The church on the camel’s path

West Africa: The church on the camel’s path

And all this took place in the space of one year!

This spreading of the gospel is what Ahmed and his team call ‘the church on the camel’s path’.

Weat Africa

Maysa was an ordinary West African woman. She and her husband owned livestock and traveled about the countryside with groups of other nomads looking for grazing area for the animals. The couple were both Christians, alone in an area where everyone else was Muslim, and they had no church or Bible study to join.

Maysa realized that since none of the other people in her nomadic community could read, she had to be the one to bring the life-giving story of the gospel to her people. So she attended a training seminar offered by a missions organization, in which she learned how to tell stories from the Bible, beginning at creation and moving forward chronologically toward Christ.

As soon as she rejoined her family, Maysa began sharing these stories with other nomadic women. She told them how God repeatedly made himself known to men like Abraham and Moses, so that mankind could live according to His will. After every story, the women would discuss what the stories meant and, if they were true, how their lives would need to change to obey the God of truth. Within a few weeks, more then 40 women had accepted God’s gift of salvation and eternal life through his son Jesus.

Their husbands were quick to notice the change in their lives, and started asking Maysa‘s husband probing questions while they were out grazing their livestock. He was privileged to lead many of the men to Christ as well. After this, the men stopped their practice of raiding villages and instead began to take the good news of God’s Word to other nomadic groups of Muslims.

“Why did you leave them? You have space in your car.”

About one year later, two men named Ahmed and Mechela were driving through the desert, on their way to visit some Christ followers in a distant region. They belonged to the mission team that had trained Maysa how to make disciples by chronological Bible storytelling, and now they were travelling to an area 200 kilometers away.

As they bumped along the rutted dirt track, they came upon two elderly men walking with large burdens wrapped in blankets on their shoulders. The men had heard them coming and were waving them down, asking for a ride. Because the region was frequented by bandits, Ahmed was suspicious and didn’t slow down. He accelerated and roared past the elderly men.

But after a moment, the Holy Spirit pressed Ahmed. “Why did you leave them? You have space in your car.” Ahmed threw the car into reverse and picked up the hitchhikers who, relieved, clambered into the backseat. “We are taking a dowry gift to a young man in a distant village,” one of them explained. “We would have been walking all day if you had not come past.”

“Oh, we already know that story!”

Mechela asked: “Do you know God?” Throwing their heads back in laughter, the passengers replied: “Of course we know God! Who do you think made you stop and give us a lift?” Surprised, Mechela asked: “Would you like to hear a story?” The men readily agreed. “Do you know where the whole world came from? It was like this: in the beginning…” Mechela was abruptly interrupted. “Oh, we already know that story!” cried the hitchhikers in unison.

They quickly discovered that the men knew all the stories the missions team would teach new believers! Ahmed asked: “Where did you learn these stories?” The men answered: “Last rainy season a man moved to our village and taught us these stories and many others.”

During the remainder of the trip Ahmed and Mechela were able to piece things together. They traced the source of the Bible stories that the men had learned all the way back to Maysa and her husband, who had led others to become disciples of Christ, who in turn had gone to distant villages and shared the gospel with more nomads. These two elderly men, hitchhiking their way through the desert, were the fifth generation of Christ followers growing out of Maysa’s efforts, and they were on their way to share the gospel with a young couple who would soon be married and would carry it on to others. And all this took place in the space of one year!

This spreading of the gospel is what Ahmed and his team call ‘the church on the camel’s path’.

Source: Maysa, Ahmed and Mechela, interviewed by Jerry Trousdale for his book ‘Miraculous Movements’

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