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Tales Worth Telling

11.06.19
by Crossworld
in Congo, Education, Leadership development, Story
Want proof God transforms lives? Just ask these pastors.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — Papers lay in neat stacks on Crossworld worker Wes’ desk as he stood up and gathered his things. He opened his office door to find Jolmy, one of his students at Shalom University, waiting for him.

“I have a draft of my group’s final project,” Jolmy said. “Will you look it over?”

Wes took the papers and glanced at the group’s work. It needed a lot of help.

“Are you working on this with your group right now?” Wes asked.

“Yes, in the study center.”

“I’ll come with you.”

Wes and Jolmy entered the study center to see a group of men — all of them much older than Wes, all of them pastors already — huddled around a wobbly wooden desk. For their final project, they were to develop objectives for a Bible study that showed the participants’ understanding of the lesson. This task proved to be a challenge for Wes’ students, whose prior education focused only on memorization and recall.

“Our Bible study is on Romans 12:2,” one of the men in the group said before quoting the verse: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

“Good,” Wes said. “What will your students do to show you that they understand this verse?”

“We could ask them to give examples of conforming to this world so they know what to avoid.”

“Yes! In order to give examples, they must understand the idea of ‘conforming to this world.’ What about the second part of the verse?”

Silence.

“That part is harder to understand,” Wes said. “This verse doesn’t just tell us what to avoid, but it gives us an alternative. Could you ask students to give examples of the second part?”

Silence.

Wes tried again. “Can you give an example of the second part?”

Birds chirping … literally.

“Let me start,” Wes said. “When I was a boy, an older man started coming to my church. He sat in the front with his arms folded, frowning through the entire service. When it was over, he left without talking to anyone. He did this every Sunday for months. Then one day he trusted in Jesus and he was completely changed. Suddenly he smiled all the time. Every week he gave me a huge hug, like a bear, and his whole face radiated joy.”

As soon as Wes finished his story, the four students jumped in, sharing one example after another of people who had been changed by faith in Jesus. They didn’t even wait for one another to finish before inserting another tale of transformation.

Wes looked around at each of the men who suddenly understood. Not only did their own lives give proof of a renewed mind, but they would help others see it as well. For an instant, there was nothing left in the world worth conforming to.

Your part in this story...

Crossworld worker Wes asks you to pray for these requests.

  • Many of my students from last year are now spread all over Congo in their ministry posts. Pray for their families’ transitions to new locations. And pray for their ministries — that they wouldn’t be content with behavior change but seek heart transformation through the Spirit.
     
  • Pray for me in my second year teaching these men. I’m still very much learning them and the culture here.
     
  • Not all of the students at Shalom University get the same level of biblical training. My wife and I want to start leading Bible studies for students outside the theology department. Pray for their spiritual health, and for the Holy Spirit to transform us all.
The people in this story are real, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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