Each day, Akrai [name changed for security purposes] takes his bike and straps several bundles of sarees (traditional clothing for women in India) to it. As he begins riding through his village, he stops at each door and asks them if they would like to buy any sarees. Some say yes, while others tell him to stop by tomorrow. It’s commonplace to see Akrai laughing in the doorway with one of his customers, or sometimes having a deep discussion or prayer. He rides his daily route that takes him through several villages, and puts him in contact with a wide variety of people. This entrepreneurial clothing business is something that Akrai loves. Why? Well, the truth rests in the relational opportunities that his business provides.
Akrai went through the intensive training required by impact49 and discovered that the greatest way to spread the gospel is to engage his community in the marketplace. There are abundant opportunities each day for Akrai to talk about the Lord with his customers. He sees them on a daily basis, so he can also follow-up on family situations and display his genuine love for his neighbors.
Along with his business, Akrai has also planted a church. Many of the customers on Akrai’s route come to his church as well. His presence in the community, and the way that he conducts himself in the marketplace, lets his customers see that he takes his faith in Christ seriously.
“I now have a much greater exposure within my community. This has led to more and more people coming through the doors of our church,” Akrai shared.
It’s amazing how the simple sale of a saree is providing open doors for the Gospel!
“Life hasn’t always been easy for me, but God has brought me this far.” Alex Toco shared his story at a Global Disciples training meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Alex lost five brothers. Some died as a result of war in Congo and Uganda, and others died of malnutrition right before his eyes. If his parents had remained in Congo, Alex would have died as well. The family traveled to western Uganda and eventually settled in a refugee camp. It was a place filled with disease and hunger. A few days after the struggling family arrived, a church worker relocated them to Kampala, Uganda. It was here that the Lord slowly began healing Alex’s heart, drawing him into deeper levels of leadership within the church. In December 2006, Alex graduated from the International Leadership Training Program in Kampala. ILTP provides discipleship and mission training, facilitated by Global Disciples. The training changed Alex, who returned to western Uganda. Alex established the Western Region Discipleship Training School, which has already conducted several discipleship-training programs. The location of their outreach? The very same refugee camps in which Alex lived. “I’ve seen people who have suffered more in their lives than I have, and I promised Jesus that I would stand with them in prayer, sharing the little that I have with them.”
Jatan was a poor church planter in South Asia, trying to eke out a living for his family. He went to a Global Disciples’ Small Business Development Training program. Applying what he learned, Jatan’s small grocery and cosmetic shop grew and flourished. One day, a man – obviously in pain – entered his shop. Jatan offered to pray for him. He prayed for healing, and God instantly restored the man to full health. Since then, people from villages near and far come to Jatan’s shop to do business… and receive prayer. More than 200 people have come to know Jesus through Jatan’s store, where many of them gather regularly for worship, prayer and Bible teaching. Jatan used what he learned in Global Disciples’ training to help a friend start a grocery store, serving as both a business and church.
(The following story describes a people movement to Christ among unreached people in Northern Kenya. Similar movements have been launched as a result of Global Disciples’ work across Africa and Asia.) They said he was just a desert boy from the barren wasteland of northern Kenya. From the nomadic tribe known as the Turkana, his name was Benson. What could the Lord do with just a desert boy? Benson remembers the Lord saying to him at a young age, “Go, speak my word, and heal the nations.” He said to himself, “A Turkana? A shepherd boy?” In 2003 Benson attended the International School of Missions (ISOM), a discipleship-mission training program facilitated by Global Disciples in Kenya. After graduation he went back home to the Turkana. He began identifying villages with people who had never heard of Christ. There were hundreds of thousands who had not heard the Good News; unreached, without a church. So Benson began to walk from village to village, sharing the Good News. “He is able to go, midst of the people, stay with them, their own level, their own context,” said the director of ISOM. “He understands the language, he understands the culture.” And now, several years after Benson first began to walk among scorpions and snakes, under a hot sun and often lacking food and water, there is a people movement to Christ! Thousands of Turkana have come to Jesus and hundreds of churches have been planted.