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.”
Entering God's Story
Bashir is a member of a tribe in North Africa which comprises fifty percent of the country’s population. Despite the fact that slavery is officially outlawed in this country, current estimates state that four percent of the populace are enslaved, most of which are from Bashir’s tribe.
Recently, I went into a local prison to visit a friend of mine named Pascal. Six months ago, he was leading a church. Now he’s in prison. Six months is a long time to be in a horrible place through no fault of your own. The prison is crowded, dirty, and full of corruption.
“It takes a full day of travel for us to reach the community of Sinai,” explained Alan Foster, long-term worker in Panama, “which includes a four-hour journey in a four-wheel drive and then at least another three to four hours up the river in a dugout canoe.”
I needed a helper. I was asked to organize the children’s ministry component for a family camp, and so I needed someone to help me tell the stories in Thai. I asked one girl, but she wasn’t available. Then I thought of Guy. When I asked her, she happily agreed.
When Art Loewen retired from teaching in 1999, he was ready for a new adventure. “I enjoyed my thirty-three years as a high school mathematics teacher, but I always had this dream of being involved in cross-cultural mission work overseas.”
During my TREK assignment in Thailand, our team had the privilege to visit a remote tribal village high in the mountains of northern Thailand. We were taken there by Bin, our Thai teacher and good friend. It took more than a day for us to reach the village. It felt like we had arrived in another world.
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.
Celebrating God's Timing
My friend Helen (not her real name) is one of the emerging leaders of the church in her country in Central Asia.
The other soldiers mocked him. Henry (not his real name) was only a young Christian when he began serving with the national military,
God is calling young lives into global mission!
When Richard and Hazel Funk returned from Austria for a visit to North America early in 2014, their hearts were heavy with a mixture of joys and frustrations.
A few weeks ago, while my husband was away, my children and I experienced an extreme wind storm. We live on the outskirts of the city, near open fields, so it is generally quite breezy. But this was different.
“If I went to Burkina Faso for one person, it was Ruth.”
I’m amazed at how often I find myself in a daze, staring at the photos on my dorm room wall of my friends in Peru.
A young lady named Yaa was lying in a hospital bed in Pattaya, Thailand. She had tuberculosis and full-blown AIDS and was not expected to live through the night.
Have you ever seen a child waiting quietly? Although it’s rare around our house, when it does happen, it’s a beautiful thing and it makes us as parents proud.