Last Sunday July 15th, I sat with my good friend David in church, never thought that day would come, but last Sunday it did. This certainly was the highlight of my trip.
John and I met David in 2011, he was the engineer over the building project of Pearl Haven Christian Center. We befriended him quickly due to knowing we would be working with him until completion of PHCC as well as because he was a very interesting fella. We inquired about his life and family. He told us that he had a daughter which lived in the U.S., and his wife moved back to Kenya. He did have two sons but they had died. Silence took over the conversation, for comforting words were hard to find at that moment. He responded, how could a loving God take them away. You could definitely tell bitterness settle in the core of his heart.
As the week progressed John and I were doing door to door with the Pearl Haven team and we thought, how can we go out sharing throughout the town and yet not share with those working on the church. So we made it a point to asked David about his life and if he knew Jesus, not just know about Him, but did he have a personally relationship with Him. He said he used to go to Church when he was younger, but then married, and cease to go. After his two sons died, bitterness, anger, and an unforgiving spirit made their home in his heart. With a bad church experience and his son’s death, he blamed God and didn’t want anything to do with the Lord. We didn’t press to change or preached at him, we simply asked if we could pray for him. He accepted, so we did. I told him when I got back to the states I would contact his daughter and tell her hello from him, you see, he hadn’t talked to her in years. When I came back to Texas, I made it a point to find her. I did call her and said that David said hello and that he loved her. A moment of silence as if she was gathering enough strength to say thank you for the call. At the end she said, when you see him again, tell him I said hello. I gave her David’s number and said he would probably enjoy hearing it from you. Though I could not see her, the image of her smiling became evident as her voice seemed more cheerful.
Well, throughout the years when we made trips to Uganda, we made it a point to come and visit with David. I loved to hear his life stories about his experience and life. Stories about when he was in the army or all the different type of churches he has built in the past. Each year we would ask David come join us at church, but each time he declined and said this was his only day of rest. We had already gotten used to his answer when it came to church.
In 2017 my whole family got to go on mission with me. What a blessing. One day I went to church to get some equipment for our sports camp. As I entered the church I saw David in the gallery area, he was instructing some of the workers on the laying out of the gallery steps. I was just going to say hi and continue on my way. Well, that is what I thought, but that didn’t happen. I heard a calm voice say, go to him and ask him to join you and the family for church this Sunday. My first thought was, nah he won’t go. The voice came again and said, go and invite him, so I went and asked David, “why don’t you join me and my family for church”? He started to hesitate, but at the end said, what time does it start. I was surprised yet thrilled that he actually considered coming. Sunday came and I was elated to see him. I knew the Lord was working in his life. Even people were making comments like, we thought David was coming in to work on the church, we didn’t think he came for service. I silently praise the Lord for the work He had started.
Well , since then David has been coming to church off and on and that is a very good start. During this mission trip David has been going to church. So the last Sunday I was there, I was honored to sit by David. Near the end of the service David lean over to me and said, “Before you leave I have a story to share with you”. It was exciting because I knew it had to be something good. After the service ended I pulled David to the side and asked him what he wanted to tell me. He began to give some history about the church and himself. He grew up Baptist and attending a Baptist church, he was quite involved in church so saw what happens in church during the week. He said what he experience in church discourage him to never want to set foot back in church again. He was 17 at the time and until 2017 made his first attempted. He came because we had invited him and because we were friends. He came because he saw Pearl Haven Church as a real family. Wow, is all I can say.
The Story he revealed to me after church
For many years I have been here building this church, I could see the faithfulness of Wilber and a Sarah, and the leaders around. The love in this church is genuine and this is why I call it my home church. I told him that was great, then press in a little more about his family, and if he had forgiven the Lord. I saw the tears starting to build up and then released when he mentioned his boys. I couldn’t say anything and tears began to flow out upon my cheeks. I merely cried with him and hugged him as we shared his pain. I did however share what we went through when I lost my brother and how it affected my parents. The pain my dad went through and how he dealt with it. I shared with him that when my brother drowned, my dad did questioned the Lord as to why He took his first born. He said the Lord’s response was this, "As much as it hurt you to give up your son, how much more do you think it hurt Me to give you Mine". Then and overwhelming peace came over my dad, and he was able to deal with this situation with great peace. I told David, you need to let go and let God give him that peace. I prayed for him and it seemed that anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness had to leave. A big smile and hug came from David as he embraced me with a bear hug. I left knowing that God is doing an amazing thing in David’s life. How awesome is that. Mulkama Zebaswe – PTL