What a powerful story about one man's love for his Lord and an urgent desire to help others avoid hell and find eternal life and heaven. Consider this amazing account of Bakari from Doug Weaver who serves with IMB as executive vice president of the East Africa Bible Institute. May we be found as faithful.
Bakari was born and grew up in a Muslim tribe near the Indian Ocean in Southern Kenya. On a Wednesday night last March, Bakari was persuaded to attend a Baptist church. Bakari was only willing to go to a church because of personal illness, and he was desperate for help. That evening, at forty-two years old, Bakari found Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord cost Bakari everything. His wife immediately divorced him, the family disowned him, and his job was taken from him. But he had found Jesus, and Bakari never looked back. He immediately and enthusiastically began to be discipled by Ushindi Baptist Church. He loved being at church, and Bakari gladly participated in FAITH training, not even sure what it was except that it was all about his Lord Jesus Christ.
That first day of FAITH training is when I met Bakari. After the training he knew clearly what FAITH was, and Bakari tried to present me with a gift. I told him it wasn't necessary — Bakari responded, "But you have taught me how to share Jesus." This man had been clearly changed again by Christ. This time it was Jesus' words, "You shall be My witness." I was truly moved at the time by Bakari, but it was only the first day of the FAITH training, and I thought nothing further of it as I headed to my hotel.
The very next day before the FAITH sessions began, Bakari presented me with sixteen pieces of paper. I thought, "Is this his gift to me?" I had no idea that what I was holding represented eternity sixteen times! Bakari had taken the FAITH outline he was provided the day before, and after only one day's training, he had gone home to his village and led sixteen Muslims to Christ, including his sister. The pieces of paper were the follow-up sheets he had taken with him from his church. With tears I copied the names into my journal off the pieces of paper.
I later learned that the Ushindi Baptist church staff had received additional "gifts" from Bakari each day. By the end of the FAITH training, Bakari had led sixty-one Muslims to Christ. The entire church was aware that a miracle had been taking place over and over all week. Bakari didn't seem to notice all the buzz over him, he was consumed getting a lost world to notice his Jesus.
Rev. Joseph Maisha, president of the Kenya Baptist Convention (and pastor to Bakari), reports the conversions are ongoing as Bakari continues to witness without personal regard for his safety. Bakari is also trying to establish a carpentry business now.
Just a note in closing — we found out that recently Bakari's house was burned down because of his witness.
That's what it is about: Do all you can, with what you have, right where you are, regardless of the cost, NOW! The "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism encourages us to witness, win and baptize one million — beginning at the 2005 Nashville Convention. Please begin now and pray — pray — pray.
Praise the Lord we are not under this type of hardship to share our faith with a lost and dying world. The time is now. We must be about our Father's business ... winning souls!
Bobby Welch is president of the Southern Baptist Convention, pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.