After traveling this past summer to a mountain village in Southeast Asia, Courtney Talley said one thing is crystal clear — God wants the people there to know Him. And He will send rain and disrupt plans if that’s what it takes to make it happen. 

“When we got there, our original plan was to arrive in the village at midnight on Saturday night,” Courtney said. “We were going to spend a few hours in the city and go straight up to the mountains.”

She and several other women from Brook Hills were planning to lead a conference there to teach the women of a minority people group how to go deep in Bible study on their own. “Those women there were basically killing it in discipleship and making disciples,” Courtney said.

“We heard story after story after story about how a woman found out about Jesus because her neighbor told her, and that woman came to know Jesus because her neighbor told her.”

But much like the story of Apollos in Acts 18, while the women were bold witnesses, they needed to have the full story of redemption to pass on to others.

“We were going to do a complete overview of what the Bible is, how to study it for yourself and some of the main parts of the story, like creation, the fall, and redemption,” Courtney said.

But before they could do that, they had to get there.

“It had rained in the days leading up to the day that we landed, so it was not safe to go up to the mountains,” Courtney said. “We ended up staying in the city for an extra day.”

And what they didn’t realize at first was that it was a “complete God thing,” she said. They went to church with their national contact, and while they were there, they met a woman who was born and raised in the U.S. but whose parents were from that minority people group in the mountains.

She spoke those women’s heart language. That was a big deal, as their national contact didn’t. The team had just been hoping to be able to communicate as much as they could in the common trade language of the country.

“Our national contact asked, ‘Hey, we know you’re just visiting here and you just met us, but would you consider going with us?’ And she said yes,” Courtney said. “The Lord provided someone with their native tongue.” 

Not only that, the woman was warm, bubbly and captured the crowd’s attention. 

“She was such a gift to the ladies for sure,” Courtney said.

“That was one of many stories of how God provided in these big, awesome but super unexpected ways.”

They were able to invest in women who were already thriving in evangelism and discipleship and help them teach their faith better, she said. “I just remember thinking, ‘This is the Church.’ It was encouraging and just a joy to get to be there with them,” Courtney said. 

The gospel is spreading broadly there, and many of the women who are doing the spreading had driven long distances to be at the conference, eager to learn. More than 50 packed in the room. Their husbands, who had driven them there, listened in too.

The women started every morning with worship, praising God without holding back, even though they knew it could cause trouble for them if someone from the government heard. That made an impression on Courtney. 

“To this day, witnessing how they worshipped God during our time of praise and worship has changed how I worship God,” she said. “We were told many times how impactful the teachings were, but I don’t think there was a way to explain to them just how much of an impact their faithfulness had on me.”

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