Overview of Jesus Booth Ministries in Africa

On March 17, 2010, in Jesus Booth, Newsletters, by sonserver

During the summer of 2003, I met Steve Hollingsworth, president of His Healing Helping Hands, International Ministries (4 H. I. M.). It was through 4 H. I. M. that Jesus Booth Ministries, Inc. (JBM) was able to expand to several cities. From JBM’s inception, God was good to lead us to people with existing ministries […]

During the summer of 2003, I met Steve Hollingsworth, president of His Healing Helping Hands, International Ministries (4 H. I. M.). It was through 4 H. I. M. that Jesus Booth Ministries, Inc. (JBM) was able to expand to several cities. From JBM’s inception, God was good to lead us to people with existing ministries with which we could network. Each time we took the Jesus Booth to a new place, we were able to leave the booth with local pastors and church members to use as an outreach tool in their own towns. As a ministry, we were blessed and assured that we were working within God’s plan by the positive response we received from the people we met. However, in May 2007, JBM joined a 4 H. I. M. team to Sierra Leone, West Africa, and we were overwhelmed by God’s greatness in a way we had never understood or experienced.

As we arrived in Freetown, I was introduced to M. S., a local pastor. Immediately, I recognized M. S. as a dynamic leader who would become a key player in helping our mission team during our stay. In getting to know him, I learned that M. S. had been the janitor and caretaker at Wellington Orphanage, a home and school for over sixty children left orphaned by Sierra Leone’s civil war.

While serving at Wellington, M. S. also helped at his church and took theology classes in his spare time. His sweet spirit, quiet yet resolute nature, and servant’s heart made him the perfect person to head up JBM in Sierra Leone. The Jesus Booth, in its simplicity, was the perfect tool for a man with limited resources in a country torn apart by war. In providing M. S. and other church members with a booth, we took ourselves, our agendas, and our expectations out of the equation and allowed God to work.

While our team conducted a free medical clinic at a local church, we instructed M. S. and other local pastors, on how to build, set up, and run the Jesus Booth for the first time. During the two-day clinic, over 300 people came to Christ. In the history of our ministry we had never seen anything comparable. Content in our station to plant and water God’s seeds, we were experiencing a harvest of epic and unexpected proportions. Like never before, we were overwhelmed by God’s ability to change lives when we are willing to simply show up. God’s sufficient grace allowed the Jesus Booth to transcend doctrine, race and culture.

Any resistance or confusion we had encountered in the United States, whether it come from passionate Atheists looking for an argument or overzealous Christians who distorted the message of Christ, seemed to virtually fall away. Jesus’ words from Matthew took on new meaning as we, the few workers, began to witness a plentiful harvest. Up to this point, it was as if God had hidden his plan behind a cloak, lifting it ever so slightly to show us a tiny corner of the landscape of his love. As we accepted the challenge of overseas missions, God pulled back the cloak to reveal a panorama of fertile soil.

It was during that trip to Sierra Leone that I began to understand another part of God’s plan for our lives. Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world. Destroyed by civil war, the people of Sierra Leone are literally sifting through ashes to rebuild their lives. Much of what spurs them on to work toward something better is the hope found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Spiritually, many of the people we met were what could only be described as joyful. They were quick to rely on God as their hope and salvation and his promises for the future.

What struck me as so powerful was seeing how the message of Christ offered by the men and women standing in the Jesus Booth, became complete or perfect when partnered with the work our 4 H. I. M. team was doing at the same time. In Matthew 25, Jesus says, “35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” When his followers asked him when this had happened, he replied, “45I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Jesus calls us to preach the gospel and to take care of not only the lost, but also a deeply needy and hurting world. I believe God blessed our efforts because we recognized both the spiritual and physical needs of his people.

Shortly after this first trip out with the Jesus Booth, we got word through email from one of the pastors of a truly miraculous event, reminiscent of what was common during the time Christ walked the earth. An illiterate widow who had worked in the Jesus Booth with M. S. in Freetown traveled to a remote village known as Rookbob to attend a funeral.

Before she left to come home, she heard that another man in the village had fallen in the fields while he worked. As the crowds gathered to see the man, the Muslim imams announced that the man was dead. After a medical official was consulted, they began to prepare the burial rites, wrapping him in linens and praying prayers for the dead. As difficult as it is to believe rationally, firsthand witnesses agree and continue to affirm that the man was unequivocally dead. Emboldened by the work she had been doing, the widow asked if she could say a prayer to Jesus Christ for the man. At first, the imams told her no and continued with their rituals. Persistently, she asked again and they acquiesced. After saying a simple prayer, the man sneezed three times and sat up.

Because of this woman’s faith, a man was raised from the dead. Soon after M.S. brought the Jesus Booth to the village and 166 Muslim people from the village of Rookbob became Christians on that day. Since then, the village, which had had no Christians before this woman prayed her prayer, has converted their mosque into a church.

For the people of Sierra Leone, the Jesus Booth has become much more than an outreach tool. M. S., who is now the pastor of an amputee camp and a missionary through Jesus Booth Ministries, is leading the call to care for his community with the love of Christ. He is building Jesus Booth’s and training others on how to use the Jesus Booth’s. Hundreds of people have come to experience hope and healing spiritually, and with the help of 4 H. I. M., many of them are recovering physically and financially through prosthetic limb and micro-loan programs.

Suddenly we find our ministry in an unexpected and exciting new place. As we prayerfully consider the near future, we are consumed with questions about where God will take us next. Aside from the work we will continue to do in the United States, we are already planning trips to Sierra Leone, Togo, and possibly India in 2009.

The success we have experienced with M. S. is awe-inspiring. Our hope is that God will multiply his ministry and allow him to find faithful, motivated helpers to come along side him and continue the tremendous work God has begun. With M. S. as a model, we are praying that God will direct us to similar men and women in other nations around the world who can serve as in-country missionaries on behalf of JBM. We praise God for His continual blessings, and ask that you join us in prayer for his guidance and direction in making this possible.

So often, our vision is limited. Even with clear purpose and the purest intentions, our best plan is mediocre when compared with the perfect plan of God. In reference to hardship, I have heard people say that God will only give us what we can handle. Likewise, sometimes God gives us one piece of the puzzle at a time so as not to overwhelm us, like Moses, with the glory of his face. My prayer for JBM, for the people who benefit from the ministry, and for anyone who reads this is that we are all overwhelmed by the bright power of God’s gaze and that our lives are a reflection of his marvelous light.

For more information about Jesus Booth Ministries or 4 H. I. M., visit www.jesusbooth.com or www.4-him.net.

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