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Waiting to Talk

“One night ... I had a dream. I saw Jesus, and he was very bright and reached out to embrace me. He then touched my forehead and said, ‘You belong to me.’ ... The next morning, my friend asked me, ‘What happened to your forehead? It looks phosphorous!’ ”

This Apostle Paul–type encounter, reported in the August 2002 issue of Charisma magazine, is repeating itself around the world in areas where the door is shut to missionary witness. God is perfectly capable of making himself known through dreams and visions. But usually he chooses to reveal himself through his children.

In 1972 I started learning Godié (GO-dee-aye) in preparation for translating God’s Word into that language. Attending a workshop in 1978 led by Dr. Kenneth and Evelyn Pike, I admired them for having come a few weeks in advance to study French, the official language of Côte d’Ivoire. As the workshop progressed, various participants led the morning devotions. Evelyn took her turn. She did a commendable job reading her presentation to us in French. We appreciated her courage to tackle “our” language.

But the next day Ken also stood up before us with only a few notes in his hand. How in the world, I thought, is this man going to speak to us for fifteen minutes in French when he only began studying it a few weeks ago? In his energetic style he confidently began his meditation. His accent was not French, but Spanish, a language he knew well. His gestures were Latin too. I actually comprehended only a third of the words he spoke.

However, by the time he finished, tears were streaming down my cheeks. His message of love for the lost spoke to my heart in spite of the “interference.” The Holy Spirit’s power prevailed. I prayed, “Oh God, forgive me for the times I hesitated to speak of you because I couldn’t speak Godié perfectly.”

The April-May 2002 issue of The Commission quotes a man living in the Middle East: “ ‘I have wanted to talk to a true Christian for a long time,’ he said, remarking that he had even visited Bethlehem in search of truth. ‘I have a strange feeling in my heart about Jesus.’ He pressed a hand to his chest as his eyes watered, ‘I feel that I love him.’ ”

Why should I fear to speak? My daily Christian walk, despite stumbles, and my stammering efforts to talk about God possess a power to match the embrace of Christ. Surely, there are others who have been waiting a long time to talk—talk to me, a Christian.