A Little Lady with a Big Burden

Welcome to our series, Stories From the Field,” the podcast that takes you deeper into the stories from our national partners in the national church worldwide. Ron has sat with incredible men and women of God and listened to their testimonies and this podcast is a glimpse behind the scenes of his many adventures. Welcome to the studio, Charis and Ron. Okay, so the title today is A Little Lady with a Big Burden.’

Ron- And for this story, we go to Ethiopia. I was taken into this locale, this was in the outback of Ethiopia. Beautiful area, it was rolling green hills, a river running through it and a church that we pulled up in front of that was made of trees, limbs of trees, small saplings and it had mud on the walls and a bit of a tin roof on it. Out back they were putting on an addition that was going to be the training center and it had a roof on it but no walls yet, and it had bunks already made. It was a lean-to that would probably sleep and hold, I’m going to say 25 people. I was inside visiting and we had brought in about ten pastors, national pastors from various religious backgrounds and they were coming in to answer questions for me and tell me their story. It was incredibly inspiring and a lot of these men, well, all of them, had had dreams or visions and they were, in a supernatural way, drawn to hear the story about Jesus, responded and now they were leaders in their communities. I could go on with each one of their stories for a long time but the one I’m going to talk to you about is this little lady that I met. I was coming out of the church and the Bible school teaching group had just broken up as well, and we were standing there and the leader that I was with said, I want you to meet this little lady.” He went and got her, he went and got me, and we stood off to the side and he translated for me. Here is the story. She was a little powerhouse. She had accepted the Lord and been water baptized and then her family had decided that she needed to go out and reach all her relatives with the Gospel. So that meant that the sons, the daughters, the husband, would stay at home and take care of the family farm and she would be told that she was able to go to Bible school to learn how to share her faith, all the basics of evangelism and basic discipleship, and learn the Bible. She would probably be in school for that, I would say, well, people over here are going to judge this and say that’s not very long for a Bible school training, but she was probably six weeks in training, maybe eight weeks and then she was going to hit the road and go out. She was just graduating in the next little while I think and she was going to be able to go out and find her family. This would be spread out over an area, I’m going to say, in a radius around 50 to 60 miles in any one direction.

<p>Ethiopian village home</p>
I was taken into this locale, this was in the outback of Ethiopia. Beautiful area, it was rolling green hills, a river running through it and a church that we pulled up in front of that was made of trees, limbs of trees, small saplings and it had mud on the walls and a bit of a tin roof on it.

Joy- Wait, so she was going out to find her family members to tell them about the Gospel?

Ron- Exactly. They would scatter. In other words, they would marry, but these were my second cousins, extended family, second cousin three times removed, who lives over in that village and I haven’t seen her in ten years. You know, all that sort of stuff. So, therefore, she was going out to find her family. She had a huge burden. This little lady was no more than four and a half feet high, maybe touching five feet but that is about it. She was just a tiny little thing. She had a big smile on her face and I said, So your family are letting you go out and do this?” I said, How long are you going to be away on your missionary journey? Just like Paul’s missionary journey.” She said, Oh, I don’t know, maybe a year and I’ll probably come home a couple of times in that period to say hello to everyone, but I will go out and find them.” I said, Explain to me, how will you do this?” Well,” she said, I will go to the first village, I will sit in the first village, I will find all my family members, I will stay with them,” and it’s the custom that if you have a relative coming or a good friend that you will take care of them. You aren’t obligated but you love them enough that it’s the norm that you will feed them and take care of them. So I will have a place to stay and I will go and I will tell them about Jesus and what has happened. I will explain the Gospel to them and this might take several weeks.” And she said, And then I will lead those people to Christ and then the pastor will follow me in the next little while,” she would get word back to him somehow, and he would come and start a church. We’ll call it a house church of my family members and their friends. Then she said, I will move on to another family, another relative, and I’ll do the whole thing again.” She will just be on the move and the pastor will come and start house churches behind her. This is a very normal way for it to happen.

Joy- I was going to say, does that happen often?

Ron- All the time. Because the best time for a person to do evangelism is in the first two years of their life being born again. That is the most powerful witnessing time for anyone in the world because after two years you change your habits, you lose some of your acquaintances shall we say, and you’ve got new acquaintances in the church. But that is a good time. So here she is in the first few months of her Christian walk, it’s fresh in her mind, she’s had training as to how to share, what to share, she knows the basics of the Bible and here she goes out. So she’s going to do this and this and this and this. Well, I stood there and I was more than impressed, I was inspired! This little thing going out with this burden. I’m going to hop ahead here just a year or so and I asked about her in time after she had gone out and it was just as she talked about. Just exactly as she talked about. Churches were started, she came back home, etcetera. Okay, now come back with me to my first meeting. So here I am and I said, Why are you doing this?” I said, I think I know the answer but I’d like you to tell me. Why are you doing this, going out and leaving your family, putting all this effort into it?” And she said to me, I found the answer to life that we have been searching for in these other religions, and were looking for in the wrong place. I found Jesus and I found eternal life. It’s my duty to go out because they would do it for me. I will go out and I will seek and save the lost. That is my obligation because I love them. Because I love them and they are my family members, I don’t want to see them going to a Christ-less eternity. I want them to know Jesus so they can be saved.” Well, that is the little evangelist in her coming out but it also explains what is in her heart. That is her burden. So this is a little lady with a huge burden for her family members. Why? Because they would do the same for her.

So I will have a place to stay and I will go and I will tell them about Jesus and what has happened. I will explain the Gospel to them and this might take several weeks.”

Joy- I’m struck by her confidence that it’s assumed that the pastor will follow and start a church because there will be a church to start. She just knew that. The confidence that there will be people who accept the Lord.

Ron- Joy, we see this all over the world. This is the new definition of faith. You see, faith as described in the Bible has a substance to it. It’s not a physical substance, but there is something there that the people know. The people will respond because they are watching it, they know, there is that trust in the Holy Spirit to open their minds as the people open their mouths. And, therefore, this little lady will open her mouth and tell her story, the Holy Spirit will be there, they know it, they are watching it all around them, they are watching God take control of situations, and they know how hungry they are. You see, most of these people, Joy, in these situations, are really disappointed with their religions. They hold onto it because there is nothing else, they don’t know anything else. Therefore, they hold onto Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or any one of these world religions. They are holding on tight. Nobody has ever given them an option. And now, all of a sudden you’ve got the people who have actually found the truth, they know it’s the truth. It answered all their questions that their religions had, they’ve answered them in Christianity. Therefore, they are walking in with confidence brimming over in their lives. And that confidence is contagious, therefore, the faith multiplies. It is a substance of a certain nature. It is something that they can hold onto and they can present to someone else and say, if you do this, then God will do this. That’s the promise of God. The promises of God to them are solid. With us, many times it’s a hope. But with them it is solid. God said it, I will do it.

Joy- It’s an expectation.

Ron- Yes, that’s it. Anyway, that is the little lady with the big burden who I’ll always remember.

Joy- I guess so because I will too now because I am inspired and I am going to reevaluate what faith means to me really. I want it to be an expectation as it is overseas. It’s really great.

Ron- And to all the people listening to these stories, when you get to heaven you are going to get the education of your lives as you meet some of these people, some of these saints, the little lady with the big burden, and you’re going to talk to them and your education is not going to stop, shall we say. We are going to grow in heaven as we hear what God has done, as we see it in the lives of people, we hear their stories. We are going to have a deeper appreciation for the work of the Holy Spirit and Jesus and the plan of God and everything like that as eternity rolls on. I have, and I’m just one person out there hearing all these stories and my faith has grown ever so much and my knowledge of what the plan of God is. So that means that that faith factor that I live with has grown from the first day I went into missions and it’s grown deeper. And my confidence level: really high. This is normal Christianity, Joy, this is normal.

Joy- Okay, well that was excellent. Very, very inspiring. Thank you.

So that means that that faith factor that I live with has grown from the first day I went into missions and it’s grown deeper.

I found the answer to life we have been searching for in these other religions.”

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