Let me start this post by saying that we are all sinners in need of grace. Whether you've trusted in Christ for one day or 50 years, we still need His forgiveness & grace because of our sin. For some of us, our sin is rather subtle & not obvious to others. For some, it may be more blatant or addictive & something that has to be fully overpowered by the transforming work of Christ.
For our new brother in Christ, he had such a sin-issue that had not yet been submitted to the authority of Christ. Unfortunately, it reared it's ugly head within about 3 days of his conversion. He believed & was baptized on a Friday, ridiculed & persecuted by an entire village of Saturday, attended his first church service on Sunday, allowed this specific sin to creep up on Monday & was forced to leave the village by Tuesday.
For the team that was here volunteering, they got to see a wide range of things some missionaries only see over the course of many years ... but they saw it in 5 days! For our new believer, a sin that he has struggled with for years came out in full force. It was obvious that Satan was trying to undo everything that God was making new in the life of this man. As a team & with our volunteers, we began to think, "What kind of testimony is this going to show to the village? They all know this man is now a believer in Christ & what will they think now?"
But as God clearly shows through Scripture & specifically in Genesis 50, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." What seemed like could be a train wreck, God used for His glory. As Tuesday unfolded & all the events came to light, at the end of the day what was shown to the village was a story of grace & forgiveness. For this culture, when someone is caught in this specific sin (regardless of their faith), the villagers take it upon themselves to dole out punishment ... & it is not pretty.
What the village of Boubon saw instead was that although this man did deserve to pay for his crime, he received forgiveness instead. What they saw was that although this man was obviously in the wrong, he was imparted grace.
This story did not play out like any of us would've imagined. But God knew. The village of Boubon would have never seen such a public display of what our faith in Christ is truly like without this event ever taking place. They would've never seen such a loving act of forgiveness & grace if this situation did not occur.
One of the newer believers in Boubon said to us, "Now I see. Now I see that you truly live out your faith in everything you do." This was not the ending to the story we would've thought, but God knew it would be. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) God knew that He would receive even more glory this way. And, for that, we praise Him.
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