Evangelizing Wherever Doors Are Open

This update is related to the Crossway Global Ministry Fund campaign.

Who Have You Withheld the Gospel From?

What are the most popular locations you visit each week outside of your home? Possibilities for you may include work, your children’s school, church, Starbucks, Costco, Walgreens, Home Depot, Walmart, Target—to name a few. In each of those circumstances, you have the opportunity to interact with others, some who may be followers of Christ and others who are atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist . . . the list goes on.

But often we go through the motions of those interactions, in too much of a hurry to pause for a moment and consider who we’re surrounded by and what we have to give—the good news of the gospel. Consider this question: who might you have unknowingly withheld the good news from?

This challenging question is one that missionaries Greg and Kilby Lee ask themselves regularly as they work and serve in Arua, Uganda. A town filled with unbelievers, they must regularly repeat to themselves, “who have I withheld the gospel from, and who can I share this good news with today?”

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Addressing Needs Where the Doors Are Open

While working as an engineer in the US right out of college, Greg remembers a missionary sharing with him, “if God’s calling you to be a missionary, he won’t allow you to be satisfied with anything else.” And from that moment forward, God placed Greg, later joined by Kilby, on a path to care for the lost sheep of Arua. “The Lord made it abundantly clear how few the laborers are and how much opportunity there is,” Greg reflects as he thinks back on their first interactions with the people of Arua. They saw the need and realized that they needed to meet the need in very normal, everyday ways.

That’s what their ministry, Let Me Introduce You (#LMIY), seeks to do: “[Our goal] is to encourage existing churches in a biblical way. The church has a 100-year history in Arua, but there’s no concept of discipleship. Some people who’ve been in church for 20 to 30 years still don’t know what the Bible teaches and most can’t share the gospel. We want to disciple people, to help and encourage them to reach out to evangelize, be a witness, and make disciples as they live for Christ.”

Greg and Kilby daily team up to address these goals in different areas of the community where the Lord has opened doors. Through Crossway’s Global Ministry Fund, they have a room in their home filled with ESV Global Study Bibles that they can take wherever they go. Sometimes, that’s just a few feet away to an overjoyed plumber who is a Christian but has never owned a Bible for himself. And for Greg, one open door for the gospel has come in a very unexpected place.

Gospel Truth Preached in Islamic Schools

Greg and Kilby received a shipment of donated library books intended to be passed along to schools in Uganda, that often have few, if any, books at their disposal. Right away he began to visit different schools in the community and found that it was primarily the Islamic schools that were lacking books. Though he was met with a lack of interest at the first Islamic school, the second eagerly accepted this free gift. Hameed, the headmaster of the school, even allowed Greg to speak with the students. “I did a small presentation with the school books that were given in order to encourage students to read and seek wisdom and knowledge, but I also told them that true knowledge is found in the fear of the Lord.” Hameed was so enthusiastic about the presentation that, by God’s grace, he accepted Greg’s request to return with Bibles for the students. Greg shares that he immediately took this invitation, and with great success:

Thirty-five students came to this voluntary presentation to see what the strange bearded man from America had to say. About 15 of them said they wanted to sit in a Bible class after that, so over the next eight weeks I visited and taught from the Bible. At certain times a few students would look away, maybe because they realized that what they heard would not sit well with their parents or their family. But they all listened and they all learned the short gospel that I shared on the first day.

Throughout these eight weeks, a few students came to trust the Lord, a step of faith they hadn’t previously considered. The students knew that at the end of the eight weeks, for those who attended all of the sessions, they would receive a Global Study Bible. Greg shared that “it was amazing to see these Islamic students taking pictures of the day and celebrating that they received a Bible. The day we gave them the Bibles it was pouring rain. They were going to have to walk home in the rain, but they stayed long to celebrate that they received those Bibles.”

These doors have opened quickly in the school, but there is also faithful, daily work that Kilby engages in with women that has required patience as she waits to see life transformation.

Peeling Peas to the Glory of God

Arua’s central marketplace isn’t like a grocery store in the United States. As is typical in African culture, the marketplace provides a place for people to gather to sell their wares and socialize with family and friends. So, for Kilby to connect with women from the town and share the gospel, this is where she must spend her time.

Kilby’s strategy in sharing the gospel with these women includes engaging with them from a perspective they would understand. Arua is known for its folk Islam, a combination of standard Islam mixed with witchcraft. As a result, the women were naturally skeptical and hostile toward the Bible when Kilby pulled it out of her bag that first day. After that, she realized she just needed to tell Bible stories without displaying her Bible:

They love Bible stories, especially the Old Testament stories and stories of Jesus interacting with women in the gospels. So we’ve talked about loads of those stories. The part of folk Islam that they have been influenced by results in the belief that if they hear from a Bible being read or if they touch a Bible, it will put them in a trance and against their will they’ll convert to Christianity. So if I go there with a Bible and ask, “can I read this story to you?” they’ll say, “absolutely not. We love you and we’re friends with you, but we won’t let you read that to us.” But if I have that story in my mind and I ask, “I have a story from the Bible, can I tell it to you?” they’ll respond much more enthusiastically.

Kilby has learned that though she is eager to give Bibles to these women, that day hasn’t yet come. In the meantime, she works to faithfully study the Word before her time in the marketplace to find a story she can share and offer another glimpse of gospel hope to these women living in the dark. Though some days that means she must simply sit and peel vegetables with them without sharing the story she has brought, she’s confident that the Lord is at work in softening hearts. “I just have to trust that on the days where I’m peeling peas, the Lord is working just as much as on the days where I get to share stories.”

When that day comes, Kilby will be ready with open arms and a Global Study Bible to welcome these women to the family of God.

Equipping Believers with the Word of Life

Greg and Kilby are examples of faithfulness to the Lord as they seek to share the gospel with everyone they meet. And due to the generosity of donors to the Global Ministry Fund, they have been equipped in their ministry work to not only share the gospel verbally, but to provide the written Word for further growth.

You can continue to provide Bibles to ministry partners like Greg and Kilby Lee and impact the lives of brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Join us today in this effort to proclaim the gospel worldwide!

Pray for the students Greg taught and gave Bibles to in the Islamic school. Pray that they would stand firm in their new faith despite potential pushback from their families.

Pray for the salvation of the women in the marketplace who Kilby regularly meets with.

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