This verse came up when we were worshipping with a local group of believers last Sunday. I'd heard this verse hundreds of times, memorized it, and even Bible-journaled it, but I had never really thought much about the analogy on a deeper level until this Sunday. Ministry among our people groups here is slow, hard, often seemingly fruitless work, and fishing can be like that sometimes too. Fishing doesn't always lead to huge catches; rather, it often results in a peaceful (or frustrating) day in a boat with little to nothing to show other than maybe a sunburn.
Working among cousins, especially our cousins here, can be like those days when there's little to show after spending hours on the water. For me, personally, this has been a humbling experience and has served to further reinforce the truth that salvation comes from God alone and not from words that I or one of my teammates share. Instead of letting this resistance to the gospel discourage us, our team is praying for boldness on the same level as the disciples in the book of Acts who fearlessly proclaimed Christ to people just as reluctant to believe as our students and friends. We're praying for divine appointments like with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, and we're praying for miraculous, unlikely salvation stories like that of Saul-turned-Paul.
Our team has been able to share with several of our students and their families, and we have had the opportunity to celebrate a couple Iftars as well. We've eaten all kinds of Somali, Ethiopian, Turkish, and Syrian food, and we were able to teach one of our students how to bake cookies (called biscuits here) yesterday. Teaching English has been fun, and getting to better know our students has been exciting.
- Pray that with the end of Ramadan, we would have even more students since they won't be as busy.
- Pray also for the one or two believers here among our focus people groups that they would be bold in reaching their people in ways we as outsiders never could and that they would live in a manner that is above reproach.
- Lastly, pray that hearts now hard toward the gospel would be softened through the Holy Spirit, that words may be given to us to boldly proclaim the truth of the gospel, that God would reveal himself to our people groups through whatever means necessary, and that we would be able to form deeper friendships with our students and their families.
Here's a photo from a hike we took on our free day. This is the most green we've seen since we got to the city!