Several years ago I made my first trip to the West African nation of Cameroon. I vividly remember stepping off the plane into the warm, muggy night air as I made my way down the steps. You could smell that familiar burning smell of ash that is recognizable throughout most of Africa. As I walked down a long entry corridor at the airport something caught my eye at the end of the hallway. It was an oversized clock- literally stuck in time. The time was wrong and it was obvious no one had bothered to fix it.
Fast forward one year later. I stepped off the plane, once again visiting the country of Cameroon. I walked down that familiar corridor and there was that clock again. The time on the clock read the same time as it did a year ago, still the wrong time!
Something about this simple broken clock began to bother me in a profound way. “They’ve got to fix the clock! Someone has got to take responsibility and make it right!” This was not just some little thing. It was a microcosm of Africa. Broken infrastructure, broken systems, broken lives. The enemy’s playground. But I know the gospel has been preached in Africa! I know there are Christ-following brothers and sisters in Cameroon! They are called to rise up and bring redemptive healing to their land.
On that second trip I had the opportunity to speak to two hundred Christian Cameroonian businesspeople. They were gathered for our Global Advance Marketplace Conference. I told the story of the clock and spoke a prophetic word. “It’s time to fix the clock!” Something resonated in the hearts of those precious Cameroonian business people that day. God was stirring something in them too. They committed to be a change agent within their sphere of influence as the Spirit of God would lead them. It was no longer ok to accept things the way they are because “this is Africa”.
We’ve stayed in relationship with many from this group in Cameroon for nearly ten years. Yes things are still broken all around but Jesus is on the move. We’ve heard story after story of redemption and healing as these wonderful men and women have stepped out in faith. One businessman, a Cocoa distributor, has provided housing and education for farmers and their children. Another lady who was at the conference has led several co-workers to Christ, through her proactively showing love and concern.
Oh, and somebody who had a connection with an airport official, saw to it that the clock was indeed fixed!
All I’m saying is that we can’t fix the whole world, but we can be a conduit of Christ’s redemptive work in the earth through our own sphere of influence. What redemptive work is Jesus wanting to do in and through you today?
By: Jonathan Shibley
President, Global Advance