In February I travelled to Bugger Hollow, North Carolina. Here’s why.
Jeff and Angie Sundell spent nine years in Nepal learning to mobilise ordinary people to make disciples and start new churches. They brought back what they learned to their hometown of Bugger Hollow, and God has done something wonderful there.
People are coming to faith in Jesus and new groups are springing up. Some of the groups meet in regular homes. One group met in a tattoo parlour, another in a trailer or caravan park, and another in a former drug house.
In the trailer park, we had the best worship time singing Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun. I met Steve who had been a long time crack cocaine dealer. He was saved two years ago because Andy, the ex-alcoholic, now pastor, went prayer walking and shared Jesus with him. Steve and his wife Dianne have brought many of their friends to the Lord and their friends have brought many of their friends to the Lord.
Over three hundred and fifty people are now meeting in seventy-three neighbourhood groups. This is something I needed to learn about first hand.
The one message I heard from each group was ‘lost people’ and reaching ‘lost people’. How will we reach them? Who are we praying for? Lost people are all around, but who is going to tell them about Jesus? Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of God. Who is going to show them how to follow? Jesus said go into all the world and make disciples. Every meeting we prayed for lost people by name and prayed God would lead us to more lost people.
I saw Jerry baptised in a horse trough. His face was so tired and troubled and he looked like he was struggling all the time. But the next week after his baptism he looked so different. His face had changed and he no longer looked drawn and tired, but had a newfound joy. His wife also looked free of worry and burdens.
Coming back I’m ready to apply the learning to our local ministry. Last Tuesday we restarted English Conversation Club. One couple from Shanghai had arrived in Australia just days before. Two new Bible study groups have started in homes and one couple has invited four friends! We spent two hours around their kitchen table last Sunday, looking at the story of Jesus and the woman who wept at his feet.
This trip changed me. I learnt – we have got to go and find lost people. Then, we have to be ready to share about God with them. Pray and then be bold. I have to know the message of salvation, and how to lead them to Jesus, and teach them to follow him.