. But everyone I hire has to be a Muslim.”

*Christian students are not welcome to attend school in Muslim areas.

After Hassan became a Christian, he started a school for children of persecuted Christians who were not welcome in their local schools. One of the things the school teaches the children is how to share their faith with Muslims.

The photo above shows the children in the school. Hassan is in the back wearing a red shirt.

To Think About
After reading this post, can you list five things to pray about for Uganda and the Christians there?

Uganda: “Go and Get Saved!”

Pastor in Uganda

Hassan had a job to do. His job was to organize a Muslim mob to break up a Christian revival meeting in Uganda. The mob gathered clubs and stones as they had done several times before, and they started toward the meeting, ready to fight. When they got to the meeting, Hassan heard a voice say, “You go and get saved!”

“Hassan kind of freaked out,” said a VOM worker who talked to Hassan later. “His heart started beating rapidly, and he felt like he couldn’t breathe.”

Hassan felt so strange, he thought he might die. “I’m going to die unless a Christian prays for me,” Hassan thought. He walked around at the meeting asking Christians to pray for him. But the Christians thought he was setting them up. They believed that praying for him might be a signal to the mob to start their violence. So they wouldn’t pray.

Hassan shut himself in a van and said, “I’m not leaving this van until someone prays for me.” But the Christians thought he planned to blow himself up, along with the van, if anyone opened the door.

Finally a pastor said, “I’m going in there. If I die, I go to heaven. But if this man is really seeking Christ and we don’t help him, how can we live?” He entered the van and prayed for Hassan, who then trusted Christ as his Savior.

After word spread that Hassan had become a Christian, his Muslim wife left him and Muslims burned down his house.

Read more about Uganda and Hassan in the next post.

Standing Alone?

Elijah the prophet was hiding under a tree alone, deep in the wilderness. King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had threatened to kill him, so Elijah had fled as far away as he could run in one day.

Elijah spoke the truth about King Ahab’s evil behavior. He also stood up for the Lord against 450 of Ahab’s false prophets. Elijah had enjoyed God’s love and care for him when ravens brought him bread and meat and when a widow fed him from an endless supply of food provided to her by God. (See 1 Kings 17.)

But now, under the tree, Elijah felt alone and discouraged. “I’m the only true prophet left, and they’re trying to kill me,” he said to God. (1 Kings 19:10)

Middle of the Story Questions to Think About

• How do you think Elijah felt when he believed he was the only true believer in the land?
• Do Christians today ever have to speak up for the truth to people in power?
• How does standing up for the truth show that you trust God?
• Do you ever keep silent when someone is speaking up for the truth, even when you agree with them?
• Does it ever feel better to be part of a big group that is wrong than to be the only person telling the truth? Why is it better to trust God and be alone anyway?

Back to the Story
However, Elijah was not alone at all! Seven thousand people in the land worshiped the true God. (1 Kings 19:18) Apparently Elijah didn’t know about these true believers. Perhaps they stayed silent about their faith out of fear. But they were surely encouraged when Elijah stood firm for the Lord publicly. And Elijah realized that even if there were no other true followers, God would never leave him alone. He even provided Elisha to take over Elijah’s work after he was gone. (I Kings 19:21)


Persevering Christians

Do you know what a backhoe is? (See the photo above.)

Backhoes can:
*Dig a trench
*Plow snow
*Remove brush and trash

Can you think of any other jobs a backhoe can do?

Non-Christian officials in a village in Vietnam had another idea. They used a backhoe to push village Christians’ houses into a river. The Christians became homeless. They moved to another area and set up tents to live in.

The Christians were farmers, but the land where they moved was not suitable for farming. But with hard work and God’s help, the Christians were able to grow crops on the land.

Even though they are in difficult circumstances and must work hard to take care of their families, the Christians still take time to talk to people in the area and tell them about Jesus! A VOM worker said, “Thank God for their perseverance, and pray that He will continue to meet their needs.”

To Talk About
*What is perseverance? How did the Christians in Vietnam show perseverance?
*Have you ever thanked God for the good example provided by faithful persecuted Christians?

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