Trainings, Dinners, MP3s and Goats

What do Conferences, Trainings, Dinners, Goats and MP3 players all have in common? Each can be used to show compassion and share Jesus.
As I sit inside my home, I hear my neighbor girls listening to Bible stories via Solar-powered MP3 Players, pre-loaded with hours and hours of the Bible in their language. I had brought several of these devices with me and had lent them one a few months ago. They continue to listen day after day, repeating the same stories and songs without growing tired of them. About a month ago, my neighbor told me that the girls had stated, “We think Laura wants us to accept Jesus. She gave us all these Bible stories.” Just this week both of them came to tell me that they have started going to church, have accepted Christ, and have set a date to be baptized. I am so thankful for technology that allows me to share the Gospel clearly even while I continue to learn the language. *Neither of these girls is in a good situation. I continue to work with their appropriate guardians to try to improve their physical environment and allow them an education or vocational training.
I was invited to take part in 2 youth conferences this past month, both held in rural villages. There I had the opportunity to speak and encourage these youth with God’s purpose for their lives and finding their identity in Christ. We also held Bible trivia with prizes of Bibles in order to distribute 30 Bibles throughout these churches, where very few persons have a Bible. While I share photos on Face Book, I wish I could video for you the way they jump and shout praises to God, kiss their Bibles and hold them close upon receiving their first Bible. Once one has a Bible it is generally shared with family and friends. One boy showed me this week the schedule he had made up among his friends for who had the Bible which days.
I continue to visit the Sunday Schools begun following our first Sunday school training to encourage the new teachers and help them in their new ministries. Subsequently, we are gearing up for a second training involving 15 churches in another area this next week.
We were able to launch our sustainable projects this month with the giving of 6 goats and several chickens to members of a local congregation in an impoverished village. The church leaders voted to choose the families who would be the first recipients of the animals, then we held a ceremony to give the goats. Each recipient enters a contract with the church to keep the goat until at least one baby goat has been given to another family in the church or community, then the goat is his to keep, sell or eat. The church members are thrilled about this project. While some families were chosen on basis of need, at some point many of these members are equally in need. I appreciated that one lady was chosen specifically as an evangelization tool for her family. This young lady has continued to be faithful despite much antagonism from her non-believing family. Just last month she became the Sunday school teacher for the children in our church. The leaders chose to give her and her family a goat as a display of compassion from the church to their family.
We ended the month with a special dinner that I’ve called “Sienna’s Supper.” Luke 14:13 states, “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” While I was wanting to hold an outreach specifically targeting the many crippled, blind and withered that beg in the streets, a young girl, named Sienna, sent me her saved-up allowance money asking me to use it for food for those in need. We held a feast at a fine local restaurant where 23 of our invited guests from the streets came and enjoyed fellowship, food and compassion. I hope we will hold a larger feast at Christmas time.
I am already working with local churches to plan for multiple Vacation Bible Schools to be held in November and December when children here are out of school; however, in the meantime, I will be returning to the States for about 6 weeks to obtain visa paperwork and visit many of you.
I look forward to seeing many of you soon. As always, thank you immensely for your prayers, encouragement and support!
For His Glory,
Laura Yockey

*For details on Sienna’s Supper, see previous blog: