Teaching a five-day on Hermeneutics and Hearing God.

[From Gail]

Recently somewhere in Arkansas, a Christian decided to give two Bibles to a man to use in his ministry. This man has a calling to minister to men in the prison. Every week he puts on his favorite red shirt and goes to share the good news with whichever of the inmates want to talk to him. This man listens and shares and prays with these prisoners, and if there is a need, he gives them a Bible. He has been doing this for many years and God has blessed his ministry. Through the years, he has found that he prefers a certain style of Bible and buys them and has them ready every time he goes. He was very grateful for the two Bibles he received from the Christian friend, but they were a different style than what he liked to share with the men he ministers to in the prison.

Of course, this man values all Bibles, so he knew he wanted to pass them on to another ministry. He knew of a ministry that travels across the world from the United States to Uganda. That ministry had expressed a need for Bibles to give to the many believers there that have no ability to have a Bible. So, he gave the two Bibles to his grand-daughter-in-law to bring to Fort Worth.

It took several tries to connect, but just before we left for Uganda in April, these two beautiful Bibles found their way into our suitcase to come with us on our current trip. Now our dilemma: where on our many stops does God want us to give them? We began to pray about it and to keep a watchful eye for the opportunity that the Holy Spirit might pick. With only two, we have to be careful – you don’t want to pick someone in a group to give a Bible to and not give Bibles to everyone else. This creates more problems than it solves. But we knew that God would direct these two Bibles into the right hands.

Every place we go, people need Bibles. Bibles haven’t reached a place yet in our carefully planned budget, what with transport, food, guesthouses, day-day expenses, and the high cost of giving seminars. So when someone donates Bibles, it is a wonderful surprise. On our last trip, we had a nice sum of money donated by our grandchildren especially for Bibles. This was done at some sacrifice since the oldest of the three was only ten. We were able to buy a case of Bibles, and we had a certain place that God showed us, and 25 Christians were blessed to receive Bibles which they could not afford. As we visited that same place this trip, the people joyfully held them up to show us they were using them even while Bob was preaching. Those people are very blessed and grateful.

So, back to our two Bibles that we were carrying, looking for the right “someones” to receive them.

We were driving toward our next ministry stop and coming to a certain town. I was sitting in the front seat of the car, and Bob was resting in the back. I was telling Alfred that several weeks earlier, I had been to this town with my friend Irene to talk to the prison about a medical missions team from Germany coming in June. I learned a lot about prison conditions here in Uganda during that visit.

The car in front of us was going a little slowly, so Alfred decided to pass them. We were pretty near to the town. It seemed to me he went a bit faster than was necessary, and apparently the policewomen on duty at the checkpoint just outside of town agreed because they motioned him to pull over for a chat. That is rarely a good thing here just like at home in the U.S., only not so much – you never know exactly what is going to happen here.

I think the police officers were quite surprised to find a musungu woman in the front seat. One of the officers approached the car and asked to see Alfred’s driving permit. Their conversation was in very clear English, which was helpful to me. She began to lecture him about driving so fast and seemed to want to keep his permit until his “fine” was paid. He stepped out of the car to fill out a form. Bob and I were left wondering what was going to be the outcome of all of this…and the cost. We had to be in our next ministry place, and it was getting late (hence the extra speed). The officer asked Alfred where he was from and what he did there. He said he was a businessman and did pastoral work. When she learned he was a pastor, she immediately said she needed a Bible. Alfred only had his own Bible and a small New Testament, and he offered the small Bible to the officer. He didn’t remember that we had two Bibles tucked away in the back of the car.

By now, the other officer had come to my side of the car and was talking to me. “I need a Bible,” she said. Without hesitation, I answered, “I have one for you!” Bob got out of the back seat and went to the back of the car to find the Bibles. They were in the large tote at the very bottom. But Bob found them and gave them to the two officers who were very grateful to receive them.

Why do I tell you this story? It is a lovely example of how God works around us and through us when we let Him. A faithful believer gave a gift to another faithful servant. He passed that gift on to his granddaughter, who passed it on to two missionaries, who took the gift across the world and waited and watched and had the gift available at just the right time.

By the way, an extra irony is the location of these events. The first giver of the gift wanted the Bibles used in prison ministry. At the end of the journey, the gift was finally given to two police officers only three kilometers from a prison in Uganda, one that I had personally visited only weeks before. God sees it all, and with His guiding Hand was able to move two Bibles around fourteen thousand miles to answer the prayers of two Christian police officers who serve way out in the African bush in a prison town.