As we drove through block after block of high rise apartments, each one looking the same as the next, we prayed, “Father save these people! Show us how to find the Arundo in this place. Please, Lord, help us to see with your eyes and feel with your heart. Send us prepared people who are ready to hear your truth.” We begged the Father for divine intervention.
Just a few days prior, we greeted the smiling faces of a few of our faith family members at the increasingly modern airport rising up out of the poverty surrounding it in the city where we live. These ladies came ready to serve faithfully and love fiercely. We greatly anticipated their arrival as we needed the Body of Christ to hold up our arms and help spur us on in this work the Father has called us to. As a team, we had recently hit many roadblocks in our attempts to both find and share with the Arundo in our city. It seemed as though they were all leaving and that those we could find were not exactly friendly to the idea of hearing about Jesus. Yet, we knew there must be more among the masses.
Previously, we had seen the Spirit faithfully answer our pleas as we would enter into the community where many Arundo are known to live and beg Him to send us prepared hearts. We met our friend Joe who was spoken to in dreams as he read portions of the Bible. We met our friend Zack as we prayed for someone to help us learn the language and have access to the Arundo community. We watched our friend Sandy share the gospel with her friend even though she herself is not a believer. We have seen the power of walking in the Spirit and asking Him to just show us where to press in.
As we entered into this apartment community, our hearts were filled with anticipation as we prayed and looked for how the Father would answer. As we drove and prayed, we passed women covered from head to toe, some in brightly colored eccentric fabrics and some simply in browns and blacks. They were going here and there shopping and preparing for the day ahead. Men dined in the tea shops on their way to the mosque as they caught up on the local news.After praying for nearly an hour, we decided to walk around a bit and see if we could meet anyone. As we piled out of our car, we spotted a clothesline filled with sheets of brightly colored fabrics and smelled the sweet incense so commonly used by the greater Arundo population. As we walked and prayed, we greeted the first woman we saw wearing a beautiful Arundo dress. We quickly learned that she was not Arundo, but we were understanding one another a bit. As we tried to converse, a young lady popped her head out of her window about three stories up and greeted us in Arundo. When we greeted her back, she invited us into her home to share tea and cookies.
As we introduced ourselves over cups of spiced tea and sugar cookies, all of the Arundo neighbors began to flow in and out of the apartment, most of them curious about the foreigners speaking their language. The ladies who so quickly invited us strangers into their home had only recently traveled to our city from the refugee camps where so many of the Arundo live. They were fresh out of the homeland and were eager to not only help us practice our language but get to know us as well. The Father had answered our prayers!
We later got to know more and more about these ladies. As we visited together over goat liver and tea while the television repeatedly played the chanting of the Quran, we got to share with these precious ladies the hope that lives within us. We told them about Christ’s great love for them and that He died and rose again so they could live in the fullness of His love and grace. Although these ladies have not yet believed, we believe the Father divinely brought us to their door, or window, that sunshiny day. The expression “looking for a needle in a haystack” has never felt more accurate than when we drove the streets of those apartment buildings. But our God is big and He is faithful! When we pray and align our hearts with His work and desire, He allows us to walk alongside of Him in the work of His kingdom. Join us in begging the Father to show us more prepared people and that the Arundo will hear the gospel and boldly believe.
JJ and her husband JD serve as team leaders for the Brook Hills North Africa church planting team. They have served among the Arundo for 7 years and are currently in Birmingham for the summer. They enjoy getting to know new people, anything that requires being outside, and being silly with their kids.