For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
We arrived in Bamako Wednesday evening. Imagine walking into a sauna, but never walking out. That is the best way to describe getting off the plane when we arrived and the scary part is, "they" say that we are in the middle of a cold front.... hence the couple of rain showers we have had. We are not going directly out into the villages like most teams do; however, these first few days here we are getting to visit old friends in Bamako and begin learning the language.... and hopefully help Rita (the missionary here) with some things.
Rita has a friend here who I got to know very well the last time I was in Bamako. For going on 8-9 years now Rita has prayed for her and visited with her and shared with her, but she has only become more and more indulged in her Muslim faith. Cass and I went to visit her Thursday morning and it was very evident that during these last three years, since I have last seen her, she has become much more committed to her faith. Maybe she is running from God and hoping that if she is "religious" enough she will get into Heaven. It's not about religion though. Pray that God puts overwhelming confusion into her heart and mind and causes her to question everything she knows and thinks about Islam and Christianity. Like Elijah and the prophets of Baal, let the TRUE God show Himself.
It is such a blessing to have community; to have people who care about you and make you feel welcome. Yesterday when we went to visit my friends at the Artisan (tourist market) I experienced that. The moment Cass and I walked in we were greeted with excited faces and a warm welcome; rather than the typical, "Buy this", "Come see my shop", "I give you good price", that normally comes with the market. My friends there were very happy to meet Cass and so happy we had returned to Mali to see them. Soon, my best friend in Mali, Omar, came running through the teeming market with a huge smile on his face saying, "Martan, Martan!" We embraced with a big hug, as we were both excited to see each other and then held hands (don't worry! That's what you do here, it's cool I promise!) I introduced him to, ne musso (my woman) and then he immediately took us to his shop. He pointed to all of the necklaces hanging on his wall and told Cass to pick one out as a gift. He then gave Cass a tour of the Artisan. It was cool to see how eager everyone was to make Cass feel welcome there. Pray that Cass and I have the courage to go and share stories from the God's Word with my friends at the market and that they too have confusion and questioning in their hearts of Islam and understanding of God's Word.
This next week will be sharing stories from God’s word with an ESL (English as a Second Language) class. Pray that Cass and I are able to learn these stories by heart and are able to effectively and passionately share them with others.