Thursday, July 27, 2017

Strong National Believers

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. Acts 16:5

Team of the Day: Mountain Harvesters
Country of the Day: Philippines

Pray for the strengthening of national believers in the areas where team members are ministering.

Whether Short or Long

This past week seemed to be packed full of important moments, and sped by as we just tried to keep up. We said goodby to our "Senegalese mom" as she headed out of the city, had long conversations with the students where we shared the Gospel, held  the last of our summer classes, and stayed up late one night to go listen to a student play jazz at a restaurant in town. Every day that goes by just seems to show us more and more how precious these people have become to us, and as our time to leave comes closer we are desperate to use every moment of every day. 

When talking to one student, he told me that he believed the Bible to be truth. He said that the Bible held the answers to how you should live your life, and I stood waiting for him to tell me that he had made a decision to follow Christ. That moment didn't come, though, and it seems to me that he and others here are stuck between understanding the importance of the Gospel but being unwilling to give up everything they would lose if they chose to follow Christ. 

The missionaries in this area have been ministering long and hard, waiting for there to be a response. Even in the short time we have been here our team has come to realize that as Paul says in Acts, "whether short or long" we only hope that the people we have come to care about will make that decision to surrender their lives to Christ. Whether it takes twenty days or twenty years, we pray that God would move in the hearts of these people. 

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for the missionaries here, that they would continue to minister even when there seems to be little response.
  • Please pray for the student mentioned above (M), that he would make the decision to give his life to Christ. 
-English in Africa

The Great Commission is even for home!


Man, this summer has been a blessing. God has been answering lots of prayers and has been working in people here on the island. We just want to take a moment to give praise God for being with us in our adventure here on this island. 

When we reflect on what God has done, we’ve come to realize how little faith I had in him back home. Because of what He has done for us, I am motivated to continue His work and take it seriously when we get back home. Sometimes, we fall into our responsibilities that we have in our lives by doing these things if we are certain that we are getting that. In reality, God has a plan, and our plan is way different than His. We need to come to terms that planning things is an ok thing to do, but God has a greater purpose for all of us to do and those things do not matter at all. 

What matters is going out to the nations and making disciples. However, you don’t need to go on a short-term mission trip and travel halfway around the world to fulfill the Great Commission. We are called to share the Gospel anywhere we are. Everything that we have learned on this trip will not be forgotten and we will bring it back home to share with our friends and families. Even though I miss my home, I rather sacrifice my own comfort and take action to do what God has called us. I ask that you pray for our team as we spend these last days here on the island and that God will continue to use us till the end.

-Johann M.

Share the Blessings

This past Sunday, we had an outreach to one of the house parent's communities after being so blessed by the Lord we were able to give back to. We spent Sunday morning preparing for it by packing 8 giant batches of pancit noodles into 300 to-go boxes and taping straws to Zest-Os  (orange drink).

At 2pm, we headed to the community where some of us played games and sang songs with the kids while the others were ministering to the parents and sharing their stories with them. We handed each kid a goody bag filled with school supplies, toys, and Koko Krunch, and each parent got a goody bag filled with toiletries. 

I got to speak and play with some really cool kids, then one of the boys from our children's home who has grown deep in my heart, came over and wanted to see what I was doing and I realized he doesn't really know what to do when you are the foreign one and you are there to serve. I told him just to introduce himself, at first, he was a little shy, but then I pretended that I was the one talking and said "Hi! I'm *his name* and I'm 11 and I'm super cool and fun, what's your name?" and I think he thought I was being silly so he fixed the conversation and was a complete natural after that. It was so cool seeing him starting conversations and being aware that he's here to not just give the kids gifts and food but to also be a light in their lives. 

Praise the Lord for the community outreach going well and for the youth from the children's home who came along being so obedient and willing to serve even though they were exhausted and hot! 

PRAYER REQUEST: This is our last week here in the Philippines and the children's home, so please pray for us, as a team, to stay present and available to the children and staff here.

-Alex

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Airplanes and Faith

Our team lives near the airport. So the sound of airplanes landing and taking off is a constant one in our tiny apartment. It seems though, that as our time to leave Thailand draws nearer, the sound of each airplane gets louder and louder. It’s a daily reminder that I will soon be leaving behind the city I have called home for 2 months.

With this constant reminder, my team and I were discussing how we feel about going home. All I was able to come up with was a “I don’t know.” Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see my family and friends. But I am equally, if not more so, burdened over this city and the amount of work that still needs to be done.  It seems that everywhere we turn there is darkness: the girl in the bar, finding her worth by earthly standards. The young child, learning from his parents how to properly bow to the golden image set before him. The face of the man riding his motorcycle, empty and as hopeless as they come. The harvest certainly is plentiful, and leaving it behind has been a hard reality for me to grasp.

In 7 days, I will board an airplane that will carry me back home. I cannot avoid this. But I also cannot ignore the darkness I have seen here. Nor do I want to. And so, with the reality of going home so close, my team is praying boldly, full of faith and expectation. We are praying for more opportunities. Praying that our friends we have come to love so dearly will choose to follow Jesus, forsaking all the idols and good works they have known for the majority of their lives. We are praying, all the while clinging to the promise that the Word of God will not return void (Isaiah 55:11). We believe and know that even though our time in Thailand may be coming to an end, Jesus is far from finished with His work here.

In our last week of ministry, here are some ways you can be praying:
  • Opportunities to share with our new friend Aae.
  • The English classes we have started and the Bible study we are able to have with the women.
  • For our team to have faith and peace in the work Jesus will continue here in Thailand as we prepare to come back home.
-Kenzie


Farming in Africa

Through being in Zimbabwe, God has confirmed the plans He has for me for at least the next few years; I am going to school to be an Agronomist. Not only is there a need for Agronomist in the states but also in Zimbabwe. The soil here is very sandy, not the most suitable for growing crops.The irrigation of water here is not as widely used as it should be, one of the main reasons being the cost and not having the ability to get money and resources. Also people here need to learn to how utilize their biggest energy source, the sun. I have seen seen several small farms using some sort of solar power but there are still many areas that would benefit from the use of solar power.

In saying all that, I feel as though my purpose is to become an Agronomist so I can come back to Zim and teach the people how to help themselves, meaning, teach them better, more economical farming methods. I'm proud of my American roots because without them, God wouldn't have shown me this awesome opportunity and career path. I'm thankful that I can use my passion for farming to help the people at home and across the world.

Please pray that other people with farming backgrounds and mindsets would realize the needs in area like this and that they would use their skills to help the people help themselves. Also, pray that God would open up opportunities for me to come back to Zim as well as opening the doors to other placs so that I can help the people help themselves.

-Lindsay

Believers Encouraging Believers

This past week our team has been evangelizing on the campus of RUPP in Cambodia. Every day we have spent 5-6 hours just going up to students asking if we can sit and talk with them. Eventually we share the Gospel and talk about their religious background. 99% of the people we talk to are Buddhist and always have been. Honestly, it can be pretty exhausting... and leave you feeling defeated. 

One morning, Jadyn and I were feeling the lack of sleep and were really praying for a good conversation. The day before we had talked to a lot of people, but we were hoping for quality over quantity. Our second conversation was two girls (M & L) who seemed excited to talk with us. We quickly found out M was actually a believer and L was Buddhist. 

The next two hours we spent eating ice cream, laughing, and sharing all that the Lord has done in our lives. M is 19 and is studying English at RUPP. She has been a believer for 2 years and has since led her two younger siblings and cousin to Christ. Her parents are Buddhist but are indifferent towards her believing. She said at first they were not happy, but now they see the difference in her.

Before she became a Christian, she applied to leave Cambodia. She failed the interview so was not allowed the future she had once hoped for. As a follower of Christ now, she knows that it was the Lord's will that kept her from being accepted. If she had left, she may have never came to a saving faith in Jesus and her family members would definitely not be believers. She feels called to be a missionary here in Cambodia. She serves in her church on the worship band and helps with children. Her heart is so evident and the time we spent with her was a huge encouragement to us as we hope to her too. And about L, she simply said, "I'm just not ready yet". 

I pray that the Lord would do an inner work in her life, so that she may have the same hope we share. The hope that crosses all cultural differences and language barriers. 
Pray specifically for M to continue to be bold in her faith. If L spends much time with her, I can't help but pray that L will want what the hope that M has. When I say M's joy is contagious, I'm talking like real contagious!! That's the joy of the Lord down in her soul! 

We were able to have some more evangelistic conversations later that day, but the Lord knew what our hearts needed to be refilled. Going home is always easier when you know that there are native believers pouring out their hearts and fighting for the Gospel. 

-Multinational Advance

Abounding Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight... Philippines 1:9

Team of the Day: Spice Island
Country of the Day: Southeast Asia

Pray for abounding love in the lives of team members to the glory and praise of the Heavenly Father.

Perseverance to Finish the Race: Advance Team

I thank the Lord for continually leading, guiding and giving us the perseverance to press on as we continue to spread the gospel to everyone and teaching the truth.its such a great privilege that we have been given many opportunities to share the good news to several group of people and with the increasing number of bible study contacts we have for now.its so vivid that the people are really in hunger for God's word and in need of someone who could be like "Philip" one who could help them understand what the writing (bible) mean. the people whom the team have encountered were very grateful and joyful as they perceived us as messengers of God's word. truly, the grains are ready to harvest and there's a need for laborers to do God's work. May you be with us in our prayer, as we ask the Lord to strengthen the team and make us always sensitive enough as we continue and even complete the task God appointed us even in just a short period of time or days left . let's pray together that may our sovereign God will continue to heal or let the Spiritually blind to see and the deaf to hear so they can know, understand and live the word of truth and live with hope through the only life-saver, Jesus Christ.
-Noemi

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Friends Forever

I looked at him and asked, "C, are we friends?" His honest self said, "Well, I've only known you an hour, but we'll be friends forever." To have such an instant connection with a pal my first day in Cambodia (7/2) made my heart skip a beat. He questioned my intentions from the beginning though. As soon as he asked how long I'd be here, he wanted to know when I'd be back. 

At the time, our team was only spending one day in Phnom Penh before leaving for the village for two weeks. So as soon as we met we had to say goodbye for a little while. When our big bus came rolling back to Phnom Penh on July 16th, C was waiting for me. He knew I'd be back. We hung out a few minutes before he had to leave, but my heart was longing to know this kid more. His life. His heart. 

On Saturday, our team had some down time, and I was in my usual spot on the balcony writing in my journal and reading my Bible. Honestly, it was grand. After a busy week evangelizing on the campus of RUPP, I was soaking in the rest and quiet. 

Five minutes in though, I hear, "Kara, come unlock the door. I came to play with you." Looking through the peephole was C. He joined me on the balcony for the next three hours as we talked about everything, played Uno, and drank coconut water. This 13 year old boy poured out his life and his heart to me. I had prayed for this conversation. 

He has been coming to the church we are partnered with for 5 years but was not yet a believer. During our three hours together, we talked a lot about what it looks like to follow Jesus. I asked him the hard questions and vice versa. It was clear he knew the truth and was ready to accept. I asked him if he was ready, and he said "yes but I will do it tomorrow at church with all of my friends there". I was hesitant because I know tomorrow isn't promised, but thanks be to the Lord that at church this morning C became my brother in Christ. We really will be friends forever. I am abundantly thankful for those moments in life that may seem like interruptions that are truly divine interventions. 

-Multinational Advance

On the Streets of Southeast Asia

In our city, there are a variety of ways to get from one place to another. Walking, driving cars and riding motorbikes seem to be the most popular. People are everywhere. Whether they are busy heading to meetings, food breaks or work, busyness is all around us. The local people enjoy seeing us because we definitely stand out and they can obviously assume we are foreigners. Sometimes they will stare at us so long that they come close to running into whatever is in front of them!

There are many, many businesses that are actually very small shops, but because of the way they are built, they appear squished together. Sometimes it is hard to tell when one shop ends and another begins. All in between the shops along the streets are houses that have been built with their walls actually being part of the shop next door. Most malls have been built with parking garages attached. They have many levels as well as parking on each level. There are specific places to park cars and specific places to park motorbikes. The malls are full of many different types of stores, in fact, some are American chain stores that have branched out into Southeastern Asia. Of course, there are Starbucks, Burger King, McDonalds and KFC. I think those fast food places are pretty much all over the world. It is probably a better question to ask where they are not a part of the culture? One additional observation, we got to experience going to the cinema where we were able to watch the new “Transformers” movie. Well, you can choose to see it in 2D, 3D and 4D. The 4D is quite unique. The seats move, water is sprayed on you, puffs of air shoot through the seats and you get little punching sensations on your back.

We have been so fortunate to get opportunities to experience this very diverse country and all that it has to offer. We have grown to love and enjoy the people that we work with and the new friends we have made. They are truly special and will now hold a very place in our hearts.

-Great Commission English Center

Understanding and Reception

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the Word and understands it. Matthew 13:23

Team of the Day: Riverboat
Country of the Day: Philippines

Pray for understanding and reception of the Gospel by the lost as team members share the Gospel.

House to House

Early in the week our host mom told us Saturday we would be doing house to house visitation with the students’ families . We were both so excited to see some of our students’ houses and be able to interact with their families. We went to the market early to get some soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar to make small gift bags for the families. As we went to different houses in the village we asked if we could pray for them. Most of them asked for us to pray for good health, their sick loved ones, work, and to be able to allow their children to finish their education.  Most of the houses had small temples in there yard where they will offer sacrifices to the gods. Every family was very welcoming. One family even offered to have us stay for lunch. We were amazed to be able to join them in their houses and pray to our Lord with them.  

Pray that visitations can happen regularly and the Gospel will be shared in the homes of the students.

-Erin and Ash

Update from Riverboat Team

H Team has been having a hard time with people being receptive to the gospel. The teams have been praying for the hearts of the people in Tikling. Our prayers were answered when several people became open to hearing the gospel. One woman had previously heard about the gospel by a radio service was curious, and invited us to talk to her. She was very excited to find out that we were also teaching bible studies. When we brought her a Bible to read her excitement couldn't be contained, because she had never held a Bible before, much less read one. She is always eager to read a Bible story and talk about the Bible. God is answering prayers.

Please continue to pray for the hearts of the people in the Philippines, and their willingness to let us in their homes.

-Sam

Take it to the Rim: D-Now, the FIlipino Way

This isn't a critique of the American church, but having led D-Now for a church in America, I see the inherent flaw in how we do it.

What altered my mindscape was having a team of a half-dozen orphans live in our two-room house with us, pushing the total up to 15, and listening to them as they followed us around and spearheaded as we championed the Gospel around Ilijan. We got to be the leader in a "Come and See" discipleship - the biblical way. The result of that was the gospel being shared with 38 households in less than 24 hours, what a praise that we could see the Word spread to the corners of the villages and the fire in the children's heart winded us to an extra gear of evangelism as well.

Pray for those children that they'd be adopted by Christian, loving homes. 
Pray for our thirty-plus new contacts, that we could do the appropriate followup with them.

Praise for Maurice, a granddaughter of Tatay L, who shared the Gospel for the first time and is pursuing the Lord actively in her life, she could be a bastion of Christ in this community after we leave.

Speaking of "after we leave,"pray for D and C, who are aware that they are in charge of the ministry once we leave, which is in two weeks. We are handing the keys of the ministry to a 15 year old and a 22 year old who is only there in the summer. Pray the Lord would carry this burden for them, and that they'd play their part in building up Ilijan.

Praise for Nanay A, a woman who has genuinely accepted Christ in her heart. Pray her faith would grow as she prays for her family's salvation - which was our first indicator she was serious about her faith.

Pray for us, because once you round third and see home plate, it becomes progressively easier to envision yourself there. Pray we can focus on the task at hand in spite of the fatigue.

Praise we were able to share the gospel after a day of true labor - moving rocks and mixing concrete to fix up a house. The end result? A chance to share with a man the splendors of the gospel.

This upcoming Sunday we'll have our last house church service, pray and expect the Lord moves.

The laborer is worthy of his wages.

Counting the Cost

Last week I shared my testimony with a group of about 20 students and felt compelled to share a detail I have never included before--it is so easy for me to be a Christian. As I said it, I knew it was true and needed to be said. I have grown up in a Christian home, gone to a Christian school, had Christian friends, and lived in a Christian community. The fact that I am a Christian had never been a burden to me. In fact, if claimed anything but Christianity, people wouldn't know what to do with me.

There are two things I learned as I was saying this: first, is that not everyone has it so easy. The vast majority of people have a million costs they must count when choosing Jesus. Will they lose their homes? Their families? Their jobs? Their lives? In most of the world, becoming a Christian is so much more than saying a prayer and being baptized. It's even more than turning your life around and following Jesus. It is giving up everything you know, understand, and love, and believing it is worth it.

The second thing I learned was more personal. I said, "It is easy for me to be a Christian." I meant, "It is easy for me to go to church and say I am a Christian." It is challenging and convicting, but oh so important for American Christians to remember that there should ALWAYS be costs to being a Christian. I should be sharing my faith in the US just like I would in another country. I should be discipling other believers. There is so much more than what I am doing. In that moment I remembered that I should never be able to say "it is easy to be a Christian."

In Christ,
Chloe

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-25‬ ‭ASV‬‬

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for our team as we consider the costs of truly following Jesus and not being nominal Christians.
  • Please pray that our students would have boldness to believe that the costs of Christianity are so worth a relationship with God.
  • Specifically pray for K and M who believe the Bible to be true, but are wrestling with the repercussions of converting from Islam.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Far villages: Whatever it Takes for Cambodia

A few days ago we had the opportunity to go to a far village. It took a little less than an hour tuk-tuk ride and a riverboat to reach the village! The river, although dirty, provides a lot for the villages that run along it. They use it for bathing, cooking, watering crops, for their livestock and even as an energy source.
At the village, there were about 16 kids and about 5 adults watching. We taught the kids English and Bible stories. We also did flashcards, games, and songs. Musical chairs was definitely a favorite among all the kids!

Pray that the seeds that have been planted will grow!

-Whatever It Takes for Cambodia







Change for Christ: Advance Team

Since coming to the Philippines I have experienced many amazing things. Among these are a naked man chained to a wooden post; two pigs being mated in the middle of the road; climbing a coconut tree; riding a pig; Filipino restrooms; riding on top of a bus while dodging tree limbs and being pelted with rain; and many more!

But these things are small in comparison to what I have experienced with the Lord: I have seen Him save and change sinners. There is one family in particular that we have seen the Lord change. After sharing the gospel with this family, several members of the family made professions of faith. This included the mother, father, and some of the children. Many times after people make professions of faith we are not sure if they have "real" faith, but not with this family. We had the opportunity to hold many Bible studies with them, disciple-ing them. We saw them change. We even heard them share how they were being persecuted by their neighbors for the change in their life! This family has changed so much that even the non-believers noticed a change!

I had the opportunity to lead this family in a Bible study about Nicodemus. Nicodemus was the Pharisee to whom Jesus said, "To enter the kingdom of heaven you must be born again." I shared with them when I had my "second birthday" and how you must have a "second birthday" to go to heaven. They eventually realized that a person has their "second birthday" when they become Christians. I asked them if they knew the date of their "second birthday." They responded with excitement, jumping up from their seat to look at the calendar. They found the date of their conversion and I encouraged them to write it down. It is amazing to see God change people and excite them about their new life!

This family is a very good candidate to host a new house church, but they are yet to be baptized. Please pray for this family and my supervisor as she will be doing follow-up ministry with them after the summer. Pray that they will be baptized and begin meeting with the other believers in the village on Sundays. Please pray for our team as we are searching for more families of peace like this one in a new village. Thanks!

--Seth

Chicago: More Than Simply Showing Up

Church. One word with a million different meanings, depending on whom you ask. And thanks to our research, Becky and I have asked what "church" (or ecclesia) means a whole lot.

To some, it's a physical location or a specific event that takes place once every week on Sunday. It's a textbook definition; one where success depends on tithes and attendance, and you can check in and out each week without ever truly realizing why you're actually there. In the areas where Becky and I are from (Alabama and Georgia), church can be that to a lot of people. It's cultural or nominal; everyone just finds time in their schedule to dress semi-nice and sit in rows, sing, and try not to fall asleep for one hour every Sunday. A place you can come and go, shaking hands at the appropriate point of the service and stopping without anyone ever truly knowing your heart, struggles, and prayers. A place where no one really notices if you're not there one week. A place where "accountability" and "life on mission" are bad words...simply because everyone is far too comfortable exactly where they are.

But then, Becky and I ask the same question to the church planters. The college students. The campus ministries. The pastors. The evangelical workers. The people giving all that they have here on this earth so that someone else can know Jesus Christ. To them, church is living. It's active. It's ever-changing. Up here, you're the odd ball out if you go to church on Sunday. Where we grew up, it was the other way around. Many of the churches here are small, but their faith is huge. They eat together, pray together, laugh together, and cry together; they live life-on-life together so much it gets uncomfortable.

Churches as small as the ones we've been going to could be incredibly discouraging, but I've actually found it to be quite inspiring. To all of these people, going to church is so much more than simply showing up. It requires a sacrifice on their part because it's not a cultural event in Chicago, so it's not normal. To them, church is powerful. It's really the only time they get to be around other Christians during their week. They are dedicated to praying, giving, and serving with all that they have to impact each other and the community in which they worship. These Christians care about each other and their neighborhoods, holding each other accountable and actively building relationships and sharing the gospel with those around them. Their faith isn't nominal; it's the 24/7 bold faith that we should all strive to have more of.

Sunday night we went to hear Christine Caine speak, and she said something that really summed up my thoughts on the churches here. Referencing Hebrews 12, she talked about the need for more Christian witnesses in the world, not just Christian spectators. Where I'm from, there's no shortage of the spectators, the people that set aside an hour once a week for their faith but that's about it. Churches everywhere need more witnesses like the people we've met in Chicago; people willing to set aside things of this world for the sake of the gospel. Followers of Jesus Christ need to come to terms with the fact that church is a vital point of growth in their faith...it's about more than simply showing up.

Sending Love from Sweet Home Chicago,
Sydney

Obedience

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

Team of the Day: Coffee Club
Country of the Day: Southeast Asia

Pray for team members to seek obedience to God's will.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I would do everything in my power...

Monday night I had the opportunity to share some of my testimony with a man who had converted from Catholicism to Islam several years ago. I told about how I overcame 7 years of addiction through the power of Jesus Christ. After hearing this story, he asked if he could talk with me outside because he did not want his friends and family to hear our conversation. He wanted to isolate himself from everyone else because he genuinely wanted to learn more about Jesus but he knew that if his family had heard him then he would have been persecuted.

After walking outside, he began to open up to me unlike he had with anyone else before. He told me that he felt as if God were calling him to become a Christian. Though he was a Muslim, J said that lately he has been praying daily to the God that we serve and that when he was alone he would even listen to Christian music. He told me that he wanted to become a follower of Christ but he was afraid of what would happen to him if he were to accept Him into his life. Shortly after this, we had guests that arrived at his house so our conversation was cut short.

At the end of the night J asked if he could walk us to our vehicle. When we finally got to our car, he pulled me and the translator aside and asked if we could meet up later in the week to finish the conversation that we had started. He was seeking after the Lord whole-heartedly and God was convicting his heart.

Friday night we arranged to eat dinner with him in hopes of getting to share the Gospel with him once more. Upon arrival at his house, we realized that he had invited many other friends over for dinner. We were nervous that it would interfere with our time of sharing with J because he felt uncomfortable talking about his faith in front of others. He felt this way because he was afraid of being persecuted or even killed for his faith. Despite our nervousness, we remained patient because we knew that God was in control of the whole situation.

After dinner we stayed up until midnight playing cards and dominoes with J and his friends. By 12:15 a.m. all but one of J’s friends had gone to sleep for the night. At this time, we decided to go for a walk on the beach. J’s friend, L, walked with us to the beach and Aaron even had an opportunity to share the Gospel with him. After this, Aaron and Johann asked if L would take them ahead of J and me. They wanted to give us space so that we would have a chance to talk with J about his faith.

During this time, the translator and I were frantically trying to think of how to initiate a gospel conversation. As we were talking he pulled us aside and started talking to me about how the Lord has been working in his heart. It caught us entirely off guard. The Lord paved the way for us to have this conversation. He started the discussion by saying that Jesus was the only way to Heaven and that He is our Savior. However, he was still afraid to commit his life fully to the Lord.

Immediately God began to put parables and Bible stories on my heart to share with him. After sharing for several hours, the only thing that he felt was holding him back from surrendering his life to God was his family and friends. He said that if he accepted Christ in to his life then he would be killed by his family. After hearing this, God put a story on my heart to share with him. It involved being persecuted and having to suffer for your faith.

I gave him an analogy to think about. I told him to imagine himself standing in a road. While standing in the road, a big truck was about to hit him. In this scenario, a man was warning him about the truck so that he would not get run over. I asked then that if he knew about the danger would he not move out of the way? He said “of course I would move!” I then compared this with his spiritual life and how Jesus desperately wanted to save him from what was coming for him. All that he has to do is listen and obey to be saved.

I then asked if he loved his friends and family. He said that he loved them with his whole heart. In this moment I shared the same analogy with him once more. Except this time his friends and family were in the road and that the truck was about to run them over. I asked him, “J, if you were on the side of the road watching this, would you stand idly by or would you try to save them?” Immediately he said “I would do everything in my power to save them! Even if I had to die to save them, I would still do it!”

I told him that the truck represented Hell. His friends and family are all standing in the road and need someone to tell them that the truck will hit them if they don’t move. I explained to him that just like in the story, he may get hurt or even killed, but he must still try to save them so that they have a chance to escape the danger that lies ahead of them. In this moment he understood my point behind this whole story. He recognized that he needed to save himself and those who he loves dearly.

I told him that if he were to deny Christ in this life then Christ will deny him in Heaven. After hearing this he knew what he had to do. He prayed that God would be the Lord of his life. He confessed his sins, and repented. Afterwards, he said that he would be willing to suffer or even die for his faith even knowing that it was a very real possibility. J said that he was a new man and that he recognized his duties as a new believer. He said that he would not deny Christ but share his amazing story with those around him.

After this prayer he was overflowing with a joy that was out of this world. For the remainder of the night was kept saying “Praise Jesus for saving me!” Everything that has happened this week has been nothing less than the work of God. God has sent many people to share the Gospel with J and after more than a year the Lord convicted his heart and the Lord saved him. Praise God for his infinite love and mercy!

We understand that all things are possible through Christ, but we also recognize that the planting and watering of seeds are just as important to God as harvesting what was planted. However, we are so incredibly thankful that the Lord allowed us to be a part of the harvesting process. We ask that you would join us in prayer for J that he would be bold in his faith and that he would relentlessly pursue Christ. Thank you for all of your continual prayers because the Lord is answering prayers and the Kingdom of God is growing.

We give God the glory that He deserves because He alone is working in ways that we can’t even comprehend. We recognize that we as humans are incapable of doing the work that He has set before us. It truly puts us at peace to know that the Lord is working through us because only He can complete the task that we are required to do. Thank you God for allowing us to be a part of your perfect will because we recognize that we are unworthy of doing so. We pray that we would remain obedient in every situation and that He would allow us to be used throughout the remainder of our days. God please humble me and my team so that you may receive the glory that you deserve. Luke 19:40 says that if we keep quiet then the rocks will cry out. He deserves all of our praise so let’s join together and lift him up for all of the exceptional things that He is doing.

-Caleb W.