Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Every night I go to sleep thinking that "tomorrow" I will write to you --and time keeps going. So much goes on, and there is so much to do. Here we have the opposite problem than you in America. Here people want to listen. People want you to stop and talk, witness, share—and you know it is going to take at least an hour or two. We just have to block off the time and go. A few days ago I got the urge to stop and visit this lady to whom I have been witnessing - thinks she is saved but is not. I am trying to follow those urges and not let my brain talk me out of them ---as it had. I had already passed the house and decided to turn around and go visit ---when I say "visit" I mean with witnessing in mind. After talking with her for an hour, she took me to a friend's house next door. He was in the shower and in the meantime, I was able to witness to another man. It was very good ----I so want to tell you the whole conversation. A "Christian" man who owns a restaurant and sells alcohol---so doesn't go to church because he knows that is wrong. I asked, "Who said it was wrong?" He said, "God did." Okay then, you have two options. 1. If you are truly saved, you yourself said you are living in direct disobedience to God, and you can expect chastisement at any time. 2. You are not saved at all, and you can expect to end up in hell. Now, if you are saved you have two solutions to your problem: 1. You can continue to disobey - expect something bad or 2. You can change.
I still love to use the Evangicube when witnessing. It is a great way to gain interest and share the Gospel. I focus on four points ----1. God: absolutely holy, just, righteous, and does not tolerate sin. 2. Man: absolutely sinful, separated from God, no good at all. 3. Jesus Christ: loves you, our go-between, died on the cross, shed His blood so that you can be saved. 4. Your choice: What are you going to do? Repent and believe? Or go to hell? If you do not choose to be saved, to hell you will go. I ask, "What do you have to do to go to hell?" Absolutely NOTHING. Just stay as you are, and the wrath of God is waiting to burn you up. But right now He is speaking to you in grace and mercy and inviting you to come to Him. The more we hear in the news, the more it seems like Jesus will be here any day!!! Look around. Witness. Who is going to be left?
Speaking of news - what is going on here? The same as was going on the last time I wrote. The two men are both still claiming to be president and both are in Abidjan. Because of the political situation, banks have closed (are supposed to reopen this week), and we are supposed to have a shortage of food and medicine. None of that has affected us much. Hey, the water is on right now - came on yesterday, so I am happy - smile. I am caught up on laundry, and the house is clean ---isn't that what all women want? Back to the situation, pray for the country for some sort of peaceful settlement. It would take too long for me to tell who is doing what and for what reasons. God is in control. President Obama is backing Ouattara. Yet, we Christians live in perfect peace knowing our Father is in charge.
The youth group is doing great and growing. The more of God's Word that goes in, the more they will grow. The main obstacle is getting time together. Think - they walk everywhere. It is so hard for them to come to church - 8:30 a.m. and then go home, go to market (no refrigeration so they have to shop every day), and then walk back to church in the evening. So, we go at 8:30 - Sunday school, 9:30 - 11 a.m. worship service, 11-12:30 - other classes or meetings as scheduled ---ladies' class, youth meeting, membership meeting, etc. We do visitation, witnessing, and passing out tracts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 3-6 p.m., as that is when people are home. Throughout the week, we witness and pass out tracts as time allows. There is such a burden when you see so many people just loitering around to whom you can talk. It is hard to balance evangelism with the house, schooling, kids, and a baby. That is why Paul wrote that it is good to be single. Anyway, I said, "What we need is a single guy who has a passion for witnessing and knows the language to come out here and do witnessing two hours every day. ---hey, that would be you, Seth." What a blessing Seth has been.
We want to start going to the prison to preach. The problem is that it is two hours away!! Seth wants to go every day ---how is he going to balance that with school? I am ready to scrap school for him and let him witness all day. Anyway, we will go together the first time, and then he can go on the bus. We hear that the conditions are terrible, and 4-6 people die every day. One of our friends just got out after having been there for a year. He was good, so he was able to work at the prison farm. He was in jail for BUYING a stolen sheep. Now he has a letter from the prison, so he can go find whoever sold him the sheep and get his money back. What a system.
This month, one of the youth stole money (US cash - big bills) from Calie, the girl who is staying with us. It is almost never heard of that you would get your money back. First it seemed hopeless - we had no idea of how or who could have stolen it. After thinking collectively, we figured out it had to be her. The sad thing was that it was a very good friend of the kids. We prayed and prayed. Did she still have the money? No, but I found the evidence that she had been buying lots of new stuff - it had to be her. To make the story short - we went at 9:30 at night to trace the money through a man who changed it for her (He was also implicated since it was stolen money.) to her parents and got home at midnight with a $50 bill - the part he had not yet been able to change. The parents paid back all the money. I have visited her, and she has repented and is back in church ---praise the Lord He does not let us continue in our sin. The best thing that can happen to a Christian living in sin is to get caught and the sooner the better!!!
We got the piano moved to the church; it is so nice to play on a real piano and not on a small keyboard. Also, I am teaching piano - eight students; and Seth teaches guitar lessons ---more students than I know. He teaches guitar for both churches and preaches at Sotref every Sunday. All of these lessons take place right after church on Sunday morning. Our Sabbath rest is Monday afternoon - we go to the beach and see God's so-beautiful ocean. Lydia, Susanna, Isaiah and Stephen all help out as well. They take turns caring for the nursery, babies to five year olds - including Gideon, and teaching them a story in French. There are at least 22 in there and it is a huge help to know they are being well cared for. We have lots of nice sturdy toys for them and check all pockets before they leave.
Witness to someone today. I KNOW it is so hard to do in America. Pray for us and for Cote d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast).
In His hands,
The Cuthbertson Family