Kenya Journal August 2022 Edition 8

STORIES FROM TANZANIA A day in the book of Acts.

I could have taught our ministry trainees about the power of the preached Word of God today. But, I felt it might be more impactful if I brought them a real-life demonstration. So, I invited three of our Tanzanian staff to join us in the Kisii region for our training conference. I specifically asked Evangelist Patroba to bring Joseph, one of his latest converts. I wrote about Jospeh in a recent prayer letter. He is the former Roman Catholic priest who followed Patroba for a few months, listening to the Gospel. Today, I, and all in the training center got the story first hand. I plan to write the story down in detail as soon as I return home, with documentation. Tonight, here’s a preview.

For starters, Patroba is possibly the most effective evangelist I have ever heard or saw. I have a file of “Patroba stories” collected through the many years of our joint ministry together. One of the great privileges of my life has been to partner with this man. On the rare occasions I have preached with (for) Patroba, as he would interpret, I know there was an anointing that was different.

Joseph grew up Roman Catholic and “preached” in the local Catholic Church for 21 years. He testified today that all of his life he knew he had not heard the entire truth about God and His son Jesus. He acquired a “real” Bible, and began to read for himself. His preaching changed. His religious overseers were not at all happy. Multiple times they visited instructing him in the strongest possible language to stick to the texts he had been provided as a Catholic. Failure to do so would result in his termination. But, the locals were flocking to hear the Bible preached. The overseers didn’t want to rock a successful boat.

As Joseph would go and listen to Evangelist Patroba preach in his open-air meetings, Joseph found the missing truths he had suspected all along. Recently, the crisis of the heart was too much. As he listened
to the pure, simple Gospel once again, He knew that he must be born again. He responded to Patroba’s invitation to accept Christ. But, he did it privately. He knew what he was doing and he knew what the price could be. Joseph was through with religion on that day. Patroba discipled him, as he does all who
respond to the Gospel invitation. He explained to Jospeh the purpose and need for believer’s baptism. There was no hesitation. Joseph, the former Catholic priest, was baptized by Patroba. But, still…privately.

Jospeh returned to his preaching at the Catholic church, but there was no hiding the change that God had brought to his heart. There was a fresh power. And now, Joseph no longer used his Catholic Bible. He preached from his “secret” Bible that had led him to life.

The crowds grew. And, they grew.

And, the Gospel did what it does…it brought conviction and then conversion for dozens of Catholic
faithfuls.

The letter from the bishop came as no surprise to Jospeh. You will not preach this Gospel anymore! If you do, you will be relieved of your duties immediately. And, Joseph continued to preach the Gospel.

The letter from the bishop came as no surprise to Jospeh. You will not preach this Gospel anymore! If you do, you will be relieved of your duties immediately. And, Joseph continued to preach the Gospel.

The new congregation swelled to over 100 in a matter of weeks. NEARLY ALL OF THOSE 100 JOINED THE NEW CHURCH BY BELIEVER’S BAPTISM.

Jospeh’s friends told him the he had better be careful of what he ate. They are certain that he will be poisoned (evidently, a favorite method used in their region.)

After Jospeh shared his testimony for our students today, the room broke into applause.

I asked all of the African’s present; “have you ever heard a story like this one.” The unison answer—NEVER has this happened in this region of Africa.

We gathered around this new believer/pastor, laid our hands on him, and prayed for God’s protection, provision, power, and presence in his life.

Joseph’s life is in God’s hands. But then, aren’t all of our lives in God’s hands, really? I feel like the old farmer who entered his mule in the Kentucky Derby. I have no chance of winning in this company, but at least I get to run the race with them.

It has been said, I would rather see a sermon anyway than hear one. Today, I’m glad that I and our students saw with our own eyes the evidence of the power of the Gospel standing in a small classroom in a training center on the Kenyan hillside.

We all have a little doubting Thomas in us. I know I do. Not tonight. I have seen with my eyes and heard with my ears from the lips of the man himself. Happy day. Happy, happy day! I will never be the same.
I am getting a copy of the letter the bishop wrote to Thomas. I have taken good notes. I plan to write this story in full on my journey home.

But, I’m not headed home yet! Tomorrow the pastors from the Kenyenna region will gather for a one
day leadership conference. Joseph will be sitting on the front row. I just might have a bit more unction that normal tomorrow.

Your prayers = my fuel.
Thank you for sending me.

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