Ezekiel is our full-time missionary in the village we have adopted in Nigeria. He lives on-site and shares the love of Christ with the Songhai, an unreached people group, on an ongoing basis.
From time to time, Ezekiel travels to meet with key leaders and ministry partners. This story is about one such time. After some initial meetings, Ezekiel was traveling with a fellow missionary and their driver. The missionary asked the driver, Alue, if he had a relationship with Jesus. His answer was, "Not yet; I am a Muslim." The missionary explained that it was risky to wait, and so the man consented to say yes to Jesus. They prayed together and gave Alue a Bible.
The next day, Alue and Ezekiel continued on their way. After traveling for about 20 miles, they got a flat tire. The men were forced to trek two miles to the nearest village to get help. As they approached the village, a man appeared from the bush, carrying a load of firewood on his head. Ezekiel asked the man if he had ever heard about Jesus. Abuka replied, "I have been hearing about that man." After some clarification about the person of Jesus, Abuka accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. Ezekiel encouraged him to learn to enjoy fellowship with God the Father through prayer and studying His Word. He also encouraged him to seek fellowship with other believers in his village. What could have been perceived as an unwanted interruption, a detour that was keeping them from their planned destination, was actually a divine intervention that ushered in another new believer.
Ezekiel and Alue, then resumed their journey and stopped to see Alue's parents who amazingly also accepted Jesus into their lives, and one of their neighbors as well. When they finally reached the location where the original objective would take place, Ezekiel was able to spend some time discipling Alue, asking him to read the Bible and then share his understanding of what he read. They also spent time praying together so Alue could learn how to pray. After hearing about baptism, Alue was excited to be baptized. Ezekiel says, "As we passed by streams of water even troubled ones, Alue would ask if it was good enough to baptize him. We eventually got some good water and baptized there." Ezekiel then appointed Alue to be leader/teacher and pastor of the people (his parents and the neighbor who had accepted Jesus). Ezekiel gave him the responsibility of teaching what he had learned and to baptize whoever accepted Jesus as their Savior. Before the end of their time together, Alue had an opportunity to share his newfound belief with a friend. The friend agreed to accept Christ, and Alue led him in a prayer to invite Jesus into his own life.
Before returning home, Ezekiel was able to circle back to the location where Abuka had accepted Christ. He was able to spend some more time encouraging Abuka and to obtain his contact information so that he could continue to disciple him.
Often when we encounter detours in our jobs, in our marriages, in our lives, we are frustrated because they delay our plans. But when we live in step with the Spirit, God uses us to accomplish His plans. Ezekiel had planned to train people in the principles of making disciples and multiplication, which he was still able to do, but God allowed him to actually make some disciples along the way.