We met Shannon on the first day we started house visits, walking up to the old fence made of broken down pallets, scraps of metal and snarled pieces of wire we called out “hello, is anyone home?” She ducked under the laundry hanging over the small enclosed yard and walked to the gate “come on in.” She had just left an abusive relationship a few months before, and recently moved to the small neighborhood called Overcome. A ramshackle collection of tin shacks, garbage containers and the occasional ‘general store’. Shannon was very lonely, feeling isolated, as many did. The irony of it was incredible. So many people feeling loneliness in one of the most overcrowded places I have ever been. After sharing with her briefly about Jesus, and praying for her we were on our way. Looking over fences, peering through chicken wire, we made our way around our section of Overcome offering hope and friendship to a community ridden with fear and violence.
Over the next week we visited Shannon a few times, but the next Thursday morning we could tell something was different. She met us with a brilliant smile when we called over the fence. “Last night I met Jesus!” she shared with us. “Can you take me to Bible study tonight?” After dark it was extremely dangerous for a single woman to walk alone. We assured her we would come and pick her up and walk with her to the church where we were ministering that evening. This began a month long discipleship process. We began meeting with her regularly reading from the Bible together, and learning what it means to follow Jesus. One day while we were reading she had a question. “what does it mean to be baptized?” In her reading of the Bible she had snuck ahead and read about baptism.
This launched a Wednesday night class for the whole church to learn about following Jesus and baptism. There were 22 people interested in getting baptized, many of whom our YWAM team lead to the Lord. Our last Sunday we were in Overcome we used our “kombi’s” or mini vans to shuttle everyone from the Church to the beach for a baptism service. In a very african way we had three different stations and we baptized all 22, including Shannon.
The following week Shannon asked one of the girls on my team “Can I share something in the ladies Bible study?” This was going to be the second time the women from the community gathered together. We wanted to introduce these ladies to one another, many of whom struggled with the same issues of loneliness, fear and isolation. “Of course,” we said and she did a great job sharing the things God places on her heart.
Over our time in Overcome we had the privilege of walking with Shannon from the point of a hurt, timid woman who wasn’t even sure if she wanted anything to do with God, to seeing her sharing what God was doing and leading out in the Bible study. But this is my favorite part of the story: I didn’t really do anything. I was able to have the privilege of watching Samantha, Marin and Vania, three DTS students that I was leading walk with Shannon through this process. Don’t get me wrong, I had loads of opportunity to pour into peoples lives, and see them transformed while I was in Overcome. But with this particular story, I took the role of watching these three young women I was training, minister. It was very rewarding.
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 2 Timothy 2:2