Mar14ThuMarch 14, 2019
For anyone that knows me or has heard me speak, they know that I share a lot of stories. As I have travelled and collected these stories, I have always carried a camera. Telling the story verbally is great, but there is truth to the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Today, I was going through some of my pictures. It’s always a fun trip down memory lane, but there was more to it today. I was reminded that God is always working out his plan, and often in ways we could never anticipate.
As I was looking at pictures, I saw pictures of Romain Zannou (a local pastor in West Africa) and the President of a small country in West Africa, of Kitty Anna Griffiths, of the Prime Minister of Swaziland, and of a gentleman with a great passion to ensure that Muslims who accept Christ are systematically discipled in their new-found faith. These names and meetings may mean nothing to you, but, looking back, I can see how the Lord used those meetings for his purposes, even though I could never have predicted where it would lead at the time.
As I looked at these pictures, I realized that meeting these people wasn’t by chance; these meetings were arranged by God in his perfect time for the building of his kingdom. Let me give you the full stories.
Romain Zannou arranged for TWR to meet with the President of a small country in West Africa. The outcome of that meeting was that he arranged for TWR to build a transmitter site in West Africa. And it continues, as today we are installing a second transmitter on that site. This one will reach into the heart of Nigeria, which has seen every evil under the sun for the last ten years. This part of Nigeria practices the strictest form of Islam in the world. In spite of this, we received over 17,000 responses to our limited broadcast in 2018. With a stronger transmitter and more programs, we anticipate a substantial increase in responses and lives saved in the years to come. As I look back, I realize one phone call opened the door to reach into the hearts of tens of thousands of people in countries that do not recognize Christ as the risen Saviour and may never have heard otherwise.
Kitty Anna Griffiths was a pastor’s wife. Her husband was a pastor in Great Britain when he received the call to go to South Africa. He took that call and moved to Johannesburg. When Kitty arrived in South Africa, she almost immediately started reaching out to the local people. For the most part, these locals had little or no education. Kitty realized that if she was going to reach them, her methodology to reach them would need to take that into consideration. She decided that she would do it through story telling. Over time, Kitty developed more than 200 stories to take these ladies through the Bible. Eventually the Griffiths left South Africa and moved to Canada where "Mrs. G" created a radio program for children based on those stories. For the next forty years, those programs were aired in English around the world over TWR transmitters.
In 2014, I visited the Griffiths to give them a plaque to honour their 40-year involvement with TWR. After giving them the plaque, I asked them why they hadn’t ever translated and aired the stories in other languages. To make a long story short, that conversation resulted in production in six new languages! One of those languages is Swahili in Kenya, where Bible Stories Alive (the Swahili version of A Visit with Mrs. G ) is being aired. We have children that are now participating in the recording of the programs, and one girl comes from a Muslim background. Her parents have given their blessing for her to be there as they can see how this programming is not just impacting their daughter but a whole community. This is another example of how the Lord’s hand was working out the details to spread the gospel long before we could see the full impact.
The story with the Prime Minister of Swaziland and the King of Swaziland is a much shorter story. My meeting with them allowed us to go from having two transmitters in Swaziland to a network that covers the majority of the country. Today this is the second most listened to station in the country. We receive thousands of listener responses every month showing that God is using these transmitters to proclaim the gospel and change lives; the impact will only be fully known when we get to heaven.
On another occasion, I called a TWR donor to thank him for a generous gift. During the call, I asked if we could have lunch together. I never expected anything more than a good lunch out of that meeting. However, the Lord had something more planned … much more. During the course of that lunch, we got talking. That man needed help with a project, and he asked me if we could help him. The outcome of that meeting was the launching of Discipleship Essentials, which has become one of the cornerstones of our ministry. Today we know that over 7,000 home groups are being discipled using this library of resources!
Divine appointments orchestrated by God changed a young man’s life forever, allowed the installation of transmitters that have brought the gospel to villages in Africa and birthed a ministry that is empowering the local church to systematically disciple new believers. It is truly awe-inspiring to realize how the Lord works … and how he allows us to be part of his work.
What is the lesson I have learned from these divine appointments in time? I’ve learned once again that God is in control and has a plan far larger than we can see or anticipate. None of these divine appointments were orchestrated by me; God was simply putting everything in place in his time.
I’m sure you have had similar divine appointments in your life. We’d love to hear and be encouraged by how the Lord is also using seemingly insignificant meetings to further his Kingdom both here in Canada and across the globe. Send us a message and let us know where you’ve seen God’s hand at work.