The small group worshipping in a Kenyan home paid little attention when they heard noises outside the door.
As is the custom in Kenya, they had all taken off their shoes when they arrived, so were sitting barefoot as they sang and prayed together.
But when the noises got a little louder, the home owner popped outside to check - and was horrified to discover several pairs of shoes had gone.
She rushed back inside to tell the group but they decided there was little they could do, so they carried on with their meeting.
A little while later, they were again disturbed by the noise outside. This time, they dashed outside and saw a man running off with the best pair of shoes, which belonged to the pastor.
They cried out: “Stop, thief!” and passers-by gave chase. They caught the man quickly, grabbing him and forcing him to the ground. They started to beat him badly and someone produced a rope, perhaps to hang him.
The small group of worshippers arrived and were horrified to see what was happening.
They urged the group to stop beating him, but the crowd insisted he needed to be punished.
Then the small group pastor took charge, saying: “We have forgiven him, so there is no crime for him to answer to.”
Eventually, he was able to persuade the crowd to disperse, leaving the thief alone with the small church group.
They talked to him gently and asked what had happened. He thanked them for saving his life and then led the group to where he had hidden the shoes.
The thief is not yet a Christian, but he has seen the love and forgiveness of Christ in action. Even now, the group is looking for more opportunities to witness to him.
Thank God for the small group programme which is rolling out across Kenya
For the thief, that he might come to know Jesus as his Saviour
For the small group members, that they might continue to be a beacon of hope