Will the Church be the Church?
The pictures of refugee families carrying their few bags and streaming across borders and over treacherous seas have filled our screens over the past year.
“I used to be a typical housewife,” Rama explains as though it is an unbelievable statement. She speaks of her former self, and of her country, as something of a sad memory. “I never wanted to leave my life in Syria, but that day the bombs went off next door, I thought my children were dead. I ran through the village screaming. When I found them, I made the decision to get out. I told myself, ‘This is not a place to live.’ ’’
It’s one thing to sit on my comfortable couch at home, reading Facebook stories about Syrian refugees. It’s a whole different thing to come face to face with the refugees themselves.
Our Burmese brother shook his head and smiled, perching gingerly on the filthy, tattered hospital mattress as he told his story.
On the way to Germany, on each of my three flights, the seat beside me was empty. I wondered why. I wanted to talk to someone. I felt exhausted after saying goodbye to family and friends in Paraguay, and the closer I got to Germany the more I struggled with a nagging uncertainty and fear of the unknown.
“I came to the conference depressed,” one woman told me, “but during the very first session, I felt a heavy burden being lifted from my soul and I began to walk in freedom.”
Sioux Falls, South Dakota is growing more and more ethnically diverse through immigration. Today, there are 130 different languages represented in the city’s school system. Local churches are learning to see this challenge as an opportunity, which is illustrated well in these two short stories.
It was time to disengage. God invited us to take some time off from ministry, but my husband and I knew that if this time was to be productive, we would need to learn how to be unproductive. So we determined to step away from the urgent, the important and the necessary, and to adopt a new unhurried rhythm.
At a recent gathering of church planters in Central Asia, I heard a man named Dameer (not his real name) tell his amazing story. He grew up in Germany, the son of immigrants, and was a very angry young man.
“God, help us,” we prayed as we approached the village. “Only you can open a door!”
We had no idea of how God would do it.
Mama Mananga arrived at the seminar with a ready heart. She was eager to study the Bible with fellow believers.
We have charts with zeros on them, charts that are meant to keep track of how people groups in our region are being engaged by the Gospel.
They share the Gospel through a facebook account. In a country without religious freedom, these two brothers in Christ are able to speak plainly about their faith. Although they use pseudonyms, they are able to connect with people online and offer encouragement.
“I never imagined that this war would be possible in my country,” says Roman Plechun, a self-employed plumber and active member of the New Hope Church in Zaporozhye, Ukraine.
I felt naked without my Bible. I felt lost.
It was only nine months from diagnosis until death. We buried my mom in the same cemetery as her father.
My name is Tashi and I was born in the Himalayan plateau. I come from a family of nomads.
“At first, it was just an idea. Actually, it was a God-sized dream"
In 1994, I was sitting in a university classroom while genocide was ravaging Rwanda.
An interview with Rudi Plett
Sometimes, God orchestrates interesting conversations when we least expect them.
A TREK team arrived in Chachoengsao, Thailand, and discovered Koi’s Coffee, a small coffee shop in their neighborhood.
Together With One Voice
I cannot remember a single Christmas or Easter family celebration that did not include guests around the table.
God is gathering together a diverse team of servants. Alan says, “It was my first prayer walk.”
Alejandra is excited about what God is doing in her home church in Piura, Peru.
This team has been serving together in France for several years. They are one of the most culturally diverse teams we have.
One of the greatest joys of working with a multicultural team in Thailand is the opportunity to broaden our base of understanding the Thai culture.
Lowell Stutzman is globally connected, and not just because he travels extensively. It’s more about how he travels, and why.