the good news

 

Nasi Jinggo is a common Balinese snack (or meal if you eat two) of steamed rice, shredded chicken and fried noodles with sambal (spicy sauce) all wrapped nicely in a banana leaf. You can buy them from small little shops or stands practically anywhere in Bali. There is one particular street in Denpasar where teenage girls are selling them, along with beer, coffee, soda and peanuts into the early hours of the morning. Gentleman wanting a snack or a drink at any hour of the night can park their motorbikes and sit down with a pretty girl on her sidewalk carpet and sit and chat for a little while. But how much money can you really make selling peanuts and soda?

More often than not, these concession stands are a nice front to a very ugly business. If the men are interested in the girl they will take her somewhere close by, and as the girl’s friend/co workers a few hundred meters down the road keeps an eye on her table of goods, she will sell herself to these men for very little money, the majority of which will go to her boss.

A couple times a week our team would go down at around 9pm and visit these girls for an hour or so. They start work at dusk and are out there practically all by themselves until the wee hours of the morning.

On one particular night in February we went back to visit our friend Putu Rini that we had met the week before. We sat on her red mat and asked her age “18” she replies, to which the Ywam Bali staff, Nova, replies “No, you are 16” and Putu Rini starts to laugh, “How did you know?” “Because God told me.” We then ask Putu if she is Hindu (the majority of Balinese are, but a small percentage are Muslim) she says yes and asks us what religion we are.  We explain that we are Christians and ask if she knows what that means, she says “My aunt is a Christian but i don’t know what she believes”. We tell her that means we believe in Jesus, “Do you know who Jesus is?”  No, she has never heard of him.

Never heard of him! My Jesus. My Saviour. My friend.

My heart skips a beat with excitement, and i start to share who Jesus is and the premise of the gospel in the simplest way i know how. Knowing a little about Hinduism, and seeing all the sacrifices and offerings they daily give up to appease their millions of gods, I took the route of explaining how Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for us, so we don’t need to work to be saved. I explained how much Jesus loves her and wants to be in relationship with her. Then Nova asked her if she wanted to know this Jesus and Putu Rini says yes and proceeds to pray with Nova that she would know him more. A couple of the students share what God has placed on their hearts for her and we sing a song to her before it is time to go.

We walk down the street to the van and pile in.

I sit in the back seat and stare out the window. I am fully alive. In those five short minutes of sharing the gospel with this 16 year old girl on a dimly lit street in Denpasar, my spirit came to life. There is this fulfillment that comes from sharing the most important thing in your life with someone else. When the gospel becomes real for you, when you truly begin to grasp what salvation means not only for an eternity spent with Jesus after death but realizing that life abundantly starts here on earth, you can’t help but be overcome with joy to share this good news with others.

It took about 45 minutes to drive back home. My mind wandered back to my first outreach to Bangladesh, five years ago when i was but a wee lil student in my DTS. I had to preach a number of times during that trip but due to my enormous fear of public speaking i made sure each sermon was carefully constructed with every sentence i wanted to say written down. I remember one particular afternoon we were sitting in a village surrounded by probably 80 people and my leader ask us “Okay who wants to share the gospel?” *pause* “Come on guys, this is why we have come here.” Fear gripped me, not just of having to speak in front of all those people, but simply of not having the right words to say . Of course i knew “the gospel”, I had been taught it my whole life. But i was afraid i would mess it up, leave some important part out. I sat there in silence, tried to avoid eye contact, and thanked God my team was so big I was sure someone else would volunteer. My friend Lauren did, and i breathed a sigh of relief. Five years ago, I could not share because the gospel wasn’t yet real to me. Yes I was saved, yes i knew what it was. But i hadn’t fully grasped what it meant for me, Kimberly, to be saved by Jesus Christ. I was passionate about missions, passionate about people. But my passion for simply Jesus was just beginning.

Sitting there reminiscing I praised God for what He was beginning in Putu Rini’s life, and then I praised Him for what he had already done in mine. It was encouraging to see growth in my own personal walk with the Lord; where once sharing the gospel sparked fear in me, it now made me come alive. It came out of deep understanding of what that means to me personally, not just the world as a whole. As i told Putu Rini how much the Father loves her and created her for a purpose, i said it from a place of complete belief. Total assurance that Jesus is true and his love for her is real.

After that night we continued to pray for Putu Rini and spent an afternoon with her at her Aunt’s salon and then watching the sunset at a beach. I don’t know if she is still worshiping a million Hindu gods or if she truly has accepted Jesus as her only Lord. But i do know that God gave us the honour of sharing peanuts, coke and His story with her for an evening.

Three months have passed since I was sitting on that sidewalk, but i look at that evening as the highlight of my three weeks in Bali. Since we left Nova has continued to meet with Putu and another girl from the streets and is having weekly  bible studies with them.        God is faithful to bring into completion the good work he has begun in her!

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