Night after night, James was awakened by a voice that said, “Read the book on the shelf.” So he began to read, and each night as he read more and more of God’s Word, his heart was touched. His life began to change. He gradually quit practicing his religious rituals, and his family and the community took notice. Jesus became irresistible to James and in the quiet of one of those nights, James surrendered to him.
Nick and Erica had met in college and felt a calling to bring the gospel to unreached peoples. They met James soon after arriving for a two-year StoryRunners assignment in a Central Asian country where one of the most persecuted people groups today live. Every family Nick and Erica met had at least one immediate family member who had been slaughtered at the hands of the wicked regime that, until recently, ruled them.
Yet some 20 years ago, the gospel penetrated the darkness when James, a devout religious leader, was awakened by the voice in the middle of night. That “book on the shelf” was the Bible, which James, like many devout leaders in his religion, respected and owned, but nonetheless ignored and certainly didn’t read.
Now, 20 years later, James has been serving Christ as a modern-day Apostle Paul in the land of his birth, where another religion is still a stronghold but the gospel is piercing the darkness. Imprisoned repeatedly, he is currently serving a four-year sentence. James is leading so many fellow prisoners to Christ (at last count it was over 50!) that the officials move him from one cell to another in an attempt to stop him!
James’ last request as Nick and Erica were preparing to return to America at the conclusion of their project, was: “Tell the churches that God is doing miracles here! Tell them there are now believers in every city in our country!”