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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
If you have never heard of Samuel Zwemer, he was one of the first American long term missionaries to…wait for it…the Arab world of the Middle East. He sought to go about God’s mission aspiring not to be famous but to be faithful:
Some missionaries are known for their great fruit, their many converts, churches they started, or hospitals they helped build. Samuel Zwemer is not known for these things. After 38 years of missions work throughout Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and Asia Minor, Samuel had seen his efforts produce fewer than 12 conversions to Christianity.
Yet producing converts was not the ultimate goal for Samuel. The man who would become known as the Apostle to Islam wrote “The chief end of missions is not the salvation of men but the glory of God.” We are faithful to God’s call on our lives for no other ultimate goal than that of bringing glory to God.
Christ has called us all to be part of His mission to reach the nations with the gospel. Justin Vander Ark of To Every Tribe has a great list of ways that the body of Christ in the local church can support their missionaries. Here are just seven ways out of ten that were featured in the free mission Ekballo Magazine:
1 . Pray
If you don’t do anything else on the list, please do this. Prayer is a weapon of warfare that God has given to His saints. If you don’t know how to pray for your missionaries, download David Sitton’s free ebook Warfare Prayer and read it. Don’t worry, it’s a quick read. Or, simply ask your missionaries how you can specifically pray for them.
Almost every missionary I know is below their monthly support goal and have to spend precious time and resources on support-raising. Partnering with your missionaries financially is one of the most direct ways you can bless them.
3 . Send
More missionaries are needed. With thousands of unreached people groups remaining in the world, the need is great. Join with your local church in sending more missionaries to get trained and sent out into the world.
4 . Mail
Missionaries love getting mail. Send spontaneous cards of encouragement that let them know you are praying for them. Remember their birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and holidays. And,who doesn’t like getting packages in the mail? Missionaries love getting care packages. …Read More!
M and J were a missionary couple who were working in Uganda. (Story was first posted in Feb 2013) Every week they sent updates on their progress with evangelism in the community or the growth of the local church and new orphanage that they are setting up. Some times there were moments of deep heart ache (especially when the gospel was rejected) but nothing lightened up my heart with a good old laugh than this particular week’s ‘veggie tale’. Apparently not every thing that is green and leafy is lettuce:
The Mistake – (J writing) While at the trading center on Saturday, I saw two ladies sitting on the veranda of a little restaurant with bags of green leaves for sale. The leaves were a lovely shade of green, and I thought I should buy some of them and take them back for our orphan children to eat. I asked the ladies how much one bag would cost, and they replied, “It is seven hundred shillings.” That seemed a little high to me for greens so I went into the little restaurant and gave out some more tracts and asked the owner (who happened to be a lady that I knew quite well) how much a little bag should cost. She said that 700 shillings was the usual price. So I went back outside and started digging in my purse for the money. I was going to buy 7 bags to take home so there would be enough for all of the children to enjoy. As I was digging in my purse, the lady inside the restaurant called out, “Who are you buying that for?” I replied that I wanted to take it back for the children at home. “What children?” she asked. …Read More!
Many missionaries learn of God’s wonderful providence in times of difficulty and more so in financial difficulty. David Sitton shares in his free book on how to pray and support missionaries Warfare Prayer:
Financial anxiety increases with the sudden drop of support. Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued. One such letter I received had a final check and a hand scribbled note explaining that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving.
My missionary mentor, Joe Cannon, encouraged us during tough financial times by saying: “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today. As long as they eat, we eat. When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.” How true that is. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dependence upon God and his daily provision is a wonderful way to live. ~David Sitton
Luke 12:6-7: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
In this day and age when kids think being a missionary and going into all the world is dressing up like an Avenger or Captain America or one of those Marvel comic characters and busting a few skulls in the process makes you realise there’s a whole lot of teaching to be unlearned and re-learned the right way.
Needless to say Scripture is clear when it explains God’s desire for his church to participate in global evangelism (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the world. Scripture is equally clear in explaining God’s desire for his people to train up their children in his ways (Deut 11:18–21, 32:46, Prov 22:6; Isa 38:19; Eph 6:4; 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14–15).
Mike Pettengill has written an article on how to engage the youth from an early age to understand missions. For the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, it is vital that the youth in our churches be taught about God’s passion for the lost and that he desires his disciples to reach out to non-believers and teach them about the grace and mercy of Christ.
Here are seven ways (adapted from Mike) on how your church can reach the kids of your congregation and teach them about the importance of world missions:
1. Study Missionary Biographies
In your children’s church and youth groups, include a series of stories about the great missionaries of the past. Tell your kids about the incredible missionaries who have served in the name of the Lord. Revere the martyrs and laborers who sacrificed for God. Let the youth see how these great servants were not super-Christians, but simply obedient Christians. Have the youth study, write, and report on their favorite missionaries of today and the past.
2. Video Conference With Missionaries
Help the children of your church get to know missionaries by asking missionaries to use video conferencing technology to talk directly to your Sunday school or VBS classes. Take a few minutes to interview the missionaries and their kids and let the kids of your church ask questions that interest them. Help your youth to get to know the missionaries your church is supporting and praying for. Allow the kids to learn missionaries are normal people just like they are.
3. Study Biblical Missions
Make concerted efforts to regularly study what Scripture says about the relationship between the church and missions. Help your youth understand missions and evangelism are central themes throughout the Bible. Train the kids of your church to see missions was on the heart of God from the beginning of time and that it is a command every church is to follow. Learn about biblical missionaries like Abraham, Jonah and Paul and study how God used average disciples to accomplish amazing things. …Read More!
This was a question posed to Missionary David Sitton who went to Papua New Guinea at the age of 22 to preach to tribes of cannibals. Listen to his answer…
HT To Every Tribe Ministries
Above is a trailer of documentary of James Fraser:
James Fraser was only 22 years old when he left his engineering career and went to China. From the very first time he saw the Lisu tribespeople of Yunnan Province, he was filled with God’s love for them. He spent the rest of his life laboring to bring them the gospel. Breakthrough came only after his partners back home took up the challenge to pray. …Read More!
Paiye of the primitive Moi tribe of West Papua tells the Easter or Resurrection story in his own words. It is said that there are only 700-800 Moi in existence. The Moi have a language and culture completely their own.
Hmm. Good to see no one has introduced the Easter bunny plus all the commercialism that goes with Easter and most Christian festivities. Pray for missionaries – pray that they remain faithful to the message of the gospel.
Today there are said to be between 100-200 million Christians in China. Looking back at the seeds of the gospel sown in China one can hardly forget the labours of one Hudson Taylor. Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) had the strongest desire to share his Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ with a defiant atheist who was very antagonistic to Christianity. A Scripture reader who had visited him had been ordered from the room, and he had even spat in the face of a visiting vicar. This man also had a gangrenous foot that needed dressing. The story then goes that…
Upon first commencing to attend him I prayed much about it, but for two or three days said nothing to him of a religious nature. By special care in dressing his diseased foot, I was able considerably to lessen his sufferings, and he soon began to show grateful appreciation of my care for him. One day, with a trembling heart, I took advantage of his warm acknowledgments to tell him what was the spring of my action, that I was constrained in all I did by the love of Jesus Christ for me. Then I spoke of his own solemn position and his need of God’s mercy through Christ. It was evidently only by powerfully restraining himself that he kept his lips closed. He turned over in bed with his back to me, and said not a word. …Read More!
If you would like to study the life of a missionary or are thinking of becoming one I would highly recommend you read (see link below for free ebook) about a young man called David Brainerd…
David Brainerd died 265 years ago. [9th October] was the anniversary of his home going.
Brainerd’s life ended when he was only 29 years old. He was not exactly famous when he died; he was expelled from Yale for declaring that an empty chair had more evidence of grace than the seminary president (the original Clint Eastwood!), and then spent the rest of his life serving the Lord in anonymity among the Indians.
Because he did not have a seminary degree, Brainerd refused to pastor a church. In the 1700’s a pastor was expected to have been to seminary, and despite the fact that some churches wanted him, Brainerd was reluctant to participate in what he viewed as the downgrade of the pastoral office by pastoring without a degree. Instead, he learned Indian dialects, translated a few Psalms into one language, and planted a “Christian community” in another.
He literally rode himself to death. …Read More!
“We should always look upon ourselves as God’s servants, placed in God’s world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can.” — David Brainerd
Conrad Mbewe is a pastor from Africa (in his own words he lives in a country where there’s water, water, water and more water…a delightful place for a Baptist pastor) and he asks a pertinent question on African missionary endeavours.
Conrad: One experience that often refreshes my heart when I visit the USA is when I meet Christians telling me that they are sensing a call to go as missionaries to Africa or Asia and are actively praying and preparing to that end. I often ask myself the question, “Why don’t I hear this back home? Why are our own people not thinking about taking the gospel to far away lands that desperately need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ? Doesn’t God want to use Africans in missions too?”
Excerpt from A Letter from Kabwata. Continue here!
Marvin and Jewell have been living in Arua for a couple of years now. Marvin usually updates me on his progress in evangelizing this people group in the Northern Eastern parts of Uganda. This week’s newsletter really warmed my heart and I will share an excerpt with you….
We had a double blessing today as we were able to have a baptismal service. We have been waiting for the baptismal tank to fill with rain water, but it never seemed to get full. So on Friday morning the school children grabbed jerricans large and small and ferried water from the tanks by the house over to the baptistery. Ah – all was set! Imagine our surprise on Saturday afternoon when I went out to check things only to find all of the water was gone again! Now we realized why it wasn’t filling with rain water; we had a leak somewhere. What to do? We asked the children to come at 7:00 on Sunday morning and fill it up again. What a good little troop they were as for the second time in one week they hauled water back and forth to fill the tank. But it was well worth the effort because we were able to see three people follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.
The second blessing of the morning involved a couple who had just been baptized; they also got married! The couple switched from their wet baptismal clothes into
David Brainerd (1718-1747) was a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. During his short life he was beset by many difficulties. As a result, his biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many Christians, including missionaries such as William Carey and Jim Elliot, and Brainerd’s cousin, evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829).
He enrolled at Yale. In his second year at Yale, he was sent home because he was suffering from a serious illness that caused him to spit blood. It is now believed that he was suffering from tuberculosis, the disease which would lead to his death seven years later. Brainerd began working as a missionary to Native Americans, which he would continue until late 1746 when worsening illness prevented him from working. This illness, generally considered to be tuberculosis, had begun to affect him at Yale, but worsened when he entered the mission field. In his final years, he also suffered from a form of depression that was sometimes immobilising and which, on at least twenty-two occasions, led him to wish for death. He was also affected by difficulties faced by other missionaries of the period, such as loneliness and lack of food. Here are few words of wisdom from David Brainerd while in the mission field:
“Oh, that I could dedicate my all to God. This is all the return I can make Him.”
“It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God Himself could not make him happy any other way… There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God’s work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing his whole will.”
“Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in Thy service, and to promote Thy kingdom.”
“My desires seem especially to be after weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and that I may be crucified to all its allurements. My soul desires to feel itself more of a pilgrim and a stranger here below, that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father’s house.” …Read More!