When I was first called into ministry, I was led by the Spirit of God to minister to one keen pre-believer living in the most radical place in that particular country which is hostile to our faith. One afternoon, together with my mission partners, a local missionary who acted as my translator and this other brother who invited us, I explained the Scripture to him and his family. Later he believed in Christ our Lord.
Subsequent trips to this place allowed me to share the gospel to another cleric of this other faith who is a friend of these two brothers. He shared that I was not welcome as I was like one stirring up muddy waters. The translator did not translate to me as he was worried I would not be comfortable in sharing further. By the grace of God, this cleric eventually believed and he turned out to be very enthusiastic in sharing the gospel himself. In one further trip, he could come up with a gospel tract explaining why our Lord is the only way for salvation. We were pleasantly pleased.
Before long, there was already a big group who believed and were baptized. We decided to go once every 2 months to ground them in the Word of God. We also supported their desire to meet regularly by providing the snacks and coffee and travel allowance.
I usually prepared my teaching way in advance. But in this last trip, somehow I did not have a topic or anything to share right up to the day I was in the plane traveling there again for a 3 day conference with the leaders of this 105 member fellowship group. Usually they would travel to the nearest city near their villages. This time, I had a prompting from the Spirit of our Lord that I should stay in the capital and encouraged all to travel by train. It was quite a hassle to get all ten of them to travel to meet us instead of having just 2 of us to meet them as usual in the nearest city and also to get last minute hotel accommodation.
As I started the first day of the conference in the hotel, the Lord impressed upon me to share about persecution. I chose Luke 21 and Matt 24 to 25 as the text. In the afternoon, we had the workshop to discuss on how to prepare ourselves to meet persecution. I could not give any meaningful answer as I live in a country that is among the safest and allow religious freedom.
The conference was cut short as in the late afternoon, the translator received word that his brother had died in an accident and we could not continue any meaningful discussion or teaching without him.
We received word 2 days later that all of them were persecuted by a mob of a few hundred who razed their homes.
We could not contact anyone since, except the translator who had escaped to his extended family’s home in another city overseas.
I did not have any inkling of what was about to happen then but I obeyed the prompting of the Spirit of God despite the logistical hassle. I did so not because of fear, but because I believe in the guidance of the Holy Spirit as St Paul was often guided in such instances mentioned in the Book of Acts.
We thanked God for the warning. Firstly, we were protected from possible harm so that the conference could continue. It was so necessary as we discussed on persecution for the very first time. Secondly, the brothers got to learn that they should not be surprised to encounter persecution and that enhanced their faith to face it.