I have a ton of stuff I should be doing right now. We have a team arriving on Monday at 3:30am. Yep, I said a.m. We’re used to that flight though, so it’s not a big deal. Blogging is usually something I reserve for when I have some extra time. There’s always something to write about it, but I don’t always make the time to write about it.
Today I’m making the time. Because I just had the most amazing conversation with Tobi and I’m desperate to get it ‘in print’ before I forget it. My to do list can wait.
We came home this morning from the closing service of our 4th discipleship school module this year. Tobi was with us there. We decided to do musical beds and arrange our guest rooms to better accommodate the units of guests that are coming. Tobi helped with that then shouted out – Mom, I’m going to ride my bike’. To be honest, I didn’t think about him until he was back about an hour later. He came into my room and said, “Hi Mom”. I just love hearing that. I asked what he’d been doing (remember, I forgot he was riding his bike). That’s all the encouragement he needed – He sat down and started talking. I was busy doing something but realized that this was a rare ‘chatty moment’ that I needed to take advantage of. He had my undivided attention.
Tobi: I was riding my bike and I made a new friend. His name is Habibu.
Me: Really? Where?
Tobi: Down by the main road.
Me: A kid?
Tobi: No, a grown man.
Me: What language were you speaking?
Tobi: Well, first we used English, then French, then I asked if he spoke Hausa and he did, so that’s how we talked.
At this point, I could tell Tobi still wanted to talk about the conversation, but needed a bit of prompting.
Me: What did you all talk about?
Tobi: I asked him if he goes to church.
Me: What did he say?
Tobi: He said he doesn’t go to church. I asked him if he knew Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I told him that Jesus is going to come back and take the Christians to heaven with him.
Me: What did he say?
Tobi: I couldn’t believe what he said. He said that he believes that Jesus will come, but when he gets here on the earth, he’ll become a Muslim and will get married. Can you believe he thinks that? How can he think that?!
Me: Because that’s what he’s been taught. You should invite him to church.
Tobi: Oh, I did. I told him where our 2 churches are. I also told about Pastor Nelson’s church. He asked if he could come with us sometime. I told him I’d come and visit him again tomorrow. Is that OK?
From there we began talking about how his conversation with Habibu was seeds planted, and now we needed to pray for him so that those seeds grow. He then told me that it wasn’t just Habibu – that there was a whole group of men there in on the conversation. I don’t know if you can picture this, but it would look something like this: A group of African men sitting under a tree. Some maybe on a bench, some on the ground. It’s 100+ degrees. Life is going on around them. Taxis, donkey carts, children playing, women cooking/selling their fried bean cakes, maybe a camel or two go by. Possibly a herd of cattle. They’ll be chatting about various things, probably news and politics. A white boy rides by on his bike. One of them greets Tobi. Tobi stops and starts talking with them. The men are loving that this white kid speaks Hausa so they are likely trying to engage him in conversation as much as they can, just to hear him. He is proving to be entertaining. I’m sure they had no idea what he was going to start talking about! Nor did they have any idea that it was God that arranged that meeting today!
Anyway, Tobi and I began talking about how important it was to be following the leading of the Holy Spirit. I reminded him about what Grampa talked about that morning at the school – in his class on the Holy Spirit he talked about all the names (jobs) the Holy Spirit has and how He leads us. I told him that I believed that he was listening to the Holy Spirit when he witnessed to these guys. Which then led to a discussion about hearing from God. He asked me if God sounds different to different people. I said I thought so. But often it’s just a thought that we have -and we know it’s not our own thought – but something that God gave us.
Tobi: Yeah, that’s how God talks to me.
Me: What has God said to you lately.
Tobi: Well, the other day he told me to tell Ezy to look in his desk for his lost spelling book. He had already looked there but I know God told me to tell him to look there again. He did, and there it was.
Me: Did you tell Ezy that?
Tobi: Well, I told him after he found it that God told me to tell him to look there.
Me: What did Ezy say?
Tobi: He just said, “Ahhhhh”.
This then led to a discussion about what God looks like…
Tobi: What does God look like to you?
Me: Hmmm. (hesitation here, because I’m not really sure what I think God looks like) I’m not sure.
Tobi: What??!?! You don’t think about it?! Well, I kind of see God as a big shiny bird. He has wings. He doesn’t have a beak though. He just glitters and has shiny eyes and He’s as big as the world.
At this point I’m working really hard at not laughing, while at the same time wondering where in the world this boy came up with his picture of God. Then we started talking about heaven. Tobi has always had lots of questions about heaven. I remember they started about 5 years ago when his friend Obed went to be with Jesus. He had some really hard heaven questions then. It makes me realize I know so little about heaven. Tobi said he thinks about it a lot and can’t wait to go there. He wants to see Jesus. He said he wants to see people from the Bible. ‘ I want to see Abraham and Peter and Jonah. Oh, and Noah. I would ask them questions’. He actually started to get on the verge of tears when talking about it. He said he thinks its going to be fun because we’ll have our houses. Then he said that he thought Jesus would probably invent something even better than TV’s. I’ve said it before – it doesn’t take much to impress this guy!
While we were talking, Hamisu, the man who is building our new church in Tamou came over with the tile samples. Hamisu is a really good guy. He’s a Muslim. Neal has had quite a few conversations with him – shared the Gospel on many occasions. He recently gave him a Bible. Tobi and I went out to look at the tile. Hamisu suggested one, but I chose a different one. He asked why. I said because it’s brighter. Then I saw my opportunity so I mentioned that we are bright because Jesus lives in us. He is the light. We chatted a bit about it, then Tobi jumps into the conversation. “You can be good, but you can’t go to heaven unless you accept Jesus Christ”. I think this shocked Hamisu and he just started laughing and calling Tobi “Little Pastor”. Tobi walked him out when he left and I heard him all the way to the gate saying “Little Pastor”.
What’s interesting about all this is that at church just this morning I was praying for Tobi. He was sitting across the room during the worship time and I was watching him. I was thinking how I wanted to talk to Neal about how I felt that we should really focus our prayers for Tobi on God visiting him and making Himslef real in his life. I was thinking about how Trae and Tanika both had to ‘own their salvation’. They had to make their decision to follow Jesus because they knew it was right and they knew that God truly had a purpose for their lives – not just because it’s something that we as their parents told them. So my goodness – God has already begun to answer my prayers! Earlier in the week Tobi told me he wanted to get up 5 minutes earlier and read the ‘Good Morning Lord’ devotionals in his Bible. He’s already doing a daily Bible reading plan. So, he’s on the right track. I told him that he needs to continue to listen and obey when the Holy Spirit speaks to him, and he’ll get better and better at knowing his voice.
I have learned that we are responsible in training our children. This is a serious responsibility. And this responsibility requires serious prayer/intercession. The enemy won’t just sit by and allow God’s plan to unfold in the lives of our kids. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal – and our enemies are not flesh and blood. Our weapons are prayer and Word of God. We need to use them liberally. God has amazing plans for our children. Train. Pray. God will answer. Tobi is still young. I suspect there will days that I will need to come back and read this post to find encouragement. But this I know: My children are blessed by God and will fulfill all that He has called them to do. All of it! Amen.