By Festus Ndukwe
Some years ago, I was discouraged, wondering if my ministry of the printed page was having any impact. Writing and publishing is like scattering seeds, without knowing which will bear fruit.
One night, I had a dream: a man standing on the road beckoned to me. I walked up to him, and he grasped my shoulder. Pointing to a mountain, he asked, “Do you see that mountain?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Because of the work you are doing, there are missionaries laboring on that mountain,” he said. I cried until I woke up. God gave me this dream to encourage and assure me that my labor in publishing is never in vain.
Our work is to publish; God’s work is to scatter our words and cause them to bear fruit. The wind can carry a tract, article, or the pages of books and cast them places we never imagined.
A man stopped for a shoemaker to repair his shoe, only to discover that the nail that stuck in his shoe held a tract. While the cobbler worked on his shoe, the man read the tract. He converted and became a missionary, pioneering a churchplanting work among the Hausa people. Now he is churchplanting in another West African country.
Another Christian brother stumbled upon our mission magazine in a garbage can in southern Nigeria, and subsequently became involved in missions.
Eternity is yet to reveal the power of the printed page. Thousands of people over the centuries have been transformed by it. Even when the author has passed on, the words still speak.
The preacher may fear the response of men, the printed page does not. It is not apologetic of its message. It does not consider the reader’s position as a king or a slave, president or servant, CEO or janitor. It comes to you the way it is written.
A Christian youth group gave birthday present to the president of a West African country: the book, Born Again by Charles Colson, an American statesman and evangelical leader. They wondered if the president would read it. The president’s daughter confirmed to a missionary that the president carries the book in his briefcase.
The printed page is like Joel’s army. “They climb the wall like men of war…they shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief” (Joel 2:7, 9).
Where a person cannot go or preach, the written word can. This remains the strength of the printed page. Those who are called to publish should do it faithfully. We can never know how far the words will go.
Festus Ndukwe (left) is the editor of Occupy magazine, dedicated to cross-cultural missions. He serves in Nigeria with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), one of Africa’s first indigenous missions agencies, at work in 32 countries worldwide. (firstname.lastname@example.org)