Pierre's Questions


Addendum to Church Growth Study February 16, 1999


As part of the process of maturation in the congregations, I have been asking them to tell me the problems they are experiencing in their new life with the Lord.  In a recent meeting at the Kadahoue (ka-DA-hwey) congregation, Pierre, a fifty-year old single man presented me with this picture of his life. 

“What does someone like me do?  If I go to the open-air market, I might buy three sheep.  When I lead them home, people in my village say, ‘He has never been married.  He bought those sheep to brag about his wealth.’  Or, they say, ‘Where does he get the money for those sheep?’  Then tomorrow when I wake up, I find that all of the sheep are sick.  Within three days they all die.  What do I do?”

            “Or,” he goes on; “a man and his wife invite me over for a meal.  While we are eating I get the feeling that one of them has put ‘aze’ (an herb or mineral put in food to cause sickness or some other misfortune) in the part of the bowl that I am eating form.  What do I do?   If I dig around and find some ‘aze’ in the bowl, what do I do?”

            Pierre’s problems are worlds apart from the problems faced by American Christians.  However, like new Christians around the world, Pierre knew that he must not respond to problems the way he did in the old life.  Before he became a Christian, he could take the people who criticized him for buying the sheep for judgement before the village elder.  The elder would probably have them fined, because he would find that because they spoke evil of the sheep they must have used sorcery to cause their death.    

            Pierre also would have been convinced that the couple would go to jail for putting ‘aze’ in his food. 

But, the life he was now living was different.  The Spirit of God was in him.  The Most Powerful one was with him.  He wanted to know what he was to do now that he was the Lord’s person.  Does he just let people persecute him?  What should he do?

            Two suggestions came out of the discussion: Christians living in Ajaland need to be confident about who they belong to.  God’s presence in their lives must give them the inner certainty that God loves them.  Even if people laugh at them for not being married or look down on them because they are poor, they dare not believe those lies.  They are children of the Creator and Life Giver. 

            When the Son of God was on the cross, he looked down at those who drove the nails into his hands and feet.  Then looking up at His Father he said, “Father, forgive them.  They do not know what they are doing.”

           God loved the world so, so much.  So must Aja Christians.

                                                                                                    ...Richard Chowning