The uphill call of Christ
I recently received a phone call from a dad who was struggling with the cost of sending his young daughter on a short-term mission trip to Central Asia.
Her name means, the one who is always smiling.
She rolled over on her cot and looked at me with huge eyes. I repeated my simple question, “What do you think about Jesus? Who do you think he is?”
In an email, Karen Hubert-Sanchez, long-term worker in Thailand, pleaded with her prayer supporters: “Would you commit to pray and fast with us for the life of our friend, Aram? She is having surgery on her liver, and the doctors are saying that she may not survive due to the high risk of hemorrhaging.”
I wish you could have been there. Forty people packed into our living room, and eight courageous young believers ready to take the step of baptism.
“We are treated like pigs,” Jean Marie says of his people group, the Batwa in Burundi. “Often I feel like I don’t even exist in the eyes of others, like I’m not even human.”
“I had never before met anyone like them,” Yaar said about a group of fourteen people from Kansas who were visiting Paris and staying at the hotel where he worked. “I used to watch them through the glass walls of the meeting room at the hotel during their devotions and prayer.”
They were watching.
From the sides, from the back, near the triple-locked gates, hugging the walls where barbed wire jabbed the inaccessible blue of a midday sky, mocking their lack of freedom. Watching us.
Living the Story of Hope
Last year, in the remote indigenous village of Capitee in the rainforest of Panama, a group of forty-five youth became demonized in a short period of time, leaving the village in a massive crisis.
“I’m pregnant,” our friend tells my wife, “for the fourth time, so I won’t be able to leave my house for a year.” Our friend is afraid that the government will discover her pregnancy and not allow it to continue.
Since we’ve only lived in this country for a couple of months, I’ve really appreciated every opportunity to make new friends in our neighborhood.
Pat is a self-taught farmer who loves Jesus. He took up farming as a way to serve the poor and destitute in his community in Northern Thailand.
One thing that is abundantly clear to us during this season of instability is that we are not in control.
Rani (not her real name) is a single woman in her forties. She comes from a rural setting in North Africa where the culture is very traditional. Despite her upbringing in a conservative Muslim family, she has become a follower of Jesus.
“I had never been outside of North America,” said Trevor Rysavy, a church planter in Calgary, Alberta. “My wife and I were not exactly travel savvy and, to be honest, we really had no heart for overseas mission. We were called to Calgary.”
“Before we left for Europe, I asked God for one thing,” said Jonathan, one of the TREK participants on the all-male team of four that spent seven months in France, “that I would be able to make close friends with people who lived there. God answered that prayer in a magical way.”
Training: Are you making healthy disciples?
My father was an alcoholic. Therefore, my early childhood was scarred by pain and disappointment.
During my TREK training, God taught me something about confidence.
I grew up in a family that knew nothing about God.
Mahmoud grew up in the Middle East in a strong Muslim family.
"there’s something about SOAR that keeps me coming back!”
The Beauty of Christ’s Bride
Earlier this year, I was struck again with the great variety within the church and with how much we are loved as Christ’s bride.
Early in the morning, the three of us boarded the ferry that would take us to the island. Awaiting us there was a hill with a small old church at the top.
Marques Mente is a dynamic young leader in the Portuguese church and the pastor of the MB congregation in Loures, Portugal.
God is at work among French Mennonites, and a group of churches is experiencing renewal.
His name is Oak, like the tree. He’s six years old and lives in a slum in Thailand.
It’s not hard to tell when Cecil Ramos is excited.