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The World is Waiting

Jesus’ healing power comes through His Word

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Visitation, home repair, day camps, backyard Bible clubs, Bible quizzing and special events. These ministries are embedded within the hearts of the staff members at Acts 29 Fellowship in Hamtramck, Michigan, in the heart of Detroit. The Lord has been moving through a year of transition and increased fruitfulness.

Many immigrants move to Hamtramck with little to no understanding of English, so learning the language is critical as they seek work or to further their education. One of the most transformational ministries has been the men’s ESL program, which meets a critical need in the community while opening avenues for relationships and cross-cultural gospel witness.

Most of the 30 to 40 adult men who attend class every week are Bengali, because Acts 29 is located on the north end of Hamtramck, where many of these immigrants live. Some have just arrived in the United States, while others have lived here for 20 years. All practice Islam or Hinduism. As trusting relationships grow between teachers and students, there are numerous opportunities to share Christ.

My teaching partner and I passionately pursue the Lord’s wisdom in how to do basic cross-cultural outreach. Drawing from Matthew 9 and 10 and Luke 9 and 10, among other passages, we obeyed Jesus’ instructions for ministry when He sent His disciples out two by two to announce the good news of the Kingdom. This led to a bolder, more direct and more involved witness, and soon we began to follow the Early Church’s example in Acts 5:42: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

Using ESL as a base, we began proclaiming Jesus in public forums and daily entering the homes of internationals to give them the message of the good news.

‘All the Power’

I disclose to each student who enrolls that the ESL program is run by Christian workers who offer the service free of charge because of the example of Christ; thus, discussion about God, Jesus, Christianity and the Bible would naturally come up in class. Very few students are offended by this approach. The atmosphere of friendship and the discussion-based format allows honesty and disagreement, while the cultural structures of hospitality and manners create mutual kindness.

In the advanced men’s ESL class, the students read the (chapter 2). One of the most orthodox students, Aban*, who once was vocally resistant to Christianity, loved both stories. Jesus’ attacks on hypocrisy and the importance of truth in the heart resonated with him, even though Jesus touched an unclean man and forgave sins, which contradict the laws of Aban’s religion.

As they read through Mark 2 and 3, fruitful discussions arose. The students were amazed that Jesus healed so many people and that massive crowds followed Him as a result. They talked about how healing and miracles showed God’s love and how those people must have felt. I told them that Jesus is still alive and active, something their religion does not dispute. Then the class talked about the religious leaders’ accusation that Jesus worked by the power of Satan and Jesus’ response about binding the strong man.

“What does this mean?” I asked.

Aban spoke up. “Jesus has all power!”

In Jesus’ Name

As we developed relationships and proclaimed the good news of God’s love, staff members began to seek ways to allow God to show His love and power by answering prayer and healing the sick. Zain*, a Hindu student, suffered from a back problem that cut off circulation to his leg, causing him to walk with a pronounced limp. Simple tasks like driving became painful, and sitting for long periods caused discomfort.

My teaching partner and I visited him in his home and explained that Jesus, who took our sickness and disease on the cross, not only had the power to heal but also gave His followers authority to heal in His name (Matt. 10:1–8, Mark 3:15, Mark 6:13, Luke 9:1–2, Luke 10:9,19 and Mark 16:18). With Zain’s permission, we laid hands on him and said a simple prayer that took about 10 seconds. He was instantly healed. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t just trying to be polite to his guests, but Zain sat down Indian style, and when he got up, his limp was gone. “If the pain comes back, come over to my house and say ‘Jesus’ name’ again,” he said. Two days later he exclaimed to us publically, “When you touched me, I got better!”

Hindus believe in many incarnations of God. Zain believes that Jesus is a powerful incarnation of God who gives power to his followers. He does not yet believe that Jesus is the exclusive incarnation of God and currently says “Jesus Krishna” instead of Jesus Christ (this is his way of attributing deity to Jesus within Hinduism). We continue to witness to Zain and have become an important part of his life. Pray that he would come to a full revelation of Jesus Christ as his exclusive Lord and Savior and that he would forsake the Hindu temple and false gods.

An Issue of Blood

Daya*, another Hindu student and a temple leader, asked me to pray for his wife, who had been bleeding for five weeks. I immediately prayed and felt confident that God had answered. The following day Daya reported that his wife had gotten a bit better, but he was still worried. They were awaiting test results to see if the problem was from cancer or disease. The Acts 29 staff continued to pray.

The following week, the tests came back negative, but the bleeding persisted. At the end of the week, Daya came to me very concerned. “Please pray for my wife. I know you get up very early to pray and that God will hear you.”

“Well, I do get up early to pray,” I answered. “But I believe God will heal your wife because Jesus loves you.”

At the beginning of the next week we visited Daya’s home ready to pray for his wife but hopeful that God had already healed her. When we arrived Daya happily exclaimed, “She’s all better! God listened!” We testified that God always hears our prayers because we pray in Jesus’ name. Then we read the story of the woman with the issue of blood to him (Mark 5:21ff). “Can I keep this?”Daya asked, referring to the Scripture.

As the conversation continued, a more miraculous story unfolded. The Lord had led another Christian to publically pray for Daya’s wife when she went into the hospital for tests, which added to the clear message that God was confirming again and again His power to heal specifically in the name of Jesus Christ.

Daya now regularly takes prayer requests to the staff members and believes they are godly people. His interest in the gospel and in Jesus resonates with the poignancy of a family touched by Christ. Much like Zain, Daya is on a journey into a relationship with God and His Word and into a discovery of Jesus outside of the Hindu worldview.

The last six months of ministry to internationals has revealed that the whole world is waiting to hear about Jesus. They are hungry for the Word of God. They want to hear that they mean something to God, that they’re loved by God and that He is willing to enter their lives.

God has commissioned His Church to tell the world that God is searching for His creation, which bears His likeness. He made people in the image of love. He made them with value. He made them with purpose. He has provided a way out of bondage, oppression and sin. He has made a way into the Kingdom of God, where sinners become saints, crowned as kings and anointed as priests. This is good news to all who believe.

*Name changed

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