Paul* grew up in a small, animistic family in Africa. His parents strongly believed in the power of nature, and they tried to foster a deeply-rooted love of their religion in Paul. However, Paul kept searching for more. In his twenties, Paul became addicted to drugs, and it took over his life. Despite his struggle with addiction, he got married and had a daughter. But sin had a strong hold over his life, and this made him angry. His anger turned him into an abusive husband and a bitter father. His sinful tendencies kept growing until his daughter became ill. She was in pain and crying a lot, and nobody could figure out why. Love for his daughter broke through Paul’s abusive anger, and he began desperately searching for answers.
Paul and his family lived near a quaint, little church in their community. The church was not ashamed to worship openly, so Paul could hear them singing songs of joy every Sunday. He never paid any attention to them until his daughter became ill. Then, the church’s songs of praise sounded like hope. Following the hope he heard in their praise, Paul reached out to the church for help.
“I love my daughter so much, I just want her to feel better,” he cried to the pastor.
The pastor immediately visited Paul’s daughter. He opened the Bible and prayed for God to heal her illness. The uneasiness in Paul’s stomach faded away when the pastor began to pray. He took that as his first sign that God was calling to him.
Next, his daughter’s pain decreased. In fact, over the next week, she stopped crying almost completely. She even began to laugh again. The optimistic shift in her mood brought hope to Paul. He took that as his second sign that God was calling to him. After that, Paul’s life changed. He made the decision to give his life to Christ, and a heaviness was lifted off of him.
Paul started to volunteer and preach the gospel once a week at the church by his house. Eventually, he led over 300 people to Christ. Today, he is a full-time pastor and changes the lives of people in his community every single day. That’s the power of a church.
*Name changed for safety purposes