God’s sense of humor and His skillful way of herding us along like an unruly cluster of cats never fails to catch me by surprise. I think this is a good thing – I never know what to expect.

Today we arrived at the Village of Buwera at 9:00. As often happens,  by 10:45 we had only five people of an expected 30-50. I didn’t want to start teaching because I would just have to repeat myself when the main group arrived, so I was pondering what to do. Finally, the Holy Spirit suggested that we take the five on a field trip to the village they had targeted for a church plant, Bupadengo Nakabale, and begin the process with a prayer walk through the village. I prefer hands-on practicums to classrooms, anyway, when I can get them.

Some background: we teach the son of peace/oikos method of church planting. That means we send teams into the village to pray and find a person who will welcome them, and either receive Christ through evangelism or, if already a Christian, be open and supportive of the idea of a church in that village. We then evangelize the oikos or household of this “person of peace,” which includes their family, relatives, friends and neighbors. From that group of responders, we move toward planting a New Testament Church through short and long term discipleship among the members of the household. The pattern is from Acts 17:26-28, and Luke 10:1-11. This principle of oikos (Greek word used in the Bible) refers to the extended family, clan, immediate tribe, etc. of the person of peace. This household or clan provides the best entrance into a new area that has no church.

So at 11:00 we loaded our group of five into our vehicle and told the pastor we would be  back in an hour, knowing that other folks would drift in by then for the training. We drove about three miles down the main road and finally turned off on a narrow dirt track and headed into the bush. After a quarter mile or so we began to encounter homes scattered along this track, which gradually turned into a village clustered around a water pump as we continued deeper into the area.

I had begun to argue with the Lord by this time that this was too far to walk from the church, and that we needed to target one of the village areas that we had passed through on our way from the church to this community. However, the Lord seemed to have other plans. As we moved down this narrow roadway, one of the men in the car said, “Pastor Bob, I live in this place. We have no church here. I walk to our church [indicating the church we had just left close to four miles back now], but I want a church in this village. “

I thought that was interesting and filed it for later discussion back at the church. Then we pulled up at this man’s home, climbed out and I did some quick training, broke them into teams and sent them out to pray. As we began to walk, this same man, gesturing to the houses grouped around us, said, “This is my clan. Every one is a relative.” And then he introduced me to his brother, who came over to greet us from a nearby yard.

Sometimes it takes a long time for me to get it, but this man, who hadn’t had the scheduled training yet, and didn’t know anything about persons of peace or oikos/clans, had just  used the exact  language when describing his village that I would teach in my church planting class an hour later. I was starting to think God might be moving ahead of us here.

We walked and prayed, were invited in to pray for one sick lady – yes, a relative of this man and member of his oikos – then, the hour being late, climbed back into the car, and headed back to the church.

As we passed down the road we turned the car around at a beautiful little circle of houses with a clearing that would make an excellent place for a church to meet. I looked significantly at Samuel and said, “Do you see this place, Samuel.” He nodded and answered, almost laughing, “Yes, I do. I see this place, a good place for a church.” As we drove back toward the road, picking up prayer walkers as we went, we passed a group of people standing on the side of the road, all smiling and waving at us. As we went by, it felt to me like we were passing through a veil of some kind, and I was covered with chill bumps, and tears began to well in my eyes – can you physically pass through the Spirit of God or the glory of God? It sure felt like it.

Here’s my conclusion about this event: the church up on the main road who had asked us to come teach their people about church planting because they want to plant a church is already half-way through their first church plant, and they don’t even know it. I am confident that they could offer an outdoor service on this very Sunday, and many people from this village, especially from this son of peace’s oikos would already respond. Is it really this easy?

I’m pretty sure I heard God chuckling somewhere deep down in my spirit today. I may have even heard Him say, “Bazinga!”

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