Our team arrived safely in our host country yesterday evening. Our flight here connected in Paris and the terrible attacks began in that city just before we boarded the plane to leave Atlanta. Thankfully, France allowed air travel to continue and there was no sign at Charles de Gaulle Airport that anything was out of the ordinary.
The Paris attacks remind us of two critical points about our mission here. First, we remember the absolute importance of sharing the good news with people from every walk of life. Individuals who were out for the evening at cafes and concerts and who may have thought they had plenty of time to seek the Lord later in life had that opportunity suddenly ended. Are you praying for opportunities and using those opportunities to share the gospel in your context?
Second, we remember that one of our faith's most important theologians got his start as a terrorist. The Apostle Paul worked to violently eliminate believers until the Lord changed him completely. What if the Lord's "chosen instrument" to carry the gospel to Islamic nations (see Acts 9:15) is currently working in the leadership of ISIL? One of our former students in this program was trained as an al Qaeda suicide bomber and was preparing to carry out a terrorist attack before the Lord miraculously saved him. He now pastors churches in a difficult-to-reach Islamic country. We should be praying for the Lord's work among Muslim individuals, especially in areas where ISIL is at work, to change hearts. Muslim individuals are not our enemy--they are captives of the enemy. We must pray for people to be rescued from the grip of Satan and a salvation built on their own works.
We will spend some time today visiting historical sites around the country and then proceed to the site of our teaching. We begin tomorrow morning and will teach each day from 9-5 or later. We are grateful that we will be staying in the same facility as our students, so hopefully we can continue to talk with them into the evenings.
Our primary requests today are:
1. Safe travel for the remaining students with no issues at the borders. While we had no problems going through immigration, security may be tighter for the students after the Paris attacks. Please pray they have no issues getting through. Pray also that one of our partners can get here in a timely way despite travel issues that arose this morning.
2. Rest and preparation for us. Jet lag isn't too severe but we can feel it. Please pray as we finalize our preparations and for endurance as we teach starting tomorrow morning. Bryan and Kent teach the sessions on Monday.
3. For the people of North Africa. Our students will come from almost every country across North Africa, most of which are dangerous places for believers. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would move in a mighty way across these spiritually dark lands. Pray also for boldness for our students to act on the theology they learn when they return to their home countries.
We appreciate all of your prayers for us. Again, for the security of our partners and students, please do not forward this email. We look forward to sharing the great things the Lord will do this week. Thank you for your partnership in prayer with us!