Whether facing jungle beasts or hostile followers of tribal religion, a native missionary in Liberia relies on God to protect him and other team members.
The leader of a local ministry said he and co-workers proclaim Christ in cities and towns, but sometimes their commitment to bring God’s kingdom to the unreached takes them to remote villages – walking five to seven hours daily through jungles where there are no roads.
“Sometimes we encounter mosquitoes, snakes or lions, among other animals, and we get sick,” he said. “Idol worshippers sometimes threaten us, saying that if we don’t leave their village, they will kill us. We have to contend with all of that relying on God, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Winning the lost to Christ in these conditions requires commitment and sacrifice.
“In some places we go, there is nowhere to sleep; we just lie on the dirt floor,” the ministry leader said. “There may be no good, safe drinking water or light. When the battery in the flashlight I carry is finished, there’s nowhere to get additional light at all – there are no shops or stores in the jungle. It is difficult to do missions; pray for God to provide.”
Workers use various means to share the gospel, from radio programs and revival meetings to visiting homes and offering to pray for needs. Team members also win opportunities to be heard by offering to help villagers work their farms.
“I plan a day with them, finding out the hour they usually go to their farms and what are some of the things they do there, and sometimes I take some manpower to work, without asking for a dime,” the leader said. “I also help them with some agricultural seeds free of charge, such as corn, tomato and eggplant, though it is very expensive.”
He and other team members led 270 people to put their faith in Christ over the course of six months, he said. One young woman who accepted Christ had spent much of her life steeped in smoking, drinking and drugs.
Her lifestyle had driven her to living conditions that reminded him of the prodigal son, he said.
“When I shared the gospel with her, I told her the story of the two sons in Luke 15, then I told her, if you will only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you, He will,” the leader said. “Without hesitation, she immediately accepted the Lord Jesus, and she was baptized and is serving in the church as an usher, doing it with joy.”
Power of the Word
While Liberia has a history of church growth due in large part to the movement in the 1800s to resettle free and former slaves from the United States, followers of traditional ethnic religions still make up the largest religious group by a slight margin, at 42.5 percent of the population, according to the Joshua Project.
Those professing Christianity stand at 40.2 percent, though evangelicals make up just 11.68 percent of the population, according to Joshua Project, which puts Muslim adherents at 13.7 percent.
Whatever the method used to proclaim the grace of Christ, local missionares rely on the inherent power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to bring people to faith, the leader said.
“Only the words of God can make the difference,” the leader said. “As they come to meetings and hear the words of God, and especially when they begin to see the true love of God being demonstrated before their eyes, they believe and turn their lives over.”
The Holy Spirit continues working in those who trust in Christ, he said.
“As we continue to reach out daily for Christ, some of the bad boys and girls in the communities that were living on drugs, alcohol and stealing, causing trouble all day long, are now becoming good guys,” he said. “But you first need to pray for God to give you the passion.”
Passion must be accompanied by compassion, he added.
“When I begin sharing the gospel tracts and inviting the community dwellers to worship services, some of them will tell me, ‘I want to come to church services, but I don’t have the clothes to wear,’ while others say, ‘I’m hungry,’” he said. “I try to meet some of those immediate needs; soul winners must have compassion.”
Where the gospel has transformed communities, people from nearby villages hear about it, visit and bring the message of the kingdom to their own areas, he said.
“Just as Jesus told His disciples that the harvest is ripe and ready but to pray that the Master of the harvest employ more laborers, so we have been doing just that with commitment and dedication, and as a result, souls were won to Christ,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.”
Workers are showing such dedication throughout Liberia. Please consider a donation to help them bring the light of Christ’s salvation amid great darkness.