Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Real Need

When an American first arrives in Ghana (or most third world countries, for that matter), he is immediately overwhelmed by the "needs" he sees. If he watches television for any amount of time at all, he will hear news stories, documentaries, or even celebrities talking about all the "needs" of Africa....AIDS, starvation, poverty, unsanitary living conditions, unsafe drinking water, modern-day slavery, orphans, corrupt politicians, wars.
When a new missionary arrives in Ghana, it is no different. Besides the different customs, everywhere a new missionary looks all he can see is "need". One of three things can happen to this new missionary: he can quickly become calloused to the needs because he sees them every day, he can become obsessed with the needs and spend all his time trying to fix everything "wrong" in his world, or he can choose to see the real need - Christ.
As this new church is being planted, God has given us some striking reminders of the true need of our people here in Ghana. Inusah is one such example. He is a young Muslim man who was very devout, but then started to have some questions. John met him through his half-sister, Miriam. John started a salvation Bible study with him a few months ago. He has listened well, but he also has had lots of questions. He became a regular member of our Thursday night Bible studies, and when we had our first Sunday meeting, he came. After he attended the Sunday meeting, his family members called him for a family meeting. (Now if you know anything about Africa, this is not something small - African family is something much bigger than an American can understand.) They told him that only Christians go to church on Sunday mornings, and if he didn't change his ways, he would be ostracized from the family. Dead to them. Forever shunned by not only his stepfather, mother, sisters and brothers, but also all aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends. No one to attend his wedding some day and no one to bury him when he dies. After the family meeting, Inusah called John and wanted to talk. When John went to see him, they talked about his family for a few minutes and then John led their discussion back to where they had left off in the salvation story. But this time, the Holy Spirit was convicting Inusah of his real need and opening his eyes to the glorious truth of the gospel. Understanding had come! He told John that he now knew that converting was a much bigger thing than he had realized. He now understood that if he converted he would have to leave his old life behind to follow Christ. No more mosque. No more Muslim friends. No more family. Everything would change. He said that he knew what he needed to do, but he wanted some time to think about it. And so now, we wait, and we pray, and we hope that Inusah sees that his real need isn't family or friends or everything he has ever known, but Christ.

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