I hope that you’ll learn, by listening to this story, that not only is God sovereign and He is able to get literature to exactly the right person at the right time, but there are people praying all over the earth and God’s gonna answer their prayers by what you’ve done today.
Part 1: 8000 Miles and Three Days for the Perfect Bible Donation
I do pastors’ conferences from time to time in all different places around the world. I was up at a place called Bungoma, Kenya, which is just up by the Ugandan border, and I was going to a pastors’ conference there.
The day before the pastors’ conference was to begin I was sitting in the pastor’s home that was putting it on, and there was a young man that walked in the door .When he walked in the door God spoke to my heart and He said, “That man there, he’s a man of an excellent spirit.” And I went, “That’s interesting.”
Well, when I go overseas I always take a great big suitcase or a duffle bag full of really nice, leather-bound study bibles. Really good stuff. Because most of the pastors overseas, for them to have a nice, leather-bound study bible with all kinds of notes and helps all those kind of things is a dream.
I mean, if they could find a bible like that it would cost them somewhere between $100 and $150. And when they make $15 a month, that’s 10 months wages. So they’ll never, ever be able to afford a bible like that. So I take a bunch of them and I give them away as the Lord leads.
So the first day of the pastors’ conference I saw a young man that was sitting across the auditorium from me, a pastor, and he had an old ripped up bible. He’s probably missing half of Genesis, half of Revelation. So I thought, “Well, I’ll give him this bible,”—the one that I had.
So I started to do that. I got about halfway and God said, “Don’t do that.”
So I didn’t do that.
The next time I taught a lesson, after I got finished, God spoke to me again. He said, “Have John …” (John was the kid I met the day before.) He said, “Have John give that young man his bible.”
So I walked over to John and I said, “John, would you do me a favor?”
He said, “Yes, sir.”
I said, “You see that man who’s got the ripped up bible over there?”
I said, “Would you give him your bible?”
He had just a little zipper bible [cover]. So he unzipped it, took out his personal notes, and went over and gave it to that guy.
When he did it I wanted to give him this bible, so I started giving him this bible. God said, “Don’t do that.”
I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m trying to be obedient. And I feel kind of bad because I made John give his bible away and now he’s sitting there with an old ripped up bible.
All day long he sat there with it. He didn’t say anything to me—not upset.
That night I preached a crusade and I saw John. He came and he sat on the second row, and I saw him write his name on the front of the old ripped up bible: John Kimani. And I’m feeling like a heel. I’m going, “Oh, geez, what are you doing, God?”
The next morning I had to get up early and I had to preach first—teach at the conference—so I got up and prepared my heart and prepared my lesson and those kinds of things.
I had a brown, leather zip cover, and I started to zip it up when God spoke to me. He said, “Put your Thompson-Chain Reference in there.” I don’t know why but I took that one out, and I put my Thompson-Chain Reference in. I zipped it up and I went and taught my first lesson.
When I finished God spoke to me again, and he said, “Now, you can give him the bible.”
So I walked over to John and I said, “John, I’d like to give you this.”
He said, “What is it?”
I said, “It’s a gift I’d like to give it to you.”
He sat down, unzipped it, and he turned to the front page and he read these words, “Thompson-Chain Reference, Fourth Edition, King James Version.” And he began to cry.
And I’m thinking, “He’s crying because this is like I’ve given him a car or something.”
And he raised his hands he said, “Oh, no, sir.” He says, “You don’t understand. One year ago I begin to pray. I want you to see what’s number one on the list.” He reached in his coat pocket, pulled out an envelope, and he said, “Here, take a look.” I opened it up, pulled out the letter. Number one on the list was a Thompson-Chain Reference, Fourth Edition, King James Version in a brown leather zippered cover.
I mean we jumped up and down and shouted Hallelujah and carried on.
And he gave testimony to all of the pastors, “Pray for what you want because God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or think, you know.” God sent me 8,000 miles and worked on me three days in order to get that man what he asked for. Do you think God is interested in people all over the earth that’s praying today for what we’re doing? Absolutely.
Well, my wife and I spend a whole week with John and we just kind of fell in love with him. We got his name and address because he didn’t live in Bungoma; he lives in a place called Moi’s Bridge. We said, “Listen, we’ll send you some literature from time to time and we just want to bless you in the name of the Lord.”
Over the years, we’ve sent him boxes and boxes: small, little packages.
Part 2: The Moi’s Bridge Pastor’s Library
[Later,] I was doing another pastors conference in a place called Kitale, so I looked on the map to see if I can find Moi’s Bridge. I couldn’t find Moi’s Bridge—I didn’t know where it was at— so I wrote John a letter and I said, “Listen, I can’t find Moi’s Bridge on the map. I don’t know where you’re at. But I’m going to be doing a pastors’ conference with these folks at this place, at this time. If you want to see me I’d like to see you.”
So I’m doing the pastors’ conference. I’m up in front speaking, and all of a sudden John walks in. He’s pretty well-known. (He’s about six-foot-seven.) So he came up and gave me a big hug, “Oh, brother, it’s so good to see you …” and we were talking.
Then he says, “You got to come to my house. You’ve been such a blessing to me and to my family and to my church.”
I said, “Well, how far is it?”
“Oh, it’s close. It’s just 17 kilometers. You could come over there and you could …”
I said, “Okay, we’ll go.”
So we drove over to his place; it’s only like 10 miles. John lives in a 12 by 15′ dung hut: dirt floor, thatched roof. He and his wife and three sons.
They took me in, sat me down on the couch, and fed me sweet bread and tea—treated me like a king.
He said, “Brother, you’ve been such a blessing to us. I want to show you my pride and joy.” He pointed to four shelves of books on the wall. He said, “This is the Moi’s Bridge pastor’s library. These are the books that I got from you.”
I went, “Oh, God, that’s so good.”
He said, “I just don’t let anybody read them.”
I said, “What?”
He said, “Oh, no. I make sure I know where they live so I get the books back.” But that’s not all.
So then he went and got a notebook, and he began to page through it. There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people’s names in it, and he said, “These are the people who’ve read those books.”
I went, “Oh, God.”
He said, “Oh, that’s not all.” So then he would page and he would page, and he’d say, “See this person right here? This person was a prostitute, but she read that book right there and now she’s one of my Sunday school teachers.”
And then he’d page a little bit further and he said, “See these two people here? These two people here, they hated each other’s guts. I mean they’re always getting drunk and beating each other up and getting thrown in jail. They were married, but they hated each other. They read these three books right here, and now their family is sweet.”
And then he’d turn another one and tell me this story, and tell me that story, and I’m crying and snot’s coming out of my nose … I mean, out there in the middle of nowhere, in a little dung hut, God is changing hundreds of people’s lives via the four shelves of books that we’ve sent. Who would have thought, huh?
Part 3: “I Prayed Four Years for a Bible”
We’ll John made me promise. He said, “This is the only road that goes to Nairobi, and you have to almost drive right by my house to get to Nairobi airport. You got to promise me that you’ll come and say goodbye to me before you leave.”
I said, “Yeah, we can do that.” And so we did. After we finished [the conference], we drove to his house.
When we drove into his house, he was out in a little hammock chair. When he saw us, he jumped up out of the chair and came over. We were giving each other a hug, and we’re just talking to each other: “Brother, I just bless you and I don’t know whether I’ll ever get back to Africa, I don’t know whether I’ll get back to this part of Africa or not. I don’t do know whether I’ll ever see you again, but I’ll keep sending you some books from time to time.”
“Brother, if I don’t see you here, you know I’ll see you in heaven.”
About that time he looked up, and he saw three women walking on the edge of a clearing. He yelled, “Hi! You know the man who’s sending bibles and books?! Yeah, this is him!”
They hiked their skirts and they ran to where I was. When they got there, they grab my hands and they begin to kiss my hands and they begin to cry. One lady cried and cried and cried, and she said, “I prayed for four years that somebody, somehow would be able to find me a bible. When John got one from you, he gave it to me and I’m forever grateful.”
The other two ladies said, “We didn’t have bibles either until John gave us one.”
You know that doesn’t happen to you very often, but when it does it kind of pierces your heart.
You Can Be the Answer to Someone’s Prayer
What I’m trying to say to you is this: Ready? Everything that we did today, there’s somebody praying for that stuff. There’s somebody praying and saying, “God, if I just had anything to teach my children with, if I had anything for my church, God, if you make it available.” And you were the answer to that prayer.
Can you answer someone’s prayer today? Pack up that extra literature that’s sitting around and send it to us, make plans to come and help out in the warehouse, or download some free resources and start a bible donation drive at your church.