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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Green

Lessons From Shelling Peanuts

This summer, our student ministry took a team of students to Zambia. This trip was a dream come true for me. I’ve had the desire to do missions in Africa since the 9th grade – so this was a dream 18 years in the making. Only God can write stories where He puts something on your heart and is faithful 18 years later to bring it to fruition.

There were so many things about this trip that were profoundly impactful to my faith and our team and hopefully to the people we shared the Gospel with. But one of the most memorable moments of the summer was while we were shelling peanuts. That’s right, peanuts. Well, ok they were technically groundnuts but they’re in the peanut family and you’re more likely to know what I’m talking about if I say peanuts.

I traveled all summer with mission trips and camps; I’ve been to a lot of places over the past twelve months and done a lot of fun things. But when I reflect on my year, shelling groundnuts stands out as one of my favorite moments. Let me explain.

In the middle of our week in Zambia, the ladies from the ministry took just us girls and taught us how to make a traditional Zambian meal. Part of their meal was making a sort of flour out of groundnuts. So, our group of girls and three or four ladies from the ministry sat around for the morning making food. It allowed us to be still, to talk – sharing our lives, asking questions – while completing something productive. We talked of marriage traditions and how the ladies met their husbands and all the things girls of every age talk about. There was giggling, reflection, and learning from each other. I sat there thinking about how sacred of a moment it was. This was true community – no rush to get somewhere or an agenda for talking, just sharing our lives through stories.

Stories. They’re the reason we love a good campfire. Sure, the s’mores are tasty, but when you really think about it, we love campfires because of the moments around them. We’re drawn to stories.

We were created to share stories. From the beginning of time, humans have been sharing life through stories. we love to know what’s going on with one another. We love the juicy drama of who is crushing on who or how you got that crazy scar. We are made to connect through stories.

That’s why I love today’s podcast. We get to hear a testimony – a story of how Mike Gould's life was changed. Listen here!

Which is all a testimony is – how your story and God’s story intersect. We love to hear the crazy testimonies of a wild past, but what I love even more is that everyone has a testimony. Everyone who has encountered Jesus is changed because encountering Jesus changes everything. And so, it’s essential for us to share our testimonies. Testimonies break down walls – between friends and between strangers.

While we were on mission trips this summer, we asked students to prepare their testimonies. We had them share at school assemblies and church services. It was incredible to see how God used those stories to draw others to Him. It drew our team closer together because we knew what others had been through. But it also gave people listening the opportunity to see how God could work in their lives – through depression or loneliness. Testimonies share how only God can fill the void in our lives.

Billy Graham once said, “The unbelieving world should see our testimony lived out daily because it just may point them to the Savior.”

I love that. For so long I believed the lie that my testimony was boring and insignificant. I was a church girl that knew at a young age that Jesus was real, and He died for my sins. Which at that point included being a little defiant and lying to my parents about biting my (toothless) little brother’s stretch arm strong man, ruining it (spoiler – if you’re going to lie make it believable – the teeth marks stayed, so you can imagine who got the spanking for lying…this girl).

I didn’t have a biker gang past. I believed the lie that I shouldn’t tell others because my story was boring.

But here’s the best news – there’s power in the fact that because of Jesus Christ, my life is changed! When we tell the story of what God’s done, we give honor and glory to Him, and I know He is pleased with that. It doesn’t matter how glamorous or how ordinary we think our testimony is, it tells the world of God’s character.

1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples.”

And then Psalm 66:16 says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul.”

Isn’t it good to share what God has done for our souls! And looking at scripture, it seems to me that we’re commanded to make God’s deeds known to others. The apostles in Acts said they couldn’t help but declare the works of Jesus to others! Like it was bursting out of their mouths. The works of the Father should overflow out of us.

We’ve got to become people who regularly share our stories. Your story matters. God has a purpose for you and part of that is to tell your friends and family what He’s done for you. To make His deeds known among the people!

We have the best news! We have freedom in Christ- forgiveness of sins – we should never be ashamed or afraid to share that!

God is going to continue writing your story. But no story is boring if God’s the star. So, you share your story and make His name known with it!

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