Karen

I Wish...

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

“Can you tell what her spiritual gift is?” I would ask a church member on their first visit with Maddy.*

“Hmm … hospitality.”

“See, Maddy? Every time we come to your home, you make sure we’re comfortable and offer us something to drink.” Maddy would just blush.

Well, on this particular visit, the regular lay-worker couldn’t make it, so Evelyne (who had spent most of the day with me) offered to come.

This wasn’t the only change. When we were about to pray, in rushed Maddy’s eight-year old son Lou,* with his little New Testament Bible.

“I want to study too!” he exhaled.

Oh, on this lesson? Lord, he’s too young! I thought. Lou had only joined us on one lesson in the past. Now, we were going to study “The Mark of the Beast.”

I thought to change the lesson to something tame. Oh, too late. Sister Evelyne already had her lesson book out and she’s ready. Okay Lord, would You please take over?

“Let’s pray.”

By God’s grace, the lesson flowed smoothly, but you won’t believe who was answering all the questions and even contributing profound comments. Yes, Lou himself. We were all amazed at how God gave this young boy such deep understanding of His truth. Better yet, at points when his mom may have hesitated to move, God used His young servant Lou to give her confidence in choosing the truth.

“What’s next week’s lesson? … Mom, can I join in again?”

All of us were beaming with joy and we left assured of God’s protection over His faithful ones.

The following week we studied about “The United States in Prophecy” and Lou was there ready with his Bible. This time he could find verses without any help and he recalled almost everything we studied the week before.

“What’s God’s seal for His people?” I asked.

“It’s … oh, I remember this. It starts with an S ...” Lou began.

“The Sabbath!” His mom—equally excited—jumped in with the answer.

What a joy to watch this family rattle their brains over Bible truths and rejoice at their findings.

To really help us understand the magnitude of what God was doing for Lou, Maddy explained that he was born weighing only one pound. The doctors said he would develop slowly physically and mentally, but she did not believe them. Now he was not only fully grown for his age, but understanding the deep truths of the Bible with ease! He is her miracle child from God.

When the lesson ended, we all stood around the small breakfast table, just as the three Hebrew boys stood, choosing to stand with Christ no matter the consequence.

“I wish Bible study was everyday,” Lou reflected as he fell back in his chair.

 

*Names changed.

From Baptism to Discipling

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker

David is his name. Leading up to his baptism, it was clear that he is an exceptional student of the Bible. After we studied a topic, he would review our lesson and study deeper into the history behind it. One time after studying Daniel 2, he read the entire book of Daniel! Oh, and then he went to the library and found books on King Nebuchadnezzar and the sanctuary.

At the Revelation Today seminar, David made the decision to be baptized and he was introduced to the Conflict of the Ages series. Now, only a month after his baptism, he’s read The Great Controversy, The Desire of Ages, and is currently studying Patriarchs and Prophets along with his Bible. 

On Tuesday, Jack asked David to lead the small group next week. David was surprised, but Jack who had closely watched his progress knew he was ready. 

Thankfully, David said yes. “I’m just trusting the Holy Spirit will help me lead, Karen. Because I really need Him to.”

David is an inspiration to me. After watching his testimony, I know I have no right to say I’m too young in my walk, I’m too shy (he himself is a quiet man), or I’m not learned enough. 
If God can use David, a one month old Christian, He can use anyone.

The Still Small Voice

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

All this time I’ve had no doubt that the Lord is leading John.* I remember I was nervous because we were about to study about baptism, when out of his mouth came the words, “God has really been talking to me about having a fresh start, so I’m really thinking about getting baptized.” Right there and then, the nerves left me, because the Lord had gone ahead of me and prepared the way.

Many occasions like this have taken place as glimpses of God’s power in John’s life. And this time was no different—but the devil had to have his say also. 

“Karen, did you call me?”

“No, sister Evelyne, I didn’t. Is everything okay?” I responded.

“Well, my phone has been acting strangely all day and I thought maybe you had tried to call and couldn’t get through.”

Evelyne is a church member who goes with me when I study with John. It turned out her phone was acting like it had an alter ego, talking non-stop, but not permitting her access to any functions. (Technology ...) It’s a good thing she had another phone on hand. When we met, I turned the phone off and we headed to John’s. 

“The buzzer doesn’t seem to be ringing,” I reported with concern. 

“Try calling him,” came Evelyne’s response. Before I could call, I noticed a resident coming to the door to pick up a delivery order and she let us in. Praise God!

We got on the elevator with the same resident. She pressed 5 and we pressed 3, headed to the third floor. The elevator arrived at our floor, but the door wouldn’t open. Frantically, the resident rapidly pressed the “door open” button and muttered some Spanish words under her breath. 
I turned to sister Evelyne and quietly told her, “It’s the devil trying to stop us from getting to John’s apartment. Please pray.” Quietly we prayed in our hearts while the resident pressed the button. 

The elevator continued to the fifth floor, and we got off here and walked back down to the third floor. Praise God we made it to John’s apartment. Already I knew this was a key study for John. 

“Oh, Karen, I’m not too good today. I meant to call you earlier to cancel today, but I forgot,” was the response we got at the door from a clearly tired John. Attack number three. “Come on in.”

We sat with John and conversed a little. Pretty soon we found out the devil had been attacking him all week leading up to this lesson. Regardless of the attacks, when we told John about the buzzer and elevator, John also saw the works of the devil and was all the more determined to fight. So we began the lesson. 

“You know Karen, the Holy Spirit has really been talking to me about leaving my church.”

Wow, Holy Spirit, was my thought as I glanced down at our lesson that day—which was about God calling His people out of Babylon. It was an emotional lesson, friends, as tears rolled down John’s face, who now realized that he’d been lied to most of his life. With holy boldness he now spoke as one called out to stand with God, and as a missionary being sent to warn those who are still in spiritual Babylon.

Only God could put such a holy burden on John’s heart. John said, “Yup, that still small voice is telling me that this is the truth, and I just want to warn others.” He asked for a copy of the Great Controversy to share with his church bishop so that he can know what John’s learning, too. 

With the Holy Spirit sending out missionaries like John, I have no doubt in my mind that this gospel will reach all the world. 

Needless to say, when we left, not only was the elevator working, but it seems so was the buzzer. We were reminded that “no weapons formed against [us] shall prosper,” Isaiah 54:17.

*Name changed.

Right On Time

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Many of us have experienced being in the right place at the right time by God’s grace. 
I often desire to meet with Bible study contacts that have now transitioned to studying with church members, but I don’t always have a chance to meet with them because of conflicting schedules. Well, this week I had a few minutes before my first Bible study and decided to stop and see Jane* whose home was on the way.

“Karen! I was just praying telling God that I’d really like to see you and here you are!” I can’t tell you how good it felt to know that I was an answer to Jane’s prayer. With a good start to both our days, we prayed to thank God for bringing us together and went our separate ways.

Cory* had a rough week. Satan seemed to poke him from every direction, even using his friends against him. We reminded him that because he’s entered this journey with Christ, Satan is not pleased and will try everything he can to stop him.

Next, we studied about peace that can withstand the storms of life and when we left, he shared, “The moment I saw you at my door, I had peace. Thank you for coming.”

Dear friends, God wants to make us all answers to someone’s prayer. Will you partner with God today and allow Him to send you where He wants you to go?

*Names changed.

A Mother’s Prayer

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Cody’s* mother was a Seventh-day Adventist and she tried to introduce her son to her faith even though he chose his own path. At her passing more than 6 years ago, she left him only two things: her Bible and her SDA Hymnal, two gifts that Cody would cherish for years to come.

Then one day, her prayer was answered.

After a friend of ours in Cody’s Assisted Living home passed away, I attended his memorial service. There, by God’s grace, I was granted opportunity to share a few words to comfort the mourning residents. When the service had finished and the room soon cleared, I was met with the question, “You are Seventh-day Adventist, aren’t you?”

I drew closer to Cody wondering how he could have known. We sat down and he told me that the very message I shared was what his mother used to tell him. Cody had strayed, but God was calling him back. He told me about his hymnal and we sat and sang his favorite song, “It Is Well,” together. Before I left, we set a day to meet and study the following week. While Cody is one of many that God is sending our way in answer to our prayers, I often wonder what his mother’s reaction will be to not only meet Jesus in the clouds, but her son also on that glad morning. “What a day of rejoicing that will be.”

*Name changed.

A Neighbor’s Visits

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

We were in the middle of the lesson when Joy* said, “Oh, there’s something that happened this week that I need to tell you.”

It’s not often that Joy opens up, so we were all ears to hear her experience. 

“Remember my neighbor that lives below me?” We did. “Well, you know how she’s into horoscopes and all those things. She came up to my door the other day and started telling me how October is going to be a bad month for me.”

“The devil is a liar!”—was my first thought. Already I recognized the significance of her neighbor’s words.

She continued, “She has come up to my door and said this to me several times this week.” My Bible Work partner and I could hear the worry in her voice.

Without permitting another moment to pass, I quickly said, “Let’s pray about this.” And there in the middle of our lesson, us three ladies gathered with our heads bowed. We prayed in Jesus’ name that the power of Satan would be bound and leave the premise.

After we prayed, relief was back on Joy’s face and as we continued our lesson, she said with conviction on her face and new found strength: “You know, next time I see her, I’m going to tell her, ‘You are not allowed to say that to me anymore.’” Glory to God! Victory. 

As usual, Satan had come up like a flood looking to build Joy’s anxiety so she would be too scared to leave her home when the series began, but the Spirit of the Lord lifted up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19)! 

We left Joy’s house rejoicing at the victory won by the Lord and deeper awareness of how much Satan wants to stop the efforts in Boston. 

Dear brethren, the spiritual battle over God’s children in Boston is fierce, this being one example, but Jesus said, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

As you invite the Spirit of God to fight your battles against the forces of evil, please remember us also. 

I don’t know about you Christian soldiers, but I can’t wait to see what standard God will lift up from here until the end of the series to really put Satan to shame. Our God is mighty and He will fight for us.

*Name changed.

God was Using Me

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

Our training at the Boston Korean Church was only for one day, but we won’t forget the warm welcome we received from the Korean members. I especially befriended a young lady attending graduate school in the area. We’ll call her Gee.*

Gee and I both shared a missionary background and just “hit it off.” Gee told me that she’d reluctantly agreed to translate for the training and wished she’d been given more notice. Little did she know that in this apparent disorder, God was answering her prayer.

During the afternoon session, it was clear the Holy Spirit was touching many hearts through the speakers. You can guess who the chosen translator for the afternoon was—none other than Gee. As the training commenced I noticed frustration on her overwhelmed face, but no one could guess what happened next.

She started sobbing. “I'm sorry but ...” Before Gee could even finish she was sobbing again and several of us were trying to explain that the poor girl must be tired. Quickly, the church responded with another translator and an embarrassed Gee raced out of the room.

“Are you okay dear?” I followed and asked Gee.

“Yes, it’s just, when Jack was speaking, he said, ‘If you ask God, He can use you to minister to someone,’ and I realized then that God was using me, but I was too busy complaining to realize. I’ve been praying asking God to use me in some way and today He did.” She couldn’t hold back the tears of gratitude to the God who hears and answers our prayers. 

I praise God for Gee. Her testimony blessed me and taught me to pay attention to God using me even in the seemingly small things. He says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

For more stories from the Boston Korean training, see full article here.

*Name changed.

Catching the bus

This story by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

“Sorry, I can’t meet to study today,” my friend Jamal texted me one Wednesday afternoon. Needless to say, I was disappointed that our study wasn’t happening.

On my way home that evening, I was really impressed to stop at one more home and see if we could study, but the woman wasn’t home. “Maybe next time,” I thought to myself. Waiting at the bus stop to head home, I looked over and guess who was walking to the same bus stop—Jamal! 

“Now I know why I had to catch this bus,” I started as we both laughed at another of these God-appointed meetings. More evidence of God’s hand at work followed when we missed our connection and now had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. 

“You know, we could have had our study by now.”

Jamal thought about my words for a moment and soon we both had our Bibles out studying the signs of the times. My stop came first and as I watched the bus drive off, there were many still on the bus, but one stood out: a child of God, searching the Scriptures to know God while He may be found. 

You see, Jamal is someone who once chased money thinking it would satisfy and now genuinely desires a closer walk with the Lord. Though he had to work late and sadly miss our study, God had already set a better plan so Jamal wouldn’t miss his spiritual manna.

The following week he texted me confirming our study. “I know I need it,” he added. 

I believe Jamal has finally met with the Bread of Life that satisfies.

The Buddhist, the ex-Buddhist, and the Visit — Part 1

This story written by Karen Matambo, a Compassion Boston Bible Worker.

A week and a half ago, I met Jao* on the bus. He’s a Thai college student come to learn English for a few months. It just so happens that I can speak some Thai and I greeted him in his language. He was amazed. I told him I used to teach English and he asked me to help him practice. We exchanged contact information, and before leaving I invited him to church so he could meet more people to practice speaking with. Jao later said he’d like to go even though he’s Buddhist. That Sabbath we attended Boston Temple. Christianity was so new to him that he didn’t understand much, but Jao loved every moment of his time there. He met many people and talked with them. He loves to sing, so his favorite experience was praise and worship time. 

At the end Jao asked me, “So, are we coming back next week?”

*Names have been changed.