One of the joys of being a Christian is knowing that you’re always a player in this immense divine drama. Behind the scenes God is orchestrating this incredible production that began at the dawn of time. For some Christians this really isn’t a bonus…it’s scary. I think it’s a blast (usually).
Today was one of those days. I got a visit from my friend who lives in a neighboring state. He comes to town from time to time and when he does, he stops by. Some of you may remember that he’s the man that picked up a Bible from the Book Fair/Bibleseeding Team here last September. This is the fourth time we’ve met and each time I learn something new.
Today he again wanted to talk about Christianity and the original faith of the Albanian people. Okay, originally the Illyrians (the Albanian’s ancestors) were pagans, but the Apostle Paul evidently brought the Gospel to the Illyrians in the middle of the first century (according to Romans 15.19). As we talked about church history we read that passage together. He knew that the Albanians had been “Christians” before the Turks brought Islam to Kosova. For people in this part of the world, “Christian” means Catholic or Orthodox. He didn’t know, however, that there had been believers among the Albanians (Illyrians) nearly since the dawn of the church. As we continued to talk he asked me an unusual question. Are you going to build a church in _____ (his city). We talked about that for a while…how could it happen, what would the time frame look like.
I still don’t know my friends last name—he won’t tell me. That’s fine with me, but the reason he won’t tell me is because of his fear of his community and the government there. After we talked some more he said something that surprised me. He said he still wouldn’t tell me his last name, but if we built a church in his city he would tell me and he would come. He also said that there are large numbers of hidden Catholics in his city and that they would come too.
He said, right now it is too dangerous to openly be a Christian. But if you (Americans) will come and build a church then we will know that we will be safe and that we can come. I think many people will come.
I don’t know what all this means. Here is a man from another city in another country who wants us to build a church in his city. I’m not exactly sure if he’s come to the point where he has surrendered his life to Christ or not (and we talked about it J ), but I wonder, “God? What are you doing? What are you telling us?” God is playing out the drama and we are players as he does so. He is moving in people’s hearts and calling people back to himself, even if they don’t’ quite realize what they’re asking for. It’s a good time to be a Christian!