Pastor Nick Cleveland, Senior Pastor
It took two days to get there, but when the bus turned off the main road and onto the dirt road we had no idea what God was up to! Drew Boatner (our videographer) and I bounced around on that bus for 90 minutes. The locals call those bumpy bus rides, “dancing,” and that dance was so worth what God was going to show us.
Ten miles outside of town, they lined up by the church to sing a song of greeting as we arrived. They escorted us through their town “announcing” our arrival and singing to the glory of God! In Roro, a village full of poverty, disease, and an extremely challenging form of life, sits a church where God is at work! The Pastor, Paul is also the regional director of all of our Grace Brethren Churches in Chad, which totals over 350 churches! The hospitality, love, and honor they showed us was second to none. We were treated like kings during our stay.
This weekend was special because special guests were coming. And we weren’t those special guests. There were 70 evangelists and church planters converging on Roro for a gathering and training. They came by foot, by moto, by bus, and by donkey. We listened to report after report of God saving people, small group Bible studies starting, and churches being planted. There are 16,000 unreached people groups in the world and these men and women are preaching the gospel to 27 of them! Some of these men are in dangerous regions literally risking their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ! They are the true heroes of the faith.
That Sunday I was invited to preach. I’ve never been more honored and humbled. I thought, “Who am I stand here? These men should preach to me!” But then the Lord gave me the word to encourage them. Psalm 136 – Our God is great, Our God is good, so give thanks!! As I stood to the pulpit men ran up with their recorders and phones to record my words – to hang on every word I said. Who am I? I gave it everything I had, prayed that the Spirit of God would move, and many stood in response to the Word of God!
Our weekend was challenging and by Monday, we were ready to load our bus and drive out the area. It was hot, dry, humid, sleeping in tents, no showers, eating new foods, meeting new people, and did I say no showers? But then the women of the village formed a line and to a choreographed dance presented us with a gift. They gave each of us 2 blocks of soap. I stood there stunned. I knew this gift was all they had. They gave it all to us. Their kids play with old tires. But they gave to us because the Lord gave to them.
As I fought back the tears holding my two bars of soap, I thought about a shower because I hadn’t had one in a few days. But then was struck with the realization that pride that needs scrubbed off my heart. I thought about how dirty the environment was and how pure the people were. How Jesus is a cleansing agent of our heart and life. He removes the dirt of our lives, scrubbing our hearts clean, and giving us a fresh, new Spirit! The men and women of Roro believe that and are willing to give it all.
We’ve been invited to partner with these people and this unbelievable work. We’ve been asked to become the lead support for the School of Evangelism which trains these evangelists and church planters. Included in that opportunity, a new campus of the School of Evangelism will launch in the capital city in hopes to launch a movement of churches in the city. Your gifts to the Greatest Gift Christmas Offering this year will go to support the movement of the gospel in this region of Africa (Chad, CAR, Cameroon, Libya, and Sudan).
You might not think you have a lot. You might not think what you have will make a difference. But when you give cheerfully and sacrificially what God can do with it will blow your mind. Will you consider giving your 2 bars of soap? Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting the Greatest Gift Christmas Offering and the work of God in Chad!