I’m here in a very beautiful part of SE Asia. In this land filled with such natural and cultural beauty, there is an evident covering of darkness and lostness.
For decades now, A massive crackdown on religious freedom has been underway, where churches are being demolished, Bibles confiscated and posters of Jesus replaced with portraits of government leaders. In this country, the government sees the spread of the Christian faith as a threat to their culture and way of life.
12 Years ago we were called to sacrifice much to the call of international missions. Since our return to America, The doors that God had opened to us have remained open in this closed country. Now through Awakening Church in Bellevue, WA…God has called us to faithfully do our part.
I often preach about the obligation of every believer to be involved in missions. It is not difficult to find a text to emphasize this biblical truth. There is much in the Bible that demands that the Gospel be preached to every person in every generation. I preach much on both of these subjects. But, my favorite subject is the joy of missions.
In order for the Gospel to be preached to all nations and tribes, three things are necessary as far as man’s part is concerned. Someone must go. Many must pray. Many must give. When someone commits himself to go and others promise to pray and give, it brings great joy. The faithful missionary William Carey said,
Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.
Because of the nature of our God…we should be willing to attempt anything and everything possible to get the hope of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Our main focus in this SE Asia country is to train and empower indigenous leaders. Our ministry is more about teaching others to fish, rather than bringing back my own prize-wining catch. What I’ve learned is that missionary service is…well, service. It’s others-centered. It’s not glamorous. It’s about finding joy in the trenches. To put the work of the Gospel first, essentially means that I must learn to place the ministry of others above my own ministry.
As we encourage a tired and discouraged group of church leaders, I urge you to pray. Pray for big faith, endurance, encouragement and joy as they give it all for the sake of the gospel. Missionaries are real people with real doubts, fears, challenges, and struggles. They face spiritual battles, cultural and language barriers, and physical exhaustion. They need our prayers to face each day with wisdom, grace, and strength from the all-powerful God. Thanks for partnering with us as we do all we can to impact the nations with the gospel of Jesus.