I knew what they looked like; I'd ordered them. But we all filed into the church where a stack of boxes waited. There were a thousand of them. Amos pulled one out to show us, reverently opening the covers. I nodded, ready to get on with my busy afternoon, until I realized what the Nica believers around me were saying. "This is a great translation – easy to read." "These hard covers will last a long time." And the kicker: "We've been praying all year for this. And we've been fasting all week."
That's when I began to realize what a big deal this was. All the months of planning, arranging housing and transportation and translators and schedules for the youth groups that were coming down, all the headaches and meetings and oh-no-what-if-it-doesn't work-out moments, all of it was worth it for this: we were going to get the Word of God into the hands and hearts of hungry people.
That week we split up and went from home to home in the city of Masatepe, offering the gift of a Bible for those who didn't have one, sharing our stories of God's work in our lives, praying for them, inviting them to church. As the week went on the stories started to trickle in: giving a Bible to a family and then on the way back home overhearing them reading it out loud; meeting a man who had been praying and saving up money for two years to purchase a Bible for himself.
Weeks after the youth groups left, Masatepe was still buzzing. New families were coming to church. People were asking about Jesus. One man who had received a Bible asked a church to start a Bible study in his home for his non-believing family. And a little boy who had come to church by himself for years, praying week after week for his father to come to Jesus, walked proudly in one Sunday holding his daddy's hand. "They came to my house, gave me a Bible, and prayed for me," the man said, "and God touched my heart. I knew I needed to come here today."
It's exciting to see what God does when we throw up our hands and say "Do whatever you want with me!" It's also exciting to see teenagers share story after story, awestruck at the way God enabled them to be the answer to someone else's prayer.
That'll ruin you for ordinary living for the rest of your life. Just one more reason why it's all worth it.