But in my talks there’s been one consistent glimmer of hope. In Jos and in Biliri there’s a hope in Jesus Christ. The hope springs from a deep abiding faith in Jesus, a trust forged through perseverance and an understanding that to suffer is to walk alongside Jesus. Peter writes that various trials test our faith, acting as a purifier the way heating gold to melt it filters out the impurities, resulting in something much more precious. The result is “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” Peter writes.
Out in Biliri at a school started by American missionary Eric Black, who uses our Transformational Education Network computer outreach curriculum, I met a young man named Gideon as he was about to lead a group of students on an outreach. Just before they squeezed into a van bursting with people, luggage, musical instruments and Bibles, Gideon gathered the group in front of the school for a brief message. “If you really love Jesus with all of your life,” he said in his accented English, “then sacrifice your life to live for Him. Whatever it may cost you to live a righteous life, then do it.” Then he paused, looking intently at the students. “For that is a great, great gain.”
Gideon described how the journey to a distant city would be tough, the devil doubling his efforts because he knows who he is up against. “Put on all of your armors,” he said. Then he challenged the students.
“As we go out on outreach, if you’re passionate for Jesus then go out and preach the word,” Gideon said. “If you are not then I will advise you that you will stay back home. The place we are going we are really taking the message of love. The message of peace. The message of unity. Some will say that it is like we are going on vacation. That is not what we are going for. So be ready to lay down your life, whatever it may cost. It cost Jesus His life to bring you back. So be willing to lay down your life.”
He closed by telling the students that in whatever persecutions they face, to endure them without complaining. He told them that he loved them and that his prayer is that as they head out from the school they would transform the world.