SE Asia: Fellowship

We can feel his love among us; we can sing redemption's song
We can hear the Spirit call us to a place where we belong
For His joy is in our laughter and His comfort in our grief
Let His love here ever after be the language that we speak

Let us sing of our Redeemer and of His love that made us free
And know this gift is ours forever, a fellowship so deep
A fellowship so deep
–Caedmon’s Call, “Fellowship So Deep”

One of the many benefits of going on a short term mission trip is the fellowship you experience with other Christ followers.  You experience this with members of your team, the workers and ministry partners you are supporting, and local believers that you encounter.  Our team is very small, so it has been pretty easy to build the type of intimacy that allows us to work together successfully, pray for each other, and encourage one another.  This is manifested in many ways:  sharing our stories, our triumphs, our disappointments, making each other laugh, listening to music together, playing music together, breaking bread, and studying God’s Word.

 

Our team from JFBC (minus Bryan who took the picture) at the fountains downtown.

Our team from JFBC (minus Bryan who took the picture) at the fountains downtown.

Our team is fortunate because we have been joined by a husband and wife from the Middle East who we will call Y and N.  They are Arab Christians, and our ministry partners thought it would be great to have Christians who are Arabs come share with our people, who are Muslim, and who mistakenly think that Christianity is a white person’s religion.  We had hoped that Y and N would fit in to our team, and that we would have a great experience doing ministry together.  It is safe to say that our expectations have been exceeded.  Y is a bold, gregarious man, full of the Holy Spirit.  Because of his nationality many people we have encountered here want to speak to him, and he shares his faith at every opportunity that arises.  One of our great joys is studying God’s Word with them, hearing them read the passages in Arabic as well as praying in Arabic.  That gives us just a tiny glimpse of how beautiful it will be when we are surrounding God’s throne, praising the Lamb in many different languages.

We are so thankful to have N and Y joining us from the Middle East

We are so thankful to have N and Y joining us from the Middle East

Hannah and N at lunch today

Hannah and N at lunch today

We have enjoyed many meals together, trying to sample the regional cuisine.  Our meals are great as we get to relax and be ourselves.  It also gives us to the chance to talk to our ministry partners and learn about their successes and struggles trying to reach the people that God has laid on their heart.  One of the characteristics of the early church we read about in Acts 2:42-47 is their willingness to break bread together in fellowship.  That has certainly happened on our trip.

Last night we went to a popular landmark in the city.  There, by a huge fountain, we broke up into teams so we could try to share the good news of the Gospel with the people of this city and this country.  N immediately found a woman from Yemen who she was able to converse with in Arabic, so she and Hannah spent some time talking and sharing with her.  While our evening produced no immediate fruit we were able to have several conversations, and share the Gospel.  Chris and Slade were paired with one of our partners, and their team was able to share the Gospel with a Burmese man and a group of people from this country.  While they ultimately decided not to follow Christ we did our job in delivering the good news that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

The fountain downtown.  Please pray that those that we talked to would seek after Christ as their Lord and Savior

The fountain downtown.  Please pray that those that we talked to would seek after Christ as their Lord and Savior

We are going back out tonight to some different locations in the downtown area.  One of the workers here, who delivered the ANY3 training in Clarkston last month, joined us today and gave our team refresher training.  We then split up into pairs and practiced until we were comfortable with the method.  While we recognize the usefulness of ANY3 we also recognize that ultimately it is the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of those we are trying to reach.  We just want to be faithful to Christ’s commands to make disciples.  We are praying for the opportunity tonight to have many spiritual conversations that result in us sharing the Gospel, and that ultimately result in “what was dead becoming alive again, and what was lost being found.” (Luke 15:32, NIV).  Please join us in praying for that tonight.

Other prayer requests

  • Please continue to pray for our strength and endurance.  Some on the team are still struggling with exhaustion from jet lag, and some are still not sleeping well at night.
  • In our daily devotional time we will start sharing our testimonies.  Please pray that God will use them to encourage and inspire each other with the goodness and gloriousness of God’s mercy.
  • A small group, including Slade and Y, have gone back to the Hindu shrine we visited yesterday for the purpose of following up with the Indian man who wanted to believe in Christ.  They are also bringing him material in Tamil so he can read more.  Unfortunately, he was not where he said he would be.  The team is waiting a little longer to see if he will show up.  Please pray that we can get in touch with him, and that the willingness to believe in Christ he expressed yesterday was true.

We thank you so much for praying for us, reading the blog, sending us encouraging notes and emails.  It makes us feel so loved that our partners, halfway around the world are praying for us and believing in us, in what we are doing here, and the great God that unites us in love and fellowship!

Bryan, Chris, Hannah, Jackson, Slade

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, ESV)