Today I’m sharing an encouraging story sent to me by a long-time friend who’s part of the ministry team at Jesus Film. Take the time to read it. You’ll start the day with a much-needed smile seeing Gods amazing grace and mercy.
Madagascar is an enormous island nation located off the coast of East Africa. Thousands of small villages dot the countryside, connected by foot trails, rugged roads and rivers.
In one of these villages lived a powerful witchdoctor, known as the “river priest.” His name was Sidy. He would not allow any Christians to enter the area. And he repeatedly warned his people: “The river god forbids you from eating fish in the river, else you will die.”
Sidy became quite sick and for four months was unable to heal himself. He spent his days in extreme pain, constantly vomiting and unable to stand.
That’s when Pastor Bruno*, a dedicated servant of Christ and part of a Madagascar film team arrived. Without asking permission, he set up to show “JESUS” in one of the villages. Sidy heard about it but was too sick to oppose, much less come and watch.
Pastor Bruno felt led to show “JESUS” a second night. This time Sidy was able to come. As often happens, the life of Christ deeply touched many hearts, including his.
Sidy was stunned, saying, “I never thought that one would give his life for another. I saw that Jesus loves me.” Pastor Bruno prayed, standing against Satan and the evil spirit. God healed the witchdoctor!
Next, and before all his people, Sidy announced, “From now on, I will follow Jesus. I have been leading you in the wrong way. It is from Satan. Jesus is the true God.” But some of the people couldn’t believe what they were hearing. How could this authoritative witchdoctor, whom they had long feared, be so radically changed?
Sidy then took a bold step. He went down to the river, caught a fish and ate it publicly. The people protested loudly. “How can you do this?! You’ve told us this is forbidden. You will die!” But nothing happened. To them it was overwhelming. Sidy declared: “I have eaten the fish to show you that Jesus is the true God of the river. He healed and saved me.” He then shared the gospel with them and urged them to also eat fish from the river, assuring them, “You will not die.”
The bravest rushed to the water, caught fish and ate as well, without harm. Pastor Bruno also showed them the “JESUS” film. And many believed.
Because he was so respected, Sidy became the pastor of a new church with 20 members and changed his name to Paul.
Pastor Bruno took “Paul” under his wing, teaching him how to read—using the Bible—so he could share the Scriptures and his testimony. Bruno also followed up those new believers, discipled and taught them in their new faith. The new church, the first in the area, has since grown from 20 members to about 75!
And that’s the memo.