Good Soil

About a month ago in our little fishing village on the coast of Tanzania I received a phone call from the USA. On the other end of the line was a writer for Sports Illustrated. He wanted information for an e-book about the tall Sudanese basketball player named Manute Bol who died last year. But our following 45 minute interview was not about Manute Bol but about someone else who influenced his life, a person whom Manute met in a refugee camp in the mid 90’s and the same person who God brought to us in Kenya about 10 years later. He name is Victor Anyar.

Victor was converted through a Lets Start Talking seminar at the Nairobi Komarock Church of Christ in 2001. He was a refugee who came to Nairobi looking for a chance in life. He was one of many Sudanese attending the seminar, but after Victor had been around the church for a while the leaders noticed that he had a spirit and attitude different than anyone else. As a result, for the next 5 years we invested a lot of time, effort and money in his life. We watched him grow strong in the Lord. We sadly said goodbye to Victor in 2006 when he returned to Sudan. Since then we had basically lost contact until last month.

Back in his home country, Victor was just trying to find his way in war-torn Sudan. He was an evangelist, but he also needed to make a living. One thing he did was to start gathering children under a tree and teaching them English. After Manute’s basketball career had ended, he also returned home and met this young minister named Victor, under the tree with the children. It was there he decided to help Victor build his school and 40 more like it all over Southern Sudan. Manute died, however, before his dream was realized. Yet in the meantime, Victor is continuing his work in that partially finished building project (with some classes still under the tree) teaching young people to read and write and teaching them about God. I told the reporter that Victor was very close to us and that he reminded me of the description of Jesus in Matthew 11:29, “…..for I am gentle and humble in heart.” Victor is a wonderful Christian servant and a great example of good soil where the seed of God’s word was planted. He is bearing much good fruit in Sudan and beyond for the kingdom of God.

We are always looking for good soil like that of Victor, soil (hearts) that will hear, understand and produce. Many times, however, we find ourselves first preparing the soil for those whom our message is very foreign and who could easily misunderstand and reject it. We do this by spending time together and by eating together, by showing respect for their culture, their beliefs and their religious books. We try to build trust and live a simple life that reflects the kingdom of God. Indeed much of our work in life is soil preparation, hoping that someday the work and the many seeds being planted will grow into a bountiful harvest. Sometimes we do not harvest as much as we would like, but we continue to prepare the soil and cast the seed. We thank God for that good soil that we sometimes come upon, especially when we see results in the life of someone like our friend Victor.

Note: Victor’s story is woven into the story of Manute Bol in the e-book found here by Jordan Conn.

Other Posts You Might Like:

You Gotta Really-Really Love Jesus - Don Compton

Growing Pains - Laurie Templeton

Experience - Bob Bentley

The F.O.O.D Project – When God Shows Up - Beau Davis

Don’t Forget Our Mary - Ross Thomson



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