After mostly suspicious glares and confused looks, we were pleasantly surprised when a friendly young man suddenly joined us along the trail. He proudly let us know that he was a “deacon” at a nearby church.
Now, it’s not what you’re thinking. Deacons in this country do serve in churches, but these churches are a little different. You see, the good news of Jesus Christ came to this place hundreds of years ago. Sadly, however, over the years the truth corroded and was replaced with rituals and idols. The vast majority of these churches that pepper the region don’t even have a Bible. What they have instead are books that revere saints and angels.
We asked the deacon if he had ever heard the story of God from the Bible. He looked up inquisitively and said, “No. Can you tell me?” We recounted to him a simple overview of the Bible, the story of God from the creation of the world to the resurrection of Christ. He listened with wonder, like a child taking in his favorite storybook. At the end, when confronted with trusting in Christ rather than saints or angels, he opened his hands and covenanted his allegiance to Jesus and no other.
We then pulled a Bible from our backpack and commended it to him. What cost about $5 he grasped in his hands as though priceless, peered at us with tear-filled eyes, and bowed with gratitude. As quickly as he appeared the young man was gone, bustling down a side trail and toward his church, eager to deliver their first Bible in over 1,000 years.
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.