This story has been on my heart to share with my readers for some time now.
For some reason, it has always been pushed aside, but tonight God has laid it on my heart that now is the time to share it.
It is amazing how God will work in our life when we are willing to be placed where He desires, and to be used as He desires to spread the message of salvation - that Christ is the answer to forgiveness of sin and new eternal life.
My husband and I always enjoyed when missionary friends would come to town and spend time with us sharing their experiences in the field. Chills and tears of joy and amazement always took place as we listened intently how God had protected them in dangerous situations and provided for their needs in desperate times.
About ten years ago, a dear sister in Christ, who has spent many years as a missionary to South Africa alongside her husband, shared this story with my husband and I.
Anita traveled with her husband into the interior of Southern Africa to reach the indigenous people in villages far off the beaten track. As God led them, they traveled in a large truck filled with a tent, chairs, generator, lights and speakers. She did not know what to expect on these trips but was happy to be with her husband and experience "the ministry" as her husband John put it.
Many wonderful experiences came, but "1" incident in particular stands out in her mind to this day...how God used her simple tube of lipstick.
After traveling many long dusty miles they came to a village, and found a shady place to park while workers prepared something to eat. Her husband walked over to the witch doctor, who was eyeing their every move as he sat on a big rock next to his hut just outside the village. African tribal tradition requires that one must ask permission from the "spiritual head" of the village, the witch doctor, before you may enter.
The Chief is not to be troubled with trivial matters. As her husband approached the witch doctor, he did not seem friendly and refused their entry to the village. The next day he again refused them.
For several weeks, this continued and John called the workers on the ministry team to prayer and fasting. These villagers NEEDED Jesus and the devil was making sure that God's word would find no entry in this village.
This is where Anita's story comes in...
It was a lovely day in the bush and smoke from the cooking fire was blowing in the wind. Anita decided to fix her hair and feel a bit more freshened by putting on a bit of makeup. She sat in the truck with her small makeup bag and decided to put on some lipstick. Of course this was not the place to be worried about makeup, but she just wanted to feel a bit more spruced up. As she looked into a mirror she began to outline her lips with her lipstick, unaware that the witch doctor was curiously watching. Suddenly he tapped on the window and asked in his language, "What are you doing?" Rolling down the window, she answered, "This is MY medicine bag...it is much powerful than yours."
She showed him how the lipstick worked and he was fascinated. She twisted the tube up and down and applied it to her lips as his eyes widened. She then took the nail polish from her bag and began to paint her fingernails. He had never smelled anything like it and took a step back. She reached out with the brush to his hand. He timidly reached his hand out and she painted three of his ugly dirty nails and he stood frozen. Suddenly he began to jump up and down waving his arms and shouting. Sitting under a tree, John and several African pastors were watching in amazement and began to pray. Customarily a woman does not speak to a man.
When John saw the witch doctor jumping up and down he was thinking, "I hope he does not cook us for supper tonight!" The witch doctor had turned and walked towards the village. Overjoyed, Anita quickly explained to her husband that they were finally going to be allowed into the village to see the king! How did that happen? Anita had told the witch doctor that if he took her husband to see the king, he could have her lipstick and makeup bag. He was certain that there was special power in that little bag she possessed, and he wanted it.
Anita and John walked behind the witch doctor to the king's hut - he was inside with his many wives. As he came out, he said in perfect English, "So you have come to visit me and I see my witch doctor has kept you waiting for weeks now." John greeted him and said, "You speak English so well." The king stated he attended university in London and was summoned home to take his fathers place as king after his fathers death.
He allowed John and the team to put up the tent and preach to the people. The witch doctor sat outside the tent each night and listened, motionless. The king and his wives accepted Jesus along with the entire village! After 3 months they left a pastor to start building a church and promised to return in 6 months.
The day arrived when they did return to the village and children ran as they heard the truck coming towards the village. A man in a white coat ran forward with the church pastor to greet everyone. The pastor asked John, "Do you know who this man is?" John said, "I do not recognize him." The man jumped up and down and tugged on Anita's sleeve saying, "You know me, you know me!" I am Ephraim, the witch doctor!" He too came to know Christ and was saved. Now he was clean and well kept, a new man spiritually.
During Anita & her husbands ministry in Africa, this was the first witch doctor of three witch doctors to be saved and to go on to preach the gospel. . . all because a tube of lipstick was used to gain access to preach the gospel. Praise God!
My dear friend,
God can use your smile, your voice, your ability to listen to others, your compassion, your speaking ability, your cooking, your organizational skills... He can and will use what He has given you to reach others who need to know Him, who need to ask for cleansing of sin and begin a new life in Christ.
We just need to be willing.
Those "certain women" that I love to speak of and teach of in the Bible were willing to serve.
Are we really willing to be used?
So many of us are just content to sit for an hour or two in church and feel we did our part.
So many gather to socialize and be entertained in church instead of desiring to be equipped to serve, go and tell.
We do not need to go off to a foreign land, to another state or another city. There are many in your day to day world that cross your path that are on the road that leads them to doom.
I pray this story allows you to see that God can use us where we are if our heart is focused on His work and those that are lost.
In this world that is fast turning away from Christ and His message of salvation, may we get on our knees and ask Him to "use us in the way He chooses" to reach a lost and dying world.