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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

One Woman's Witness

By Bryan Webb
Nov. 3, 2013

For four long hours, Esther had crawled over the hot African sand. Her hands and knees were sore, and she eagerly anticipated the end of her journey.

Making her way through a garden of tapioca, she sees a ring of sugar cane and banana trees surrounding a small cluster of huts known in Mozambique as a compound. In each hut, the glow of lantern light peeks through the gaps where the thatched roof meets the mud walls. Toward the back of the compound, in a small kitchen hut, orange streaks of light from a fire reveal a woman bending over a boiling pot.

As Esther approaches the compound, her heart freezes as she spies an enormous black snake slithering in front of her. In a land filled with black mambas, cobras and puff adders, deadly snakebites are a terrifying reality of daily life. But for Esther, fleeing is not an option.

Born disabled, Esther gets from place to place by dragging herself on her hands and knees. Any snake would most likely bite her face or hand. She knows she cannot escape the risk, but she will not give up on her journey. Trembling, she rebukes the snake in the name of Jesus and crawls forward, determined to share the good news in the compound.

Near the end of Mozambique’s civil war, Esther traveled to Maputo for medical treatment. While doctors could not help her physically, she found spiritual healing at an AG church. She remained in Maputo for four years before going back to her home in Zavala. Upon her return, she began preaching from house to house. Soon the beginning of a new church was in place.

Pastors in Mozambique say this pattern of church planting is typical. An individual in need finds deliverance at an AG church, accepts Christ, is discipled, and returns home to start a church. Church growth is a product of ordinary believers whose lives have been transformed.

During the four-hour drive to meet Esther, I learn that in the church she planted, 23 new believers had been baptized during the previous three weeks, and the area chief had accepted Christ.

As we near Esther’s home, missionary Lance Hines points out where a new church will be built. Local believers will lay the foundation and build the walls. Churches in America will provide funds for the roof. Plans are also underway to drill a well near the church to provide clean water for the surrounding community. Currently, villagers must trek half a mile to dip water from a shallow well that is little more than a mud puddle at the edge of a swamp.

Esther is sitting on a grass mat in front of her hut when we arrive. She greets us with a warm smile, her eyes sparkling with life. Her voice has a musical quality as she speaks a language I do not understand. She smiles as she tells of crawling past the snake and seeing a family come to faith in Christ. Today that family is the core of yet another church. 

During our visit, I note the thick calluses on Esther’s knuckles and knees, the product of hardship beyond anything I have known. Romans 10:15 immediately comes to my mind: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace” (KJV).

Many people would look at Esther and see only her disability. But our Savior sees past her battered and scarred knuckles. When He looks at Esther, He sees the beautiful hands and feet of His beloved child.

BRYAN WEBB is a missionary to Vanuatu who travels occasionally on behalf of AGWM Communications.

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