Inspiring September newsletter
This morning I read that Texas has sent less than 10,000 migrants to DC since April (causing the mayor of DC to declare a public emergency there) – although Border Patrol regularly encounters some 200,000 migrants EACH MONTH, which flood into the small towns near the border where people are exhausted and all resources depleted. Without getting into politics, we’ve seen that immigrants from over 100 countries are regularly crossing our borders and moving to all parts of the USA. I realized recently that here in the USA we have entered into another new era of mission opportunity which seems to be increasing everywhere – that is where people from all countries and cultures around the world are moving into our community!
As I was considering this, I realized that it’s not so very different from the situation Jesus was in as he traveled through Judea and Samaria 2,000 years ago. Traditionally that area was on a major trade route connecting Africa, Europe and Asia. When Jews came to celebrate festivals in Jerusalem, they came from many different areas. We know that Simon who helped carry Jesus’ cross (Mark 15:21) was from Cyrene, located in present-day Libya. In Acts 8:27 we read how Philip shared the Gospel with an Ethiopian eunuch – who in fact came from present-day Sudan. The Romans of course were ruling over the whole area, with their strict allegiance to Caesar and Roman gods; and there was still a lot of Greek influence over the whole area, as was encountered by Paul and other early missionaries as they traveled further afield to spread the Gospel.
All around the world we find tribal clashes and distrust of neighboring countries (or in fact of anyone who appears different to the way WE live and believe!) The “cancel culture” that we hear so much about was also clearly practiced by the majority of Jews – but how did Jesus deal with it?
Time and again we see that he did not challenge or argue with those from other cultures. Instead, he reached clearly to the heart of each situation to meet the universal needs for kindness, love, hope and forgiveness! He broke through stereotypes to show the caring heart and selflessness of the Samaritan in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He “broke” religious laws and gave such hope to the Samaritan woman at the well that she in fact lost her sense of humiliation and literally became an evangelist sharing the good news!
It seems that today, regardless of how it came about, God has presented us with new opportunities to meet people from other cultures and beliefs right here at home! As Christians we need to seize the opportunity and become better prepared to follow Jesus’ example rather than be caught off-guard, or be caught up in the possibly more negative reactions of those around us. If we truly want to be prepared, it would be good to learn more about other cultures and religions, and even receive training on how to befriend and interact with people from other cultures. No matter what the state of the world today, our mandate remains the same as Christ followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (AMP)
After centuries of the majority of churchgoers perhaps only being able to pray and donate to missions, we all suddenly find ourselves in a position of being able to help carry out the Great Commission right here at home! Let’s not miss the opportunity but instead reach many people for Jesus!
Pastor Sika in Togo tells us that the conference he organized and was a key speaker at this past Saturday went very well. It was for over 70 pastors and church leaders from the Southern Togo, and was titled ”The disciple according to the Lord and Christianity in Africa and Togo”. It has been on his heart for some time to encourage renewed spirit and commitment of church leaders to be exemplary Christians and have a positive impact on the country of Togo. Thankfully he was able to connect with a ministry in the USA that helps provide resources for such conferences and with a special donation from a supporter he was able to rent a suitable building for the event (as seen in this photo). Not surprisingly the week before the conference, he suffered another attack of malaria, which threatened to prevent him from attending. Praise God, with the Lord’s help he was able to overcome the attack, knowing that our fight is against spiritual warfare which has to bow to the name of Jesus! A second conference is planned for November.
He sent us a wonderful video of the corn harvest at the Joseph Project orphanage in Sika-Kondji. This photo shows just a part of the huge mountain of corn that was harvested before it has to be transported to where it can be stored safely inside the compound. Even with the help of the staff and orphans, this is a tremendous task, given the distance to be transported is several miles and it is all man- and woman-power!
Just days remain before the start of the new school year, and although the uniforms and school supplies have all been bought (thanks to donations from several of you supporters!) still a total of over $1,000 is needed to pay for the tuition that the government requires from each student. Please pray that God will send in all the necessary funds quickly!
Pastor Honore in Central African Republic told us that he had been very ill for about six weeks and unable to preach or even leave his bed! He says that the ministries of both the church and school are growing and the spiritual attacks are very intensive. Their little boy, Blessing, was also very sick and spent a week in the hospital before he was able to transfer to a better-equipped Chinese clinic! Thankfully they are both recovered now, and Pastor Honore is very grateful for his ministry leaders who have continued to manage the ministry.
Among them are his sons, James and Merveille, who are Primary school teachers and manage the school. Merveille is also starting university this year to study law. In addition, the boys help lead worship in the church. Along with two other singers from the church, they recently went on a month-long worship course and received their certificates last Sunday. Work continues on the construction of a separate building for the school, which will be a huge blessing. Prayers are asked for the funds to construct the roof and finish the building so that it can be put to good use soon and free up the sanctuary for other ministry.