Church Services and Bible Burners

Mission exists because worship doesn’t. These words by John Piper are burned into my heart. MB Mission exists to see lives transformed in mission. When people find Jesus they are transformed and enter into a lifestyle of worship, honouring God with their lives. We desire to see people enter into this life changing, transformational relationship with Jesus Christ. We desire to see worship on every corner of each village, town and region of the world.

In one corner of the world live Phil and Carol Bergen. They have been serving the Nanerige people of Burkina Faso for 13 years. As they lived among the Nanerige, Phil and Carol learned several necessary dialects and then began the work of translating and publishing Scripture. Through their dedicated work, the Nanerige are now able to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language.

Then, this past October, the Bergens rejoiced because their friend and faithful night guard Drissa accepted Christ! Carol writes, “I felt something electric inside of me when I heard Drissa start praying! It’s neat to think about all the people who have been involved in Drissa’s conversion”. Later that week, October 7th, they held their first church service with eight in attendance. October 14th there were seventeen at their second church service. This summer, an MB theologian asked Phil and Carol if their hard work was worth it. Their answer: “It’s worth it. Jesus is worth it.” Their lives of worship, by the grace of God, are transforming lives in mission.

In another corner of the world, four families responded to the terrible 2004 tsunami that hit southern Thailand by forming a church planting team called Operation Second Wave (O2W). As they live in Phuket, Thailand their lives are fragrant with the hope of Christ. This hope, by the grace of God, is transforming lives in their community. Amber and Amanda Griffioen are part of O2W and recently wrote about a Thai family experiencing the transformation of Christ.

Rapin hated Christians with a livid intensity. Then, about six months ago, his wife, Duan committed her life to Jesus and her life radically changed. Rapin’s daughter, Pen, was also recently committed to Jesus. Rapin became furious with the local Christians and began to plan a way to destroy the church. Duan faithfully interceded on his behalf, praying for the salvation of her husband and believing in the greatness of God.

One calm, sunny day Rapin angrily took Duan’s Bible outside with the intention of burning it. As he attempted to light it, a strong wind began to blow. He persisted until finally the cover of the Bible caught on fire. But at that very moment, rain fell and extinguished the fire. There had not been a cloud in the sky and in that moment Rapin was overcome with the fear of God. He realized that the God he was persecuting was not just real, but all powerful.  Shortly after this event, Rapin dedicated his life to Jesus Christ.

This week we received another update this time from Rob and Judy Griffioen, O2W team leaders. They shared that just recently Rapin, along with his wife and daughter, were visiting with them in their home when a neighbour lady, Ann, dropped by to say hello. Rapin began to share with Ann about the love of God. “We all listened in amazement as he counselled Ann regarding her great fear of evil spirits . . . as we saw the tear drops well up in her eyes we all knew she was encountering God’s love through Rapin.”

In Romans 1:12 Paul urges all believers, in response to God’s wonderful mercy, to offer their bodies and lives completely to God as living sacrifices. This submission and commitment is our spiritual act of worship to God. Many of our missionaries have made great sacrifices for God; offering their lives in worship to Jesus. The return is life giving transformation -within themselves, within their communities and within their churches.