My weekend adventure was full of joy! At 8am on Friday, I met our bookshop attendant Jessiel at the bus station for our trip to his home district in a neighboring province where he leads quarterly literature discussion meetings for pastors. By 10am, the van had filled and set off. Our conversation made the time fly, and before we knew it two hours had passed and we were getting off at the side of the road.
Since no cars were available for the next leg of our journey, we hopped onto a motorcycle taxi for 27 km on an unpaved road, then another motorcycle for the remaining 75 km to the home of our host, the district pastor. He introduced us to his friendly wife and their six cheerful children, all of whom have Biblical names starting with the letter A. They received us with warm affection and showed us to our bedrooms, where we rested as the pastor’s wife cooked dinner. After the meal, lively conversation, and grateful prayer, we turned in for the night.
On Saturday morning, the pastor and I attended the literature discussion meeting that Jessiel conducted for six other pastors who had gathered from various villages in the district. They commented on a book entitled The Type of Preaching that God Blesses, encouraging one another to prepare their sermons well, focus on Christ, and proclaim Biblical truth even if it makes church members feel uncomfortable. Though it was my first visit to this particular group, I felt the same satisfaction with the effects of our book distribution project as when I’d visited similar groups in other cities.
On Saturday afternoon, Jessiel borrowed a motorcycle and took me another 70 km to his parents’ home. In one curved stretch of thick sand, an oncoming truck startled us, and since Jessiel had trouble maneuvering the motorcycle out of its pathway, I lightened the bike by slipping off its other side, landing gracefully in the sand. He and the truck driver avoided a collision, I brushed the sand off my clothes, and our journey continued. At another stop, I carelessly rested my leg on the exhaust pipe, burning it lightly (please pray for quick healing). We were grateful to arrive safely at Jessiel’s parents’ home at 6:30 pm, and enjoyed conversing with them until bedtime.
Early Sunday morning, the village chief, who had received word of my arrival, came to visit me, and we talked about the importance of trusting Christ for salvation. Jessiel took me on a scenic walk, over a river and past a mountain, and we stopped to greet several of his relatives at their homes. After a breakfast of a chicken his aunt had brought for us, we went to a nearby church service — where the district pastor, our host from the previous night, was also visiting, along with his wife. The church also served us a chicken breakfast, and I taught the women about bringing our concerns to God in prayer, just like the Biblical Hannah did. Jessiel then preached in the main service, pictured here, about Christ’s atonement for our sins as foretold in Isaiah 52 and 53.
When the service finished at noon, we declined the lunch the church wanted to serve us because we were in a hurry to get all the way back to the paved road before dark. God blessed our 170-km journey on three different motorcycles, and the setting sun found us safely in a van headed back to our city. When we arrived at the bus station, before getting into the taxi that took me home, I told Jessiel how grateful I was that he had taken this foreign friend all the way into the backwoods of his family’s territory. Praise be to God for His blessings on this trip.