God’s love cannot be confined by distance or time—as told through this remarkable story, shared by Barrie McBride:
Francis Jones grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, USA, and from an early age learned to rough it among the animals—often sleeping in a drafty barn with just a hay bale as his pillow. He assumed that his destiny was to be a farmer.
But at the age of 18, Francis’ heart was captivated by God. In 1952, he left the farm to go to Bible College, and became a missionary in Kenya. Francis especially loved travelling into the bush to share the good news of God with the Maasai people—famous for their striking dress and their commitment to maintaining their indigenous culture.
One day, Francis travelled into the bush in Kenya’s Narok district to teach a Maasai discipleship class. About 70 people attended the three day-long sessions. They sat under the shade of an old African thorn tree, some squatting in Maasai fashion the entire time. For hours, Francis opened God’s Word and taught about Jesus.
As he taught, Francis noticed something peculiar. Off to the side, in the shadows of another tree, stood a Maasai elder listening intently to all Francis had said. Later, the missionary would learn that the man was more than 100 years old.
Though not part of the class, the old man took in every word. He came all three days. As Francis concluded his teaching on that fi nal afternoon, the old man came towards him.
‘Perhaps you wonder why I’ve stood by the tree listening to you for three days,’ the old man said. ‘Many years ago, when I was very young, I had a dream. A white man came from a great distance and brought me truth about how to know God.’
The old man carefully studied Francis’ features and added, ‘Your face is the face I saw in my dream.’
That hot African afternoon, the elderly Maasai accepted Christ as his Saviour. There was no mistaking his joy. He lived for another nine years before going to be with the Lord.
When Francis was sleeping among those cows in the drafty Wisconsin barn, he could never have imaged that someone in Africa had already seen him in a dream, three decades earlier. In fact, Francis would not have even been born, when the old warrior saw his adult face in the dream.
We are in the midst of our Self Denial Appeal, where we have the opportunity to partner with God in the remarkable things he is doing in other parts of our world. We need only be faithful to the part God calls us to play, because God is more than willing to make miracles happen.
The story of the Maasai warrior is not apocryphal, it is told in the book Intercessory Worship, by Dick Eastman—Francis was the author’s relative. Eastman writes: ‘All Francis had to do to fulfill his divine destiny was to step into this river of God’s delight and go with the flow’.
The Self Denial Appeal is an opportunity to step into this river. We may never know what God does with our off ering, but we know that God will move time and space to make his love known. We can be part of this great miracle.
by Ingrid Barratt (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 11 August 2018, p3 - You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.