Yes, a female translator. From the moment I started speaking, I really felt the Holy Spirit helping me to communicate. I basically talked about purity being deeper than sexual activity. Purity (in all things) begins with the heart, is practiced in the mind and is expressed in the body. I tried to be as real as possible in speaking about the fight that goes on in a man's mind without going overboard and making the translator uncomfortable. It was tough but God was definitely with me. Afterward, I opened up the discussion for any question that they wanted to ask me. Mayne!
So the first guy stood up and asked me his question in English. He asked me, "What would you tell a friend who used to sell drugs but became a Christian and doesn't sell drugs anymore. And ever since he gave his life to Christ he has been a poor." Yes, he said "a poor". Because to him "poor" is not just about not having money. "Poor" is an identity. He said that his friend constantly.struggled with the temptation of going back to sell drugs. It was at this point where I REALLY saw how damaging the "prosperity gospel" could be. Prosperity within the context of the gospel is what God graced me to communicate. I basically told him to remind his friend of the uselessness of earthly wealth on judgement day. Then I told him to remind his friend that when a person gives their life to Christ, he believes that God will not only save him from wrath. Belief in God is trusting in God for life. I reminded him that God determines who will have wealth and how much and that his friend should continue to trust on Christ and be a good steward of time and resources available to him. I told him that God would honor the faithfulness and stewardship of his friend. That guy later thanked me and told me that the friend he was talking about was really him. He also told me that he felt like his only hope for getting money was to wait for a handout or to get a job from a white man. I reminded him of the character of God and encouraged him that God could establish His kingdom through this young man if he remained faithful, content and a good steward. I also couldn't help but think about how urban kids back at home think the same way this guy did.
Finally, the guy that I was talking about in part 1 had a question. He asked it in KinyanRwandan and everyone laughed. The translator put her hand over her head and looked a little stressed out. The guy motioned to the translator to ask me the question. She hesitantly asked me. "He wants to know if you've ever hurt anyone or done drugs or anything." When she asked me that, I knew that this guy was trying to discredit me and publicly dismiss the message if I didn't have the same background as they did. The Holy Spirit gave me some serious boldness at that point. I walked over to him and looked dead in his eyes and started speaking to the translator. I said, "Tell him I understand his question and I know why he is asking it." (I'm getting chills just typing this. It was definitely God because try to avoid confrontation when I can.) I began to tell him my testimony. "I've never done drugs. I've never shot or stabbed anyone. I've never gotten drunk. I never had sex until I got married." When I said that he threw his hands up and rolled his eyes. Then everyone posture just changed. Some of them laughed. Then I said, "The fact that I'm a man just like you and I've never done these things is proof of the power of God." When I said that the whole atmosphere of the group changed. Then I reminded them how they claimed to trust in the words of a Jesus who never sinned once. The guy who asked the question totally changed his attitude at that point. I could tell that the Holy Spirit was working on his heart. There were a few more questions from different people so I answered those. Then it was time to go. I could have stayed there all day. (I'm tearing up now just thinking about how amazing that experience was.) As we left, the guys told me how much they were encouraged by the teaching. Praise God!
We came back to the Dream Center days later. I got a chance to see some of the young men who were in my small group, including the funny guy :) That guy told me that God completely changed his life the day that we had our small group. A lot of the guys told me that they had already begun to think differently about life. I could see the change! It was awesome!
Im so grateful that God used me in that capacity. I learned so much. It was time to leave Rwanda and take my new perspective back to the states. I'll let you know how that's been going soon.
Thanks for reading!