Pastor Haruto remembers the clenches of hopelessness that once grasped him. He, too, had followed the local religious traditions, finding no true fulfilment in life until a near-fatal sickness sent him on a quest for healing that eventually led him to Jesus.
Healed and delivered, Haruto put his trust in Jesus and became the sole believer in his home village. Soon, his wife, Saundra, joined him, but the couple faced hostility for their faith. Loving Jesus had placed targets on Haruto’s and Saundra’s backs. Neighbors shunned them and tried to stop Haruto from constructing his house; they said Haruto and Saundra had only themselves to blame for any mistreatment they received.
But the couple persevered, even walking long distances to neighboring villages to attend church and invest in their spiritual growth. Haruto studied God’s Word and eventually went to Bible college. When Haruto graduated, church leaders intended to send him to another mission station, but Haruto knew he needed to return to his home village and appealed to be sent there.
Haruto’s leaders learned how extremely remote his village was and that the people spoke their own tribal dialect rather than the national language. Because of these blockades, no other missionaries wanted to serve there. But, as a native, neither of these were barriers for Haruto, so the leaders honored Haruto’s request.
“The Lord started to work in the lives of people through prayers and through sharing the [good news] and by my help,” Pastor Haruto says.
So drastically did the community’s attitude change toward Pastor Haruto that when the believers wanted to build a permanent place of worship, some of the very neighbors who had previously resisted him lent helping hands to construct the building.
God was doing a great work in Pastor Haruto’s village, but the work was far from finished. Other communities in need began to tug at the pastor’s heart.
“As I was doing ministry here … I also began to feel the urgent need of sharing [Christ’s love] to people in neighboring villages,” Pastor Haruto says. “There are uncounted numbers of people who are going to perish eternally if I don’t share [Christ’s love with] them, so only sharing [it] in [this village] was not going to be enough.”
Pastor Haruto began visiting surrounding villages, showing love to those people as he had in his native village. There was much work to be done, and Pastor Haruto knew he could not do it alone. He encouraged young believers to attend Bible college and serve in ministry. In time, four other churches were established, and five young Bible college graduates returned to serve alongside Pastor Haruto in this remote region. And the work continues to grow.
Once containing a sole believer, this village now holds a thriving body that is raising up and sending out young people to minister to those in need. Lives are being transformed—and it all started because one man sought to return to his hostile home village to share God’s love with the very neighbors who opposed him.Learn more about sponsoring a missionary like Pastor Haruto »
*Names of people and places may have been changed for privacy and security reasons. Images are GFA stock photos used for representation purposes and are not the actual person/location, unless otherwise noted.Previous Article Next Article