It’s a great joy to share with you a testimony regarding one of the pastors we’ve been working with. Especially since about 90% of the pastors I’ve met here seem to be completely compromised. As I’ve written before most of them are not serving Christ but instead are serving mammon and are just as much idolaters as the Hindu’s they claim they want to reach. Unfortunately this seems to be the case in so many places across the globe and truly is a sign indicating the times we live in. But nothing, including apostasy, will hinder the Lord from accomplishing His will, in His time, and in His saints. So it’s a great joy to share with you about Brother Ishmail and what the Lord is doing in him. Brother Ishmail has been my translator for about four months now. He’s a convert from Islam and has been shepherding a small fellowship of about 50 people in his home town. He comes to our village each Monday through Friday to translate for me and work together as we preach in surrounding villages and in house meetings. He’s become more than just a translator, he’s become a dear friend and is a brother in Christ. Not only have we been able to preach together but have been able to spend time just going through the scriptures on many different topics. I can remember the first time we went village preaching together. In part of my message I had preached on Acts 17 where Paul is speaking in Athens and speaks to the people about their Idolatry and how God doesn’t dwell in temples made by hands of men. Ishmail was very uncomfortable as I preached through those verse and later explained he didn’t feel we should directly speak against the Hindu’s idolatry or temple worship.  Not only that but when I had finished preaching he proceeded ask every one “who wants to receive Jesus? “ and then led them all in a sinners prayer. I almost reached over and took the mic out of his hand but it was too late. He had officially made everyone a “Christian” by one prayer. Needless to say this led us to discussing many different topics such as the nature of Salvation, what regeneration is and isn’t, what happens when someone has true saving faith, as well as what topics to preach to those who don’t know Christ. Through our time together the Lord really helped Ishmail receive light on so many different topics. Brother Ishmail has grown in his understanding of the Gospel as well as understanding the need to present the “full counsel of God“.
About a week ago I asked brother Ishmail what he preached in his local fellowship for the previous Sunday. His wife was with him and they just kinda looked at each other then told me he is no longer part of that fellowship. This was a surprise for me to hear. He said lately he’s been preaching on topics he usually doesn’t preach on. He’s been preaching on God’s attributes and character, talking about God’s Holiness, His Righteousness, preaching about the Judgment seat of Christ, eternal judgment, sin and repentance, in other words - topics you don’t normally hear preached on in most churches today. The elders of the church came together and said they, as well as the congregation, didn’t like the topics he was preaching on and wanted him to only preach on the love of God, the mercy of God, and the blessings of God. They only wanted to hear preaching on the scriptures that comforted their flesh (though theses also are topics that need to be preached on). Brother Ishmail said he would continue to preach on all the scriptures as that is what he is called to do. The elders didn’t like his answer and decided to kick him out of the church! Brother Ishmail had been a pastor there for a few years. He now knows he was mainly pastoring GOATS and not SHEEP.
Even before he was kicked out of the church Ishmail and his wife had been discipling three ladies who are converts from Islam. They now have a small home fellowship with these ladies and are nurturing them as new born babes in Christ. They meet during the week because the wives husbands have forbidden them to follow Jesus. Since their husbands are home on Sundays it makes it impossible for them to meet on Sundays. In fact, one of the ladies husbands found out recently that she was meeting with Ishmail and his wife. He beat his wife until she was blue in the face and threatened her with divorce. The wonderful thing is this new born believer remained faithful to Jesus and would not stop following Jesus due to the persecution by her husband. And though at this point the number of those in Ishmail’s home fellowship is less than those he was pastoring in the church, he knows he’s discipling true Sheep that belong to Jesus Christ. He believes the Lord has now called him to work specifically among the unreached Muslims and Hindu’s in his home town.
The greatest part of all of this is to see Brother Ishmail’s faith in God during this trying and transitional time in his life. When he was kicked out of the church he lost all income he was receiving from them. Now that I’m leaving he’s also losing the money I was giving him for all the time he was spending with me helping with translation. The denomination he is part of (AOG) is going to give him 500 rupees a month, about $10, for a couple years as he starts this new work. (Though he’s part of AOG their fellowships are all pretty independent). Ten dollars is hardly enough for Ishmail, his wife, and his two son’s to live on. However even with this, he realizes all that has happened to him is the will of God and believes the Lord will take care of his needs as he remains faithful to living and preaching the truth. It’s so encouraging to see a Pastor serve Christ instead of money! (Update: since I started writing this a couple days ago the Lord has provided for Ishmails financial needs to be covered for the next six months! God is faithful!)
I wanted to take time to share this for a couple reasons. One, to give glory to God for what He’s doing in our brother. And two, that you yourself would be encouraged to trust the Lord in all things and know that God will provide for you as you faithfully obey His word. Like Ishmail, when you decide to not compromise you could lose your job, your friends, your family, your reputation, you might be misunderstood by others..ect but you’ll gain Jesus Christ!
I pray you will follow our brothers example in following the Lord. That you will seek a life with no compromise no matter how great the cost may be for you and your loved ones. Know that as you do Christ will never leave you nor forsake you and will always be faithful to His word!
Please keep brother Ishmail and his family in prayer.
IN Christ,
Sean & Lisa Scott
 

 


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