What happens when 1,500 people who share the Good News overseas meet for worship, training, encouragement and fun? Such an event happened this year and I was privileged to participate! I would love to share my reflections on this deeply impacting experience:
Such a meeting is like a family reunion! Old friends who have not seen one another in a long time reunite and share their joys and challenges. Families reconnect and are amazed at how the kids have grown. They listen to one another’s stories and share hugs, laughter, tears and pray together. Relationships are strengthened and new memories are made. The empathy and closeness of identity creates a unifying bond.
A great spirit of worship prevails in such gatherings. Due to living in locations where freedom and openness about being a follower of Jesus is often difficult, this large ‘family’ devours sessions devoted to scripture, singing, praying, laments, celebrations and expressions of faith. Gathering like this is rare and gratitude for the privilege overflows! Each worship service is faith buildingas stories of struggle and victory are shared.
Funding such a meeting is expensive, so the days are maximized with hours of training! I loved the work we accomplished as groups, learning culturally appropriate techniques to communicate Good News. While I learned a lot, I cannot imagine putting it to use in some of the world’s most difficult languages, as many in this family are doing. I am amazed at their knowledge and hard work.
A tremendous amount of security is involved in such a meeting. Evil is stalking the messengers of the Gospel. While not afraid, we are smart and take precautions.
Generous, generous giving by people in the U.S. is required to hold such a meeting. For all who fund the work of those who take the gospel to the nations, I am grateful. Without the generous donations of churches and Christians, those called to the nations could not complete their work. I appreciate the privilege of attending this meeting and the funding from Faith Foundry that allowed me to participate.
Finally, I am humbled to serve as a prayer advocate for the peoples of the Middle East. While these are difficult days in many nations across the Middle East and North Africa, many are praying for a harvest of souls. May the Spirit turn people’s hearts toward the Savior who loves them. Regardless of the headlines, may we function in this reality:
For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son. Whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life…Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. John 3.16 and Matthew 28.19-20