A special thanks to Joseph and Maria Howard, Christian and Missionary Alliance international workers for their service and for being a part of this year’s Missionary Conference. For more information on Joseph and Maria’s ministry in West Africa, select here.
The following is a summary of a message from Joseph Howard, C&MA missionary from Mali and Burkina Faso, Sunday, November 2, 2014:
Mali is a large country, about the same size of Texas, and Burkina Faso is about the size of Ohio. In those countries, there are about 35 million people. Men and women live there who are much like you and me, to do all that they can to provide for their families.
1 John 1:1-4
1 What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have observed
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of life—
2 that life was revealed,
and we have seen it
and we testify and declare to you
the eternal life that was with the Father
and was revealed to us—
3 what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4 We are writing these things
so that our joy may be complete.
The church that we meet in is very small, but we meet together and praise the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some that are practicing as Muslims but they are reciting Arabic prayers that they do not understand themselves. My wife and I have shared with them who God really is. He is a God of the present and today. He is the great I AM!
Many of the people in Mali and Burkina Faso are fishermen, who are referred to as Bozos in the native language. In the communication with the natives of the area, the people understand God to be one who is angry because of our sin, and people are to understand that God is indeed in the present and that Jesus Christ is the One who is present. In 1 John, God is referred to as being in the present.
What have you seen about Jesus today in the present? It’s important for you to communicate God’s present goodness. God has given us the opportunity to speak about His goodness to others as you proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love to talk about Jesus Christ freely to others, yet there was a time when I was very ill and I had to rest. God tells us, at times, to “be still and know that I am God.” We need to understand that God has to do a work in your own life in order for you to learn more about Him and be able to speak to others about Christ. One of the first verses I learned in Africa was John 14:6 (I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.)
There are three believers that shared with us about their experiences in Jesus Christ that are members of the church. They willingly share their love for Christ. It is important for you to be able to share about Jesus in order that others can see Jesus Christ in you. That is your goal.
The three believers I mentioned are now shunned by their families. They had shunned their traditions and the norms of society for His testimony in their lives. They have done great things where they are to have people ask the question about what is different about them. We are invited to have people “come and see” who Jesus Christ is through your life…to see Jesus through your words and actions.
That is the cry of our hearts…to let people see Jesus Christ through us. God is ever-present and in control. Let people see Him through you.