Stepping Stones in Togo
24 Apr 2017
I drew two lines in the sand, then picked up two rocks and placed one on the outside of each line. I said; “This space between the lines is a river. You want to get from one rock to the other, but how will you get across the river?”
In the last day of a two-year training program for church planters, a participant named Philip asked me to visit a church plant with him on the following Sunday.
Two years earlier I had met with Philip and his family, and they spoke about a vision to reach an unreached village located two hours east of their home. I was greatly encouraged by their passion, but was concerned about the distance they would need to travel. I drew the lines in the sand, and asked them how they could get from one rock to the other. The answer was to create stepping stones. I suggested they might want to start in a location that was a little closer to home, and progressively make their way towards the distant village.
And so, two years later, on the Sunday after the course was completed, Phillip and I left his house and travelled for two hours along muddy and rough roads finally arriving at a makeshift shelter made of logs and a thatched roof in the middle of a remote village. Protected from the scorching sun gathered a group of about 30 adults and 60 children singing worship songs in their language. We joined them, sitting at the back on a 10cm wide piece of wood that was being suspended by two rocks on either side. For the next few hours, we worshipped, prayed and studied God’s word together.
I realised that this was the village that Philip had talked about when we had first met him two years ago. Until this day, I had no idea that this church even existed. Philip had taken my advice and planted a church that was close to his home. However, the vision to reach the distant village remained. From this first church plant, he had trained two of the new Christians who with him planted another church that was a little further from home again. From this second church, he trained two young men in their early 20s and a girl in her early teens who have planted and are leading the young church in which I was now worshiping.
Once the service finished, I met with the leaders under a mango tree and had two burning questions.
How did you go about planting the church?
We pray! We pray for people and when God heals them or intervenes we share the gospel with them. If they choose to follow Jesus, we teach them to do the same.
Knowing that there were very few songs translated into their language I asked what language they were singing in.
One of the young leaders, pointed to the teenage girl who had helped to start the church. She had translated into their language most of the songs that were sung that day.
Two years ago, God put a vision in Phillip’s heart. Today, in answer to prayer, there is a community of believers who gather together to worship their God, in their language, with songs written by a teenage girl.
We serve a faithful God!