Stories from Nicaragua: Making Disciples makes us greater Disciples
What If the Disciple Being Made is the Disciple Maker?
Joshua Gaarz is my new friend and International Church Planter in training for e3partners. I met and talked with Josh for about 4 hours before the rest of the team showed up in Nicaragua. He told me his life story. Josh has only been a Christian since last September, when he found a verse that changed his life: Philippians 4:13. He found the verse written on his son’s stuffed animal. It was the verse that God used to bring him to Jesus. You see he was inches from becoming a professional hockey player and 13 was always his number. As he continued to share all of the numerous instances where that verse changed his life. I thought to my self, “Come on, was that really God?” Then being the great spiritual person that I am (lots of sarcasm here), I thought better of it. I looked at Josh and said, “Never lose that ability to see God in the small details of life.” I guess that was the godly thing to say.
What many of you don’t know about me is that I’m naturally a skeptic, except I happen to be saved and have the Holy Spirit or else I’d probably be an atheist. God, of course, has used even my natural skeptical tendencies to research all of the questions that skeptics have. God did this so that I may be able to help guide skeptical people to Him! Isn’t it cool how God works! Romans 8:28.
Now back to the story. Everyday Josh went into his village during our Nicaragua campaign, there was a group of drunk gangsters that stood at a corner and threatened him and his team. They would yell out to Josh’s interpreters (in Spanish), “Hey! You should rob those Americans you’re with and we’ll split the money.” Josh obviously felt threatened everyday, until Wednesday. That was when Josh took his favorite verse literally (shouldn’t we always do that?). He walked up to the ring leader of the gang and shared the gospel with him. The Holy Spirit moved in a mighty way and that leader of thugs decided that he needed Jesus. Well before he was going to pray to Jesus, he wanted to look presentable. So he took the bandana off of his head, only it was a shirt folded in some gangster way. As he started to unfold the shirt over his bare chest, in english, the shirt read, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Wait that’s not all! Josh was so excited about the gangster coming to Christ that he immediately went and bought his whole team some juices. Here’s the kicker. On his juice container written at the very bottom was the the life changing verse Philippians 4:13 AGAIN! He showed it to me that evening when all of the different teams came back to base. They next day the gangster leader was no longer with his old crew. When Josh asked the gangsters where he was, they said he quit drinking and hanging with us!
Now you may be thinking, “Wow Scott, you really discipled Josh by reminding him to see God in the details.” Well, I actually believe that God used Josh to disciple me, to change me. So that amazing faith that Josh had to see God in the details, through that life changing verse, changed me. When you’re on a mission (this could be in the good ole USA) where your dependency on God is heightened, He tends to change you, even a veteran foreign missionary like myself!