Julie Martin calls herself a “realist.” She admits it is easy for her to focus on the negatives instead of celebrating the positives. Sometimes when she looks at the Akolet church, she tends to look more at the considerable challenges and at the growth that still needs to happen.
“But when I really look,” Julie writes, “what do I see? I see a lot of good things and feel the need to share them with you!”
“I see Dina dancing,” Julie begins. After the lesson last week from Ephesians 1, this precious older woman got up and danced for joy, a “slow shuffling sort of dance.”
There was no music and no one else was dancing. The believers around her laughed.
But Dina responded, “My insides are happy! So happy! I’m thinking about the lesson … about Christ one day ruling and we will rule with Him … and everything will be so wonderful. So I just had to dance.”
Then there was Skola who came somberly to Julie a few weeks back with a “problem.” Julie’s mind sorted through the possibilities—would this be a request for money or medicine or food?
But Skola’s problem involved her father-in-law who was ready to die soon. In spite of sharing the gospel with him, his heart had remained hard and this was of great concern to Skola. And besides her concern for Watingo’s soul, since she had cared for him for years the family wanted to reimburse her financially. Skola was having a hard time convincing the family that she just wanted to help and did not want any money.
Skola had come to Julie to share her need for prayer and godly counsel.
Besides a wonderful growth in joy and compassion, Julie sees other progress in the Akolet church.
They are reaching out to others in compassionate ministry. Believing husbands are disregarding tribal customs and are humbling themselves to help and serve their wives. Believers are overcoming the fear of what others think; they are growing to live active discipleship lifestyles.
So this is what Julie sees when she looks intently at the Akolet church. She sees God at work transforming lives and a culture, bringing hope and joy and love where once there was only hopeless fear.
“I could go on and on,” Julie writes, “but you get the idea. We serve a very mighty God and He is at work in the hearts and lives of Akolet believers!”