Nothing But The Blood of Jesus

As evangelists in the village, we learn many Bible stories in preparation for this trip. Some of my favorites are the story of creation, the warrior Nahum, and the ever-obedient Noah. All of it, however, is pointing toward one story in particular, which we call The First and Last Sacrifice. It’s the “altar call” of our conversation, and is ultimately about how Jesus is the only way to have eternal life. This is contrary to the Muslim belief that you must pray, do good things, and make sacrifices in order to get to be saved.

I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Today I got to follow the journey of Sam and Brian R. One thing that has been really exciting to witness is the intentionality of God placing certain people together. Every partnership on this trip was a match made in heaven. Sam had this to say about Brian at the beginning of the week…

"Brian Rafeedy is my partner for the days we are out in the village. I told him and our translators that we met today that I'm scared. I mostly just meant to tell them so they knew to pray for me. Then Brian asked me why I was scared. Well Brian, it's because I don't know what the heck I'm doing, or what to talk about, what part of my story to share and which parts will be lost in the cultural differences. I didn't say all that, but I got my point across. Brian told me to focus on the thing God has been showing me the most in my life recently, because that's what I'll be most passionate about. Of course this is amazing advice but I over thought it, and told him that God has been teaching me so many different things. Then he gave me some golden advice "just relax"... What? Doesn't sound like ground breaking advice to you? Okay, maybe I've heard it before too, but when Brian said it he took my hand and told me God was going to work through me, all I have to do is show up and be His vessel. Somewhere on the outskirts of my mind that truth was hiding. And I needed someone to remind me of that. He said it in love and I realized how much I needed to hear that. I knew quickly it was God through Brian, because it pierced my heart and made my eyes well up. For Brian it probably didn't seem like a lot, the heavens didn't open and time didn't stand still. See Brian has been walking with the Lord for awhile, you build character that way. Brian Rafeedy has become the hands and feet of Jesus throughout his life. And today, for me, Brain was His mouth piece."

We got off the van, and Brian and Sam were immediately greeted as friends. Clearly they had been doing something right. I had heard stories of a woman that Sam called Mama, who she felt a special connection with. Today, she was hoping to tell her about Jesus. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen.

Sam had felt led to bring her guitar, another incredible move of God. She sat down and began to play, and within a few minutes she had gathered a crowd of men, women, and children. They sat around her in fascination as she played through her songbook. This went on for well over an hour, and the concert eventually escalated to a full on dance party with all the village children jumping and singing around her. It all ended with Nothing But The Blood of Jesus.

Then we sat down with Mama, and after some conversation about her work, family, and home, I told her the story of how God created the world, which she enjoyed. However, when she was asked if we could tell her about Jesus, she denied the offer. This was definitely a disappointment, but to me, the work that Sam and Brian did in the village this week has been a tremendous victory. I was thinking back on the morning, and there was something beautiful and profound about the words Sam sang over these people…

   What can wash away my sin?

   Nothing but the blood of Jesus

   What can make me whole again?

   Nothing but the blood of Jesus

   Oh precious is the flow

   That makes me white as snow

   No other fount I know

   Nothing but the blood of Jesus

This has been a theme I’ve noticed throughout the week… whether or not these people are open to or interested in hearing the gospel, they have been deeply touched by the love we have shown them. They are eager and excited to talk to us and hear our stories.

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I also got to hang out with Brian and the village leader, who he had spent a lot of time talking to over the course of the week. He led us to a small lake behind his house, and he shared with me that he had 8 kids, but only 2 were alive today. It made me realize that the hardships we endure are universal, and that these people are not poor in the way we think they are. If you attend Rocky Peak and joined us for the journey through Rooted, you’ll remember that we are all poor. We are all broken, and we are all in need. The people of Tanga may live differently than we do, but I’ve observed a joy that we don’t seem to have in America. That’s something I’m trying to work on in my life, and it’s always a wonderful reminder that the luxuries we enjoy are not what brings us joy.

Much love, 

Joey