|A not so great picture of the Bible study taken at Prima a few weeks ago|
I was not surprised that no other ladies were ready or even in view since Pastor Gideon and Aline had not been there to remind them about the Bible study. I had made the announcement on Sunday about the ladies' Bible study, but no one lives by a calendar or a clock here. It was nice to sit and chat with Aline while we waited. The congregation has built a small shelter in an area of the village that has been designated for the future church building. It is basically some posts that support a framework that has some sheets of corrugated tin resting on it. They have constructed some low benches using some large bamboo and planks of wood. Aline and I chose the more comfortable woven mats on the ground. As we were sitting and chatting together, a large German shepherd type dog named Blackie came and nestled up next to me, wanting me to pet him. I was told that he is always quite aggressive toward strangers, which made me wonder what to expect. He wanted to be as close to me as possible even putting his large head in my lap! I am not generally afraid of dogs, but do have a healthy respect for them especially if they do not know me. Pastor Gideon was able to coax him away and we decided to start our study with the few children that had gathered.
As we sang some songs, two young teenage girls joined us. Then, just as we started reading the scripture for our Bible study, a couple mothers and their small children arrived. I have been going through a study book that looks at the lives of 13 different women in the Bible. Today, we were looking at Priscilla from Acts 18. A man from Australia came several weeks ago to Prima, showed the Jesus Film, and then handed out several cartons of Bislama Bibles to anyone who wanted them. We are very thankful for this man whoever he is! As a result of his generosity, many of the people who came this afternoon had their Bibles, but only two ladies could read! (Please join us in praying about this problem.) While Mary was reading a portion of our text, her little child Alfin decided to wail very loudly. About that same time, Blackie decided to return and cozy up next to me again. Aline tried to lure him away and I began to hear some of the women whispering, "Satan." It sure seemed like Satan was doing his best to distract and disturb our study, so we stopped and prayed for God to put a "fence" of his peace around us so that we could learn from his Word! Even though there were still some children playing and wandering in and out of the shelter, after we prayed, we all sensed that God had brought his peace.
Two more dogs came to check me out before I was finished with our lesson and prayer time. They didn't linger, but it made me wonder what made me so attractive to them! The red ink mark on my right arm came during the prayer time. The ladies all shared their prayer requests, and as I was making note of them in my little notepad I noticed that a little guy seated next to me was decorating his body with a red ink pen. It surprised me a little that while I was praying, his ink pen wandered over to my arm! Apparently, someone else noticed as I heard a quiet gasp! What a privilege to be able to share the love of Jesus and God's Word with this group of mothers, young girls, children and pets!
After we were all finished and ready to leave, one of the mothers named Eka, asked me if I remembered the young mother that we had prayed for about a month ago. Her husband had left her, so we prayed for their relationship to be healed. Eka proudly reported to me that God had answered our prayer and this young mother was with her husband again. Then, who should come up but this very lady! She was beaming and smiling so big! God is doing some incredible things at Prima! Please join us in praying for Pastor Gideon and Aline and this growing congregation that the light of Christ will shine brightly in Prima.
It was funny that when I got home and was relating the afternoon's events to David, he commented on the fact that I smelled a bit like a dog.