Rolland and Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries (see this post) talk about when they went to a new province of Mozambique to hold a conference there. The hunger of the locals to travel the distances they did under the conditions they endured is incredible. And the response of Rolland and Heidi is so refreshing. No lectures, no ideas, only pure scripture. As they say, the only reliable thing they could offer:
They were hungry tired and penniless. This was our first conference in Nampula Province, a major event. Some of our pastors had walked for two days without food from their villages to get here, just sleeping on the dirt by the side of the road at night. Others walked four days, and one six days – to learn from us. All came with only the poor, threadbare clothes on their backs. Now they were all waiting to see what we would do. Guy asked them, "What are you most afraid of?" "That our children will starve to death while we are here," they answered simply. They didn’t even know how they would survive going home. What did we have to say?
Heidi and I came to Mozambique deliberately to face situations like this. We came to test the Gospel, and strip from our preaching everything that didn’t work and wasn’t the Truth. We came to give people the Living Jesus, not to try out our mission strategy on them. We came to love the poorest of the poor into the Kingdom, not to promise them a cheap road to health and wealth. We came asking Jesus to kill us, destroy us, and remake us however He wanted so that we would be useful to Him here. And now we faced the test.
These people were suffering. They were sick and weak. They had seen their children die in their arms. Moslems persecuted them. They saw no hope outside the Good News we brought. So we preached the purest, simplest messages we could, straight from Scripture. We had no confidence in any other ideas we might have. They needed words that the Holy Spirit would back up. They needed to know what Jesus will bless and support, what will attract His company and presence. They needed content they could depend on to the death.
How many times has the Gospel been altered and changed. Modified and "fixed" so that it is less offensive, less difficult to obey, easier to understand. But anything less than the pure Gospel is not the Gospel at all. We cannot lose even one tiny part of this essential truth.