It has been another spiritually incredible week here in Bujumbura. To be honest, I don’t know where to begin. It has been difficult to keep up with how many miraculous things the Spirit of God is doing amidst an intangible war for the hearts of my students. The reality is that without Christ, my students are dead. Like in the movie The Matrix, I am alive, trying to wake up the sleeping who don’t even realize their are not awake. This past week was a week of waking the dead.
We just finished a special lesson on the Holy Spirit, which included having each class for two and a half hours instead of the regular forty minutes. Let me set the stage for you on how much of a battle this week was. First, both of my co-teachers were gone the entire week sick. Second, parent teacher conferences were this week, so if I were to be persecuted by any Muslim parents by what I am teaching, this week would be a prime opportunity. Third, I found out that two of my classes are full of students that don’t speak hardly any English due to a error in paperwork from their transfer schools. And so the week began.
Monday was disastrous. During the prayer time at the end of class, my students were literally throwing things and mocking me to my face. I was defeated and angry when I left, realizing that my lack of prayerful readiness was my major error. I spent the remainder of the day begging God to show up in my classes for the rest of the week.
It would be an understatement to say that he answered that prayer in full.
The following day, my classes could not have been more productive. My students were crying during worship, writing pages and pages of letters to God during prayer time, and coming up to me after class asking for individual prayer and advice. There were three major highlights to the week that I must share with you.
First, there was a student that came up to me at the end of class and handed me her letter that she had written to God. I told her that it was just between her and God, but she insisted that I read it. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read her raw and transparent letter telling God that she has drifted from Him, and she is desperate to be in relationship with Him again. She spoke of how she has come from a legalistic family, and all she wants is to be in relationship with God and enjoy it “like Mrs. Carley does.” I am so inspired to enjoy my relationship with Jesus and find full joy in our intimacy because that is what speaks to people. Not our rule following. Not our list of good deeds. Not our status or position. The way we enjoy Jesus draws others in. It is on our freedom and our joy.
Second, after parent teacher conferences, I was made aware of just how many Muslims I have in my classes. I thought it was just a few, but after seeing their parents I realized that some of my classes hold more Muslims than not. I was so surprised to see how many of them participated in my class, especially since the doctrine of the Spirit is so threatening to Islam. One Muslim student came up to me on the break and began asking me questions about Christianity. We discussed an array of subjects he brought up such as: Jesus and Muhammad are equal, Jesus and Muhammad brought the same message, and the Bible has been changed and the Quran is here to bring back truth. God was so faithful and supplied all the right things to say, because by the end of our conversation, he didn’t have any rebuttal (neither did the other three Muslim kids that started listening in). This next week he is bringing in some material against Christianity that he wants to show me and see what I have to say!
Lastly, half way through the week I had a class with three English speaking students out of a class of seventeen and, again, many Muslims. I was so discouraged. I was trying to talk slow, repeat things many times, write on the board as much as possible, and still all I was met with were blank stares. I finally gave in halfway through the lesson, threw out my material and just turned on worship music and had them write letters to God for the rest of class. I felt like the opportunity had been missed because I hadn’t been able to teach them truth effectively. The next morning I walked into the office and one of the student aid workers said, “Sounds like you had a great class yesterday.” I thought she was joking and replied, “Yeah, it was pretty challenging.” She stopped and replied, “Oh no, I wasn’t joking. Those two Muslim girls in that class came and found me later and told me it was one of the best classes they have ever been in, and that they cried through most of worship and felt really close to God.” Needless to say, I was motivated with a fresh trust in God’s power to get his message across with or without my effort.
By the end of the week, I could hardly think straight from exhaustion. I felt like I had been fighting in a physical war not just a spiritual one. I know that the seeds planted this week and this year will probably not grow until long after I am gone, but that doesn’t discourage me. At the end of the week God gave me this vision of running into my students in heaven and hearing their stories of how others came along and watered those seeds that God planted way back in high school. That inspires me.
Thank you to everyone who labored with me in prayer.
Have a wonderful week!
Thank you for all your support and prayers for the little boy that was burned. Funds have started coming in and we are blessed by your continual support.