Life changed both for the better and the worse when Amos became a Christian. He was an average young man, living with his family, enjoying his friends, proud of his local religion. His hometown was a crossroads for different tribes and faiths. Most everyone seemed to get along—except for the most hated group in the city: Christians.
After years of hearing the gospel from a missionary, God finally opened Amos’ eyes to the truth. His succumbing to Jesus, however, did not come easily. While working in a neighboring country, a bomb had exploded in the building where Amos was sleeping. His bed was upturned and heaved against the wall, serving not only as a rude awakening but, more importantly, as a shield. The debris that likely would have dismembered his thin frame instead piled thick around him. In the trauma of the moment, the kind where you must gather courage to wiggle your fingers to make sure you’re still alive, he could only think of one thing: the promise of life that Jesus offered.
Amos’ change was incendiary, and so were the repercussions. He was immediately kicked out of his family, his circle of friends, and his community. He fled from everyone and everything he had ever known. Hearing there were missionaries in a nearby province, he aimed the next season of his life toward them, desperate to grow and learn. Slowly his zeal was coupled with wisdom as he became part of a house church there. He soon found a job as a house guard and began renting his own small room.
Peace, however, did not have its say for long. In time Amos’ landlord noticed the differences in him, such as how he did not keep the holy days of the local religion. He was called names and kicked out again. One evening he was falsely accused of stealing from the house where he worked as a guard. Like a second bomb, the police arrested him as ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and he was thrown in jail. After weeks of trial, even though it was proven that another man had stolen from the house, Amos was sentenced to several months in prison.
Nevertheless, Amos lacked any semblance of a falsely accused, unjustly incarcerated man. He smiled and comforted those who came to visit him. He quickly made friends with fellow inmates and prison guards. And he shared the good news about Jesus, the one who had changed him so much. Twelve men became Christians and Amos began to disciple them. He even facilitated a Bible distribution for the inmates and a prison-wide showing of the Jesus Film.
It was easy to forget that Amos was enduring the stigma of imprisonment and its third-world discomforts: sleeping on the floor shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of inmates, only eating what was brought to him by visitors, and fighting the diseases common to overcrowding and primitive sanitation. When he was released it was less than a week before he visited the prison again, encouraging the believers to remain strong in Christ.
After only a few years of fruitful ministry, enough to cultivate an apostolic vision for spreading the gospel and establishing the church in his home province, Amos faced one final foe: a brain tumor. His suffering ended at 33 years old.
Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.