“You mean we can write in these?” the young woman questioned while gingerly opening her new Bible. The group of ladies in the circle looked at me with curiosity, intrigued by what I would say. “Of course, you can! I do it all the time.” I was meeting with this group of six ladies, including their Pastor, for their first-ever Bible study. This was uncharted territory for all of us. We were reviewing some verses of scripture and circling the characteristics of God we found within them. Once they realized that the Bibles were theirs to keep and they could make them their own, smiles crept across some faces. What appeared as a potentially sacrilegious act now was an exciting new opportunity.
“So how can we have a personal relationship with God? How do you develop a personal relationship with a person? Can you have a relationship with someone that you don’t know? How can we know the Lord’s heart for us, HIS people?” This series of questions led us to John 10, where we see Jesus as the good shepherd. We started to unpack this parable and related it to our spiritual lives. We looked at how the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep because he cares for them. That was when one of the ladies chimed in. She shared beautiful testimony of how much Pastor Clara, a PBM Bible Institute-trained missionary, cared and sacrificed for them regularly. That sparked more testimony of her love and care from the others. Their love and loyalty to Pastor Clara were genuinely moving.
“Do you realize that your Pastor is able to show you such great love, because of the love Christ has shown to her? What you see in her life is a glimpse of Christ’s love and care for you.” At this point, it was pure silence. Tears welled up in a few of their eyes, including Pastor Clara. At this point, I could almost hear the “click” as they made a real-life connection. God’s very heart became flesh and blood and dwelt among them. Jesus’ life just became more real and intimate than ever before.
Jesus’ desire is for all people to understand the depth of HIS love for them. Sometimes that takes a dedicated Christian to love and live like HE did for people to finally understand. The ladies in the village of “Las Escobitas” were experiencing this act of love firsthand. It was an honor to help them make that connection to Jesus and make HIS love more tangible.
There is still much need for the Bible to come to life in the lives of the people in this village and many more. Please Pray for more doors of opportunity to open for Paradise Bound to introduce Jesus to the beautiful people here. Pray that God’s Spirit continues to move amongst the hearts in the remote villages.
Nina DeVreese PBM Missionary