“Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.” (Isaiah 42:10)
God was at work as we recently went soul winning in villages of fishermen on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
The Scriptures “Fit”
How do you approach Hindu fishermen who know nothing about the Bible? The Lord led us to tell them about how Jesus must have loved fishermen since at least four of his closest followers were fishermen. We used two stories from Peter’s life. First, we related how Jesus one day asked to use Peter’s boat as a “pulpit” to speak to crowds who had gathered to hear Christ preach. The Lord rewarded Peter by giving him a miraculous haul of two boatloads of fish. Peter’s reaction? “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8) We wish you could have seen these fishermen’s eyes brighten as they related to Peter as a fisherman—and as a sinner in need of a Saviour. Secondly, we shared the story of James and John as they sat mending their nets. We had watched many in the village mending their nets as we walked their streets. Jesus came up to Peter and said, “. . . Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
What a joy it was to share the Gospel, telling these fishermen about the Lord Jesus, how He had died for their sins on the cross and rose from the tomb. Many gladly prayed to ask Jesus Christ to save them. We pray some will become fishers of men.
We were introduced to a pastor in one of these villages who used to be a fisherman. As a teen he went out to sea with his father every day. Then he began to cough up blood. A doctor told him he had an advanced case of tuberculosis and had only months to live. No longer able to work, his father abandoned him to a godly Christian in the village. The teen trusted Christ. One night this young man dreamed that two angels came and healed him, telling him to now give his life to serving Christ, not fishing. He woke up feeling whole, and a doctor confirmed that he had been healed. But hearing that his son was now well, the father came back and took his boy back out to sea with him. It was amazing to hear how one day out on the ocean, a cyclone came and swamped their boat in open water. The young man, clinging to the hull, promised God that if he survived he would surely give up fishing and serve the Saviour full-time. God delivered them, and the young man kept his promise. He started a church in his thatch hut, and many years later a congregation of 300 meets in a nice church building in this fisherman’s village.
Another fisherman told us of being left for dead outside his Hindu home for weeks, his family not wanting him to “desecrate” them. Christians visiting in the area came to him and prayed for him. That night he became strong again and the next morning was completely healthy. He trusted Christ and is now a solid member of the fisherman pastor’s church.
Thank you for the privilege of allowing us to fish for men and see how the Holy Spirit can make the Gospel “fit” any culture in the world.