Following the call to share God’s word in another culture is difficult and many workers report times of fatigue and disconnection. But the hopeful message of God’s redemption is more powerful than any discouragement. Followers of Christ can put their trust in a God who has called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). Below are three stories which speak of that light.
By Phil, RMM worker in Spain
John Calvin observed that “the story of the church is a story of many resurrections.” We can certainly see that on a macro level through the last two thousand years of church history. Periods of time in which the church has been faithful to the Lord and his word and God’s kingdom on earth has flourished, have been eclipsed by times of apostasy and unfaithfulness. Miraculously, the church has, time and time again, been lifted out of its malaise and restored to fruitful ministry by the intervention of God’s Spirit.
On a more modest level, we feel we have seen something of a resurrection in our own ministry situation here. The Farm School Project, to connect the local Christian camp ministry to the public schools, has been through many difficult times when we thought the project was dead.
Not least of these was when the director, Antonio Cherino, had to be laid off by the camp due to lack of funding. But there have been other obstacles and hurdles along the way. The Springs of Life camp had to get its facilities up to the requirements necessary for hosting people from the general public. The sewage system, kitchen facilities, water treatment system, dining area, and grounds of the camp all had to be improved, and approved, by the local authorities before the Farm School could open. Time and again it seemed that the project would get hung up on this hurdle or that hurdle.
So, we were both grateful and amazed recently when the Farm School Project was not only able to establish a legal basis for hosting schools at the Springs of Life camp but also contracted with a public school to bring seventy-five students to the camp for a day of learning in the outdoors at the camp. Hopefully, this will create a relational link between these school children, who have had little exposure to the gospel, and the Springs of Life camp.
Can you think of something God restored in your life that you once thought was dead? Please join us in praising a God who can redeem any situation.
Melodies of Truth
By Morgan, REACH Team Thailand
We recently spent an evening working with NightLight International, an organization that seeks to reach, rescue, and restore those in the sex industry in Bangkok. I started out feeling frazzled from the rush of setting up as we were running behind, and what seemed like a million little things playing in the back of my mind. We stopped for a quick time to pray, but I couldn’t help but feel distracted. However, as we played our music and the melodies rolled into the streets, finding the ears of those passing by on the sidewalks and causing them to stop in their tracks to listen, it made me think…how often am I just going about life, minding my own business, not stopping long enough to hear what the father is speaking?
“Be still and know.”
With a handful of songs behind us, I took a deep breath. I was reminded that it is not I who does anything, but the Father. I felt my spirit relax and the atmosphere around me change. There is something powerful about singing truth in a place that seems overcome by darkness. It speaks hope. Sometimes I wish I could see what is happening in the hearts of those passing by and the path that they have walked, but I trust that the Father is drawing them near, planting seeds that will one day take root. How often do I wander the “streets” in my life, minding my own business? Focused on the wrong things and caught in a distracted, pre-occupied state, the Father, in a moment’s notice, sings melodies of truth into my being. He captivates me. He causes me to stop in my tracks. He stirs a curiosity and wonder in my spirit. He speaks truth.
“You are my beloved.
I will lead you.
I am with you.
You are not alone.
The battle is won.”
Please keep this team, and all of the REACHers, in your prayers as they finish outreach and return to Columbus. Pray that they stay connected to Jesus during this turbulent time and make good connections and plans for the future.
Laying a Foundation in the Middle East
By Jerry, RMM Mediterranean Regional Director
The Apostle Paul had amazing insight. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth…For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:6-7, 11)
All our striving to find the perfect methodology, the perfect missiological approach, the perfect form of church seems to miss the point: We already have the perfect Savior. Moreover, when we continuously think (and argue) that if only others would do things our way we would see greater results, we aren’t much different than the disciples arguing about who is the greatest. Planting churches amongst unreached people groups is hard work – impossible, actually, apart from divine intervention. May we humbly cry out for more of Jesus! May we agree with him that, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” May we wholeheartedly believe his promise, “If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.”
“May we wholeheartedly believe his promise, ‘If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.’”
I recently had the privilege of spending ten days in the Middle East. It was great to reconnect with Esta* and Judah and Rayna,* as well as numerous church leaders through connections made by Emmanuel and Jill*. It was great being able to travel with Emmanuel and Jill, and also to benefit from their extensive network of connections in the Middle East.
It is very encouraging to see a growing movement to Jesus in the Middle East. There is an online atheist club in a big city there with over 10,000 members, and recently the leader of that group came to faith through watching a Christian TV broadcast. Although they call themselves atheists, it’s quite possible that they are more anti-Islam than anti-God. When we attended church at the fellowship in that city, another member of that same atheist club stopped by after the service. The pastor talked with him for close to two hours, sharing what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The young man sat in rapt attention, often asking questions. May God call forth new sons and daughters out of this darkness!
As we see this hopeful situation unfold in the Middle East, pray for continued endurance for believers in this region.
*names changed and last names omitted for security