Dr. William Leslie came from Ontario, Canada. He was a pharmacist. After he came to Christ in 1888, he began to serve as a medical missionary with the American Baptist Missionary Union. He served overseas for 35 years. For the last 17 years, he worked with tribal people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He returned home a very discouraged man. There was virtually no “fruit” for his years of labor. All the efforts to share the gospel seemed to come to naught. For the last nine years of his life, he was convinced that he had been a failure as a missionary.
Fast forward to 2010 when missionaries from Mission Aviation Fellowship and the Tom Cox World Ministries visited the Congo and spent time along the Kwilu River, across from Vanga, where Leslie had served.
That team made a shocking discovery. “They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle. Each village had its own choir, although they wouldn’t call it that. They wrote their own songs and would have sing-a-longs village to village.”
Scattered across 34 miles, there were eight churches flourishing. There was even a “stone cathedral” in one of the villages.
Apparently Leslie only spent a month in that part of the Congo. But he taught the Bible, and organized a rudimentary educational system among the children so they could learn to read the scriptures for themselves.
Leslie died not knowing that God had taken his meager efforts and multiplied the results many times over. His “mustard seed” of faith had been planted and the harvest was abundant.
This story reminds me of the assurance Isaiah gave in Isaiah. 55:11 “… my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Maybe this week, you are wondering if God is using you in any significant way. You may feel that your spiritual investment in family and friends is returning void.
But it isn’t. God takes our usefulness and availability and blesses it. He multiplies its effect and promises to use it for His purposes. Leslie had an amazing impact on the villages in the Congo. If you let Him, God will bless you, in your neck of the woods too!