House Visits: Finding our way in the dark

For the last few weeks, Bishara has been leading a group from our church to visit less-privileged families in the neighborhood and deliver both a carton of food and the message of the Gospel.

On the second night of visits, the first family on our list was a traditional Christian family. This means that they may have a Christmas tree in the living room and a cross on the wall, but usually they don’t go to church except for weddings and holidays, and they often don’t know the actual message of salvation. Many people from “traditional Christian” backgrounds in this country believe that their good works earn them a place in heaven, or that we evangelicals are heretics because we don’t pray to the virgin Mary. Their names are Christian and their family may be registered officially with a church, but they have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

On this particular night, we found ourselves in a difficult situation, as we had no way of figuring out where the house we wanted to visit was actually located.

Bishara called a dear brother from the church who, in God’s providence, was free at that moment to show us to the houses. We thought our troubles were over, and we piled into the van, ready to begin our visits.

However, when we arrived at the first house, an older man informed us that we were in the wrong place. He was actually the father of the man we were trying to find, and he gave us verbal directions to the house. However, in the winding alleys of an Arab village at night, directions are often not much help.

We stopped to ask a man on the side of the road, who was on the phone with someone else (and simultaneously trying to give that person directions). He struggled to point us in the right direction, then grabbed a young man who was walking by and told us “This is his son! He’ll show you the house!”

Suspicious of the van full of strangers in the dark, the young man asked us “Who are you?”

Bishara answered “We’re from the church! We’re good people!” Apparently that was enough information for the young man, for he climbed into the van and directed us to the house

We brought in the humble Christmas gift and set it on the table. They asked us to sit down and brought out drinks, so we relaxed for a moment before Bishara began to talk. They even woke the husband, who was trying to get a little rest before his night shift at work!

As we prayed silently, Bishara explained that he is a new pastor in the village who is interested in getting to know families in the neighborhood. He told them that he would like to tell them the Christmas story.

They agreed, so he continued. He began by explaining the creation and fall of mankind, in order to set the stage for the birth of Jesus. He explained how sin became part of our nature after the fall, and how the Holy God cannot live with unholiness. Therefore, if Jesus never came, we would all be on our way to hell.

He explained how someone who is in debt cannot cover someone else’s debt. In the same way only Jesus could cover our sins, for only he had no sin of his own.

Everyone seemed interested to hear more, so Bishara went on to share how God is a father, and he wants a relationship with us just like we want relationships with our earthly sons and daughters. He showed how Jesus is the light that dispels the darkness in our hearts and our lives.

In the end we sang two songs with them and prayed for the house. The mother seemed very touched. She said she felt rest as Bishara talked. The children also, mostly teenagers, seemed to enjoy the visit very much.

We encouraged them that our church is quite close (a five minute walk), and gave them our phone number. We promised that if they ever wanted us to visit them again or pray for them, they can call and we will come. Please pray for this family to have a zeal to know God.

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