Thursday, 9 October 2008
The Lazarus story
My Yorkshire friend John Waller ran a bible college in Ghana for ten years and had some amazing experiences during that time. One of them was the story about a church plant in a little village where there was no electricty. He took a small generator along and showed the Jesus Film in an open space in the market.
Before he went he prayed and told the Lord, 'we need a Lazarus or something similar to start the interest in the church in that village!'
At the conclusion of the movie he gave an altar call and many people gave their lives to the Lord. One of them was the town drunk. Everybody knew him. When he came forward the people were astonished.
His name was Lazarus!
John took one of his young associates with him on the missiona and asked him to remain behind to establish the church. When he asked the crowd who had space for the young man in their home, Lazarus was the first to offer his place. It turned out to be a shack and the boy had to sleep on the ground, just like Lazarus.
But the young man was willing to rough it in order to establish the work.
Many times God chooses the most unlikely person to get a job done. He uses the foolish things, the despised and rejected ones so that no man can boast about anything in His presence!
John and his wife Trish spent ten years of their lives in Ghana and could write a book about all they had experienced. When I encouraged him about writing the book, he remarked, 'what about all the unsung heroes in Ghana that have far greater stories to tell?'
John came close to death on two or three occasions due to Malaria attacks and a brain tumour. He has recovered but his body has suffered severely. But he is full of praise to the Lord for the opportunity for adventure that they had in Ghana.
Today he is pastoring an Elim church in Barking, London. With his typical Yorkshire humour he said, 'I've been to Toronto blessing and now I'm barking!' We shared a good laugh together.
He used to be a rugged truck driver before he got saved and became a preacher. Its a hard life, but he loved it. Trish has stood by his side all these years and her dedication and discipline has been the back bone of their ministry over the years.
The genuineness of their faith and friendship has been a pillar of strength to Nola and me over the years and we honour them as a man and woman of God who remained faithful in spite of untold hardships and even when facing dangers for the Gospel's sake.
The Pentecostal Church in Ghana invited him back for the inauguration of their new president recently and he enjoyed going over the old familiar hunting ground that he knew so well.
There are many more stories I can tell about John and Trish, but today I just wanted to tell the Lazarus story! I can say, 'It is written!' now!