First Preaching in Dekpo

Dec. 18, 1998


       People gathered around our car as we parked on the side of the dirt road in the village of Dekpo (DECK-po).  Jean (John), the man who invited us, led us to the shade of a tree about five yards away.  After a short wait, we sang a few songs.  Then, I began  by introducing Cyndi and myself to the group and began to relate the story of Elijah's encounter with the prophets of Baal.  We have grown used to the constant drown of chatter while I teach during the first couple of meetings in villages.  The blessing of understanding the language of the Aja people also enables us to hear the comments about our language abilities, discriptions of our bodies, and quesses about our intentions.  Interruptions are not unusual.

       "Do not listen.  If they have come to tell us to leave the gods, do not listen."  We had never heard negative comments like this before.  The very large woman was shouting as she walked around behind the circle of  people who were listening.  She begain to shout louder.  I would have loved for her to ask a question, even a difficult one full of criticism.  But the heckling was annoying.  Finally, someone turned to her and told to her to be quiet.  A couple of others made similar comments.  She stopped and I do not remember seeing her again.

       About half way through the lesson a middle aged man made his way through the circle.  Some got up from one of the chairs and he sat down and immediatly interrupted me.  "Normally, people have meetings after someone invites them.  I do not know why you are here.  Others have come here before and left.  What are your intentions?"  I could tell he had been drinking.  I explained that Jean had invited us.  After asking several other questions, he stood and left.  With less enthusiasm, I finished my lesson.  And, we were invited back.

       The next Monday when we arrived, the large lady began with some heckling, but soon sat down and listened to the entire lesson without saying another word.  Our drunk friend with all the questions showed up in time to interrupt my lesson again.  When he was satisfied, he left.

       At the third meeting the lady and this man both sat and listened to the entire lesson, sang songs and had smiles on their faces.  God is working on them. 

       It is too early to tell what will happen at Dekpo.  I expect God to plant a church there.  The Aja people have been very receptive to His message.  In July, when we only had one congregation, we set a goal to have seven congregations with a total membership of 101 by December 31.  There are six congregations now and more than one hundred members.  Continue to pray for the souls of these people.  God is working wonders among them.

                                                                     ...Richard Chowning