After two rough weeks at the Bible study at Nariko, we finally had the sort of study this week that is missionary-newsletter-worthy. I rode out with our teacher, Emmy, not sure what to expect. Sunday night, we had almost 4cm of rain, but Monday’s sun had dried out the road. When we arrived, we were initially told that many people had gone out to their gardens to harvest, but we still found a number of people who were eager to come and hear the Parable of the Talents.
Emmy taught in a very engaging fashion about working for the kingdom of God, asking a few questions along the way. At the end of the study, one old man, Yoana, had a comment. He said that these parables are very hard to understand and wanted clarification on one point. From what I was able to understand asking Emmy afterward, he wanted to know whether the man who was given one talent and hid it in the ground was a Christian or not. Emmy explained that the two who went out and invested their talents were Christian, but the man who did nothing was not. His works had shown him to be faithless. There was some discussion among those present of this question, and before we left, Emmy made sure that everyone had understood the story well. It is not surprising that people find these parables to be difficult. Most, if not all, of the hearers in Jesus’ day were completely dumbfounded by these stories, and even in our own, it is easy to miss the point when we read. It’s always an encouragement, though, to get people saying that they don’t understand. It shows that they have been listening and it gives an opportunity for clarification.
After the study at Nariko, we went to a new place we’ve only visited once—a small home considered Nariko East (the other, you may deduce, is Nariko West). The first time we visited, the people there begged us to bring a borehole, but assured us that in addition to bringing the borehole, it was alright if we wanted to preach there as well. This week, there was no talk of a borehole, but many people came and listened intently to the teaching. One old man even invited us into his home to wait out a bit of rain. Week to week, it’s never certain what the response will be to our teaching, but when we are given a day like this, it is a good reminder that our labor here is not for nothing. What we sometimes sow in tears, one day, we will reap joyfully.