Open Hearts

By Valerie Stephens, serving in Senegal

I have been reading a book about spreading the seed of the gospel far and wide and seeking those who are responsive. My tendency is to wait for signs of readiness in someone before sharing the gospel; however, it’s not my job to decide who will respond. If I try to figure that out myself, it may mean that some people inclined to respond will never be told. All need to hear and decide for themselves the place that Jesus will have in their lives.

One opportunity my colleagues and I have for spreading the seed wide is in a vocational training school for girls, where I teach nutrition and cooking. Every morning the girls have a meditation time during which we work through the chronological story of the Bible. On Monday morning, my teammates and I prayed that God would help us to see clearly who is interested among these girls so we can be more intentional about reaching them.

Tuesday was my turn to teach, and the lesson consisted of a reflection on the purpose of the law and its inability to save us. The material presented only the problem of sin and not the solution found in Jesus Christ. It was meant to whet the students’ appetites for the stories while serving as an introduction to the gospel.

I saw this as a chance to find out who was most interested in the biblical teachings we have been presenting. So, at the end of the lesson I said that in the coming weeks as we study the New Testament, we will see the way of salvation God planned. I also said that anyone who wanted to know now could talk to me or one of the other believing teachers during their break.

Two girls approached me to ask for further explanation—students who rarely answer questions during the meditation time. Later, as the two listened to the gospel being presented by another teacher, a couple of other girls kept walking in and out of the classroom. They would pause to listen, seemingly embarrassed to show outright interest but captivated nonetheless. The other teacher did not ask for a response but left them to think about it. When they joined the other students, four or five girls gathered around to hear the story being passed on by their classmates. It’s exciting to see hearts opening to the gospel and realize that maybe the ground here is not quite as hard as we thought.

Pray for these girls who have shown interest in the gospel. Pray that these truths will burn in their hearts until they are compelled to follow Jesus unashamedly.

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