Changed Lives: Grasping the power of God’s stories

Along the Kwilu River, deep in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the town of Kikwit rests nestled among verdant foliage.  On a dusty roadside lie the hospital and guest house where Charlotte works long days as both a head nurse and host.  On Sundays, Charlotte finds respite and revival in worship alongside a large church family.

In the summer of 2019, Charlotte’s weekly routine – and spiritual life – was shaken to the core.  IMB personnel arrived in Kikwit to begin a story project, crafting oral stories from the Word for Bible-less people groups in the area.  They asked Charlotte to translate.

As Charlotte articulated the Bible stories, they took root in her heart.  Immediately she shared the stories with her husband, and together they began sharing with their neighbors.  One day after telling the story of Jesus calming the storm, some neighbors decided to follow Jesus.  They told a reconciliation story to others with whom they had quarreled, and friendships were restored.

Another day, while Charlotte walked to the market with a friend, a 15-year-old gang member tried to snatch Charlotte’s purse.   Charlotte kept a firm grip on her bag, but as he charged toward them for a second attempt, Charlotte interrupted.  “If you will listen to a story, I will give you 3,000 FC (several dollars).”  Stunned, he listened to the story of Jesus healing a man possessed by demons (Mark 5:1-20).  In the middle of the road, the boy dropped to his knees in tears.  With a repentant heart, he made Jesus the Lord of his life.

Shortly afterward, other missionaries traveled to Kikwit to teach believers how to use narrated Bible stories in singing, dancing, drumming, and interactive Bible studies.  Every evening, the missionaries rested at the guest house where Charlotte works.  At that time, Charlotte’s duties prevented her from attending the training sessions, but the missionaries felt compelled to share the lessons with her in the evenings.

Just as before, Charlotte soaked up every word.  During her breaks at the hospital, she began to share stories with patients.  Gripped by the stories, patients pleaded to hear more.  Soon she had led 40 people to Christ.

Determined to spread the truth, Charlotte taught the women of her church how to tell Bible stories.  Now, early on Friday mornings, 50 women gather in the yard of one woman’s home to sing together, drawing people from all around.  After prayer, the women go out in groups of two, visiting homes and sharing Bible stories.  So many young people have been struck by the good news, repented, believed, and joined the church that they outnumber the adults.

Pray the fire ignited in Charlotte’s heart would fan into flame across Kikwit, the surrounding towns, and the DRC.  Pray for the new believers to grow, remain steadfast, and pass on what they have learned, just as Charlotte has.

Reprinted from the December 2020 issue of Missions Mosaic, Woman’s Missionary Union, Birmingham, Alabama. Used by permission. To receive this issue, or subscribe to Missions Mosaic, call 1-800-968-7301.

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