I just returned from spending a week in East Asia. As with any overseas encounter, my heart is still full from the ways our team was able to sow the seed of the Gospel and witness how God’s glory is being revealed to the nations. There are many ways I cannot share specifics, but I want to take the opportunity to give you some of the highlights we witnessed.
1) On our first day, we met a young woman who teaches in a university. Not only does she teach, but she is opening a Christian bookstore in her home town. Because of her bold witness, she teaches a class on Bible and culture. Our team had the incredible privilege of sitting with students in small groups and answering their questions about the Bible. When asked the question, “How many of you have heard John 3:16?” only two out of 90 students raised their hands. We knew God had given us a tremendous opportunity to share.
2) Meeting several workers and their families. I’m not sure if you personally know a missionary, but after meeting several workers, I’m impressed more than ever with their competence and boldness. Many were young families (with lots of preschool children!) who are being obedient to the call of Christ. They are smart. They are humble and they represent you well. To connect a face with your prayers is very powerful. I will treasure my times of conversation with them.
3) Worshipping with Asian believers. Our team met with a group of believers for lunch. We ate together, shared our stories and sang in our heart languages. It was a small picture of heaven. Hearing from a pastor’s wife who has spent two weeks in prison for her faith gives me the desire to have more courage in the face of persecution.
4) Practicing English and engaging in conversations with Asians. Young people in Asia are anxious to learn oral English and we stood outside in the cold just answering their questions and helping them become better English communicators. We watched the Holy Spirit turn ordinary conversations into God conversations.
5) Handing out 1,200 New Testaments in one morning as we stood at a popular tourist site that allows Gospel distribution. Knowing where those Bibles are going is an encouragement to remember God’s word never returns void.
6) Having a passion for the cities. While there is much emphasis on unreached people groups, there is still a huge need among the heavily populated cities in Asia. I’m not against the strategy to “go where no man has gone before”, but we can’t neglect cities of 14 million people where 99 percent do not know Christ. Let’s not be unbalanced in the approach to reach all peoples.
7) Gaining a heart for the deaf people of the world. Meeting two of our workers whose primary responsibility is working with those who cannot hear made a huge impact on my heart. Our team wept as we prayed for these two short-term workers and the harvest that is before them. God is doing a mighty work with this affinity group.
Finally, one of the precious parts of last week was the time spent with the women on my team–including my 16-year-old daughter. I know trips change lives as the Gospel is presented. But, short term missions changes those who go. I believe the women who went on my team will never pray the same, give the same or consider the lost in the same way.
How is God calling you to be involved in missions? Will you pray? Will you give? Will you go? Sow the seed and see God at work.