by Allison Schlack
|Mr. Livingstone said that church wasn’t really his thing.|
When Fred began talking to Mr. Livingstone by the gate that afternoon, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Our evangelism team, made up of young men sponsored by Ndoto, had gone to Mr. Livingstone’s house the previous week to pray for him and his family. While he seemed to appreciate the gesture, “church” really wasn’t his thing. Nonetheless, Fred had invited him to our next Sunday service. Our assumption had been that since Mr. Livingstone was a neighbor and an Ndoto parent, he knew all about us. We soon found we were mistaken.
Surprisingly, that next Sunday, Mr. Livingstone turned up at church. He came sober, which we appreciated, as we were used to seeing him drink daily at the illegal alcohol den on the other side of the Ndoto compound. He stood, hands in his pockets, eyes wide as a cautious observer, taking it all in. Then, he came back. And again. Pastor Michael and Fred soon began to chat with him after service. He shared that he had a terrible wound on his leg that wouldn’t heal. It had gotten so bad he could no longer wear shoes. Instead, he was reduced to wearing flip flops every day, which culturally is degrading for a man in his 50s. He shared that he had visited multiple doctors, hospitals, herbalists, and even witch-doctors, all to no avail. Nothing helped his leg.
|Fred (left) and Pastor Michael (right) are leaders of Ndoto Community Church.|
Week after week, Pastor Michael, Fred, and the evangelism team would share with him about life, faith, and God. Then they would pray for him. The more this went on, the more his attitude seemed to change. He relaxed more in the service and began to sing. He also announced that should the team see him sitting in the alcohol den, not to be alarmed. He had given up drinking. He was there to hang out with his friends. Months passed and Mr. Livingstone became a regular fixture in the church. He really had given up drinking, and he had started inviting his buddies to church.
One Sunday he confided that the first time he had ever set foot in any church was the Sunday that he visited ours. We were shocked to hear that he had never had anyone tell him about God. He also shared that in the past months, he had placed his faith in Christ and was now born again. He shared it with such confidence and peace that even Pastor Michael was amazed. As he continued, he showed Pastor Michael his leg. He was wearing shoes. He said God had heard their prayers, and his leg had been miraculously healed. He was thrilled and gave all the glory to God. In fact, he began to share the story with his buddies, proclaiming what God had done for him and inviting them to come and be a part of it.
Now, when you find Mr. Livingstone in church, you will see him raise his hands, close his eyes, and sing loudly. Mr. Livingstone prays passionately, and can testify that his life is one that has been changed. What is he usually praying about these days? That his buddies at the alcohol den would come and meet the Savior who healed and transformed him.