Despite the seclusion, Pastor Matai constantly mounted his bicycle to visit. And when the hills were too steep to bike, he hiked. He saw beyond the unpolished exteriors of these people to the gems within. He saw individuals created in God’s image who needed to know their Creator’s love.
A month after he began visiting this village, Pastor Matai met Leoni, who was suffering from tuberculosis. After asking God to heal Leoni, he continued to visit her daily to pray. Soon, doctors confirmed Leoni’s health had improved. Witnessing God’s power, Leoni’s family put their trust in the Healer and offered their home to Pastor Matai for lodging and conducting worship services.
News of Leoni’s healing spread, but not all the villagers were pleased. Some troublemakers approached Pastor Matai and Leoni’s husband with warnings to not tell the Good News in their village.
The rebuke sent Pastor Matai to his knees, where he spent many hours in prayer, entreating God for open doors and changed hearts. The time in God’s presence emboldened Pastor Matai; resolve built in his heart. He would share God’s love and impact lives for eternity, no matter what challenges he might face.
Pastor Matai returned to the village, where he discovered God had shut his opposers’ mouths, much like the lions Daniel had faced. People glared, perhaps even growled, but dared not say a word to Pastor Matai.
His confidence bolstered, Pastor Matai’s enthusiasm grew. Surely, God had something special in store for the people in this village. With fresh resolve, Pastor Matai mounted his bicycle.
Signs and wonders began to follow the trail of Pastor Matai’s two wheels. After a film screening about Jesus at Leoni’s house, Pastor Matai offered to pray for the sick. A woman named Seema came forward with stomach problems, and the Lord instantly healed her!
God used news of Seema’s healing to move in the hearts of many others. One family invited Pastor Matai to pray for a woman named Kalei, who had become unconscious after witnessing a traumatic accident; she was paralyzed in body and speech. After praying for Kalei, Pastor Matai commanded, “In the name of Jesus, talk,” and she did!
Mahina also came to Pastor Matai; she was weak and sickly after a month of bleeding. Pastor Matai prayed for Mahina, and God healed her. A man’s nose constantly oozed blood, but then God healed him too. Another woman suffered from appendicitis. Once again, the Lord miraculously healed.
As miraculous testimonies in the village accumulated, wonder grew, and God stirred hearts. The small weekly gatherings at Leoni’s house slowly increased, outgrowing the space and moving to their own place of worship. God also opened doors for Pastor Matai to start small fellowships in six neighboring villages.