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Witnessing and bananas

E. Allen Sorum, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., shares his simple witnessing strategy in the October article, "Human evangelism." Here's the sidebar from that article explaining what the strategy looks like in Kenya.

Last fall when I was teaching pastors and evangelists at our sister synod Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ–Kenya, I shared [my] approach to human evangelism. After discussing the details of the approach, we decided to experiment in the city that was hosting us. The task was to start a conversation, listen carefully, and respond appropriately. To be human.

The next day, we all gathered to share our stories. Pastor George came back with a report on his African variation on the “How are you doing?” question. He approached a vendor in the market and asked, “Why are your bananas so small?” The woman selling the bananas was nicked by the question. With sadness, she described to Pastor George how the drought in Kenya was causing hardship. Though the drought was not as severe in her region, there was still insufficient rain to produce a full-sized banana. After Pastor George listened carefully and compassionately to her struggle, he asked if he could share what was helping him get through the economic hardships of these times.

Pastor George was allowed to share, and his audience had grown. Other vendors heard him witnessing to the woman selling small bananas. His entire “congregation” was struggling with the impact of drought and received Pastor George’s witness with gratitude. It felt like rain to them. In this case, the Lutherans in this town were later able to follow up on those vendors.

All because of a simple, human question.
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