John 10 - "The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The door keeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.....The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away..."
When I was in Brazil this past year, in the middle of July, God showed me something that I had always heard and read about. But I had never actually seen it for myself.
It was my last day at the church that I was working with. Priscila and I - Priscila was my interpreter - were told that we could just relax for that afternoon because we didn't have anymore visits. We were through. And as bad as this may sound, I was so glad. I was just exhausted. But right after lunch we were told that they had scheduled one more house for us to tell the people about God. Honestly I didn't think that I had much more to offer. But of course I couldn't turn them down. So we went. And Priscila and I told the man and wife, and their little grandson about God. And they were saved!!! It was wonderful!! And God totally came through for us as soon as we walked through their door. I never doubted that He would. But the weariness came as soon as we got up to leave.
Now this man was a farmer....as were a lot of people in this particular area...and he wanted to show me his whole place! (smile) He was very proud of what he had. Though it was little, he took care of what he had and he enjoyed every bit of it. He had to show me all of his garden, and ALL of his animals. He had everything from pigs to chickens, and even a donkey. But the last thing that he showed me, as he was saving his best for last, were his sheep.
Now these sheep were in the far end of the field and I really couldn't get a good look at them. But why would you want to? They're sheep.....nasty, stupid sheep.
At this point I am almost oblivious to everything that is going on around me.....they're all talking in Portuguese and frankly I'm just tired! But something catches my eye. As I was just numbly gazing at the sheep, I notice something around one of their necks. As I begin to concentrate on it, I realized that it was a really thick branch that had been shaped into a V that was tied around it's neck with a piece of rope. ( I really don't know how it was in a V shape unless he took two branches and tied them together. But it doesn't matter! (smile)
This was the funniest thing to me. I don't know if it was because I was so tired or what? But Priscila and I wanted to take a picture of this. So we pulled our cameras out. :) Now the little boy...who was probably 5 years old...saw that we wanted to take pictures and began to call the sheep closer. He yelled really loud..some of them lifted their heads to look but then went right back to eating....some even moved farther away!
We put our cameras up because we really couldn't get a good shot. Now, the farmer saw this. But he was quiet during the whole thing....just listening to my Brazilian mom talk...and boy can she!! :) But when there was a break, he began to yell out! I jerked and looked at him. And he was facing the sheep. They began lifting their heads and looking in our direction. And with no hesitation at all, began moving toward us. The man was still calling out to them.....Priscila was standing in front of me......Now remember that I can't understand anything that is being said, because by the end of that week, I stopped trying....Priscila turned and looked at me with this surprised but joyful look on her face! With tears in her eyes and a smile on her face she said, "He's calling them by name."
Natalie Y. Hill