That is the only word to describe it, unless it is disappointed.
Yesterday, I had a post about leading a young woman to the Lord in my target country, which is a restricted country.
Today, I pulled that post down after receiving the following email from that same woman:
Thanks for all of your kindness. I realized that one person can not have two believes, so I am not a Christian. I apologize for my mistake.
Good day ahead!
I am so sad for her. I don't have any other information. I emailed her back and told her that Jesus was still waiting for her and would be until the day she dies.
Please pray for her. For security sake, let's call her Dawn.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
That is the only word to describe it, unless it is disappointed.
Why can't I live my life like there is no tomorrow? Specifically, why don't I treat every pre-believer I meet like today is their last day on earth? It would sure work out better that way.
Without going into too much detail (because of security stuff), I have been traveling into a nearby restricted country to do language study. I happen to live in a less restricted area to do my particular work assignment. Since we are getting ready for furlough, I decided that I needed to return to my teachers one last time and "draw the net". (we are 'fishers of men' right?) I had casted the net for several months, but had not really drawn it up, thinking I had more time. But, since I won't be back with them for a very long time, I decided that it was time.
So, with prayer and preparation, I set out this morning to have the talk with my teacher and a few others. I tried to draw the net around my teacher, but she slipped through. However, she got a really, really good view on the inside of the net, so I don't think she would slip through again, if offered the chance. I spoke with the "school" language director. She got gloriously caught in the net. I spoke with the "school" receptionist. She slipped through and didn't seem to be very happy about being close to the net. I also went to talk with a shopkeeper and her husband. the husband walked away mid-sentence and she seemed interested about getting into the net "someday".
So, back to the one in the net. It was way cool. She has always seemed "standoff-ish", but today was her appointment with the King of Kings. I had a bi-lingual tract with me, as I am not anywhere close to being able to share in that particular language. After we went through it, she said she needed to think about it some more and might consider it later. I told her that today was the day of salvation and she needed to not hesitate any longer. She said she wasn't going to without reading it again. I told her to take it to her office and go read it. She did. She came back about 15 minutes later and said that she was ready to pray that prayer. She did. After a little explaining, praying, and rejoicing, I was telling her a few things about spiritual growth and told her that she needed to tell others. I gave her the assignment to tell 5 other people this week and asked her "who?" Immediately, she said her husband and her father. I then suggested the other two folks who had slipped through the net in the "school". She was up for the task, then I saw the work of the Holy Spirit as she said without being prompted, "Yes, it is my responsibility to tell others about Jesus, isn't it?" YAHOOOOOOOOO! Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! Then, I felt compelled to do something I have never done before after leading someone to the Lord; I felt I needed to say a blessing over her, Old Testament style. I really felt the power of the Lord with me and said things that I've never thought of saying before. I honestly can't adequately describe my feelings about being a part of this.
Now then, when all this is said and rejoiced about, comes my original question. Why can't I treat every day as a pre-believer's last day on earth? Why do I think there will be plenty of time tomorrow? How many people must perish without knowing the Truth? Why can't the same sense of urgency that God has in getting people reconciled to Him be uttermost in my daily life? How many more must die in darkness before we, as the church, take His mission seriously?
May God have mercy on us all.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
It used to be called furlough, but it is now called "Stateside Assignment". It was supposed to be a time when a missionary could have R&R and rejuvenation, but now, it is often just an American venue to continue your work. Many folks do not have any kind of a real furlough, but instead are expected to continue on with their duties, thanks to the miracle that is email.
Stateside Assignment, or STAS, is a mixed bag and a mixed blessing. There are so many good things about STAS: seeing your family; allowing the kids to bond with the grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc; seeing old friends; eating familiar foods; going to familiar stores and restaurants; showing your kids where you grew up; sharing your story at churches and other gatherings; telling folks about how God is at work. But there is a second side of the coin with this; your family and friends purposefully or inadvertently put a guilt trip on you about the kids growing up without grandparents or other close family; enjoying those familiar foods and restaurants too much and then having to deal with the Board about your BMI; enjoying Wal-Mart too much then having to get rid of stuff before returning to the field; having to deal with people or churches who really don't care about life in Lalaland; family members who ask you about life "over there" then not paying attention to your answer.
I remember when I was a journeyman and returned home and a family member asked me, "How was it over there?" as he reached for the remote control and never even heard my answer.
I'm not faulting folks in America for not paying attention to your answer or for not comprehending what it's like to be a missionary, but many folks in America haven't even been out of their home state, if not their home county, and simply don't understand what you're talking about. I certainly don't mean that missionaries are better than, smarter than, or wiser than the next guy, but our range of experience is so broad, that sometimes the same conversations you had when you were 20 years old seem to be mundane.
I don't like hearing people gripe about our government or health care or education. While the American systems aren't perfect, it only takes living OUTSIDE America for a few months to discover that we ain't got it too bad in the good ole US of A.
Furlough is a wonderful, blessed, crazy time. You are often put on a pedestal where you don't belong and often attributed super-spiritual, super-human qualities, which you do not possess. Feelings of amazement happen every day when you realize that you don't get the jokes being told, don't know who the TV and movie stars are that are being talked about, and the new model cars look like they are from a sci-fi movie. You are overwhelmed by the variety and choices available. I remember on our first furlough, my wife sent me to the store the very first morning for some cereal and milk. I was gone an hour and a half and only came back with the milk. I stood in the cereal aisle for an hour trying to decide what to buy, then decided I'd just buy "Raisin Bran", but then couldn't decided which variety of the old "standby" to purchase. I think we ended up going out for donuts that morning!
I also remember the first time home from overseas and my sister took us to Wal-Mart. After about 20 minutes she said, "you know, we can go on in the store; these are just the clearance items at the door!" When we then went to El Chico's for supper after Wally World, we nearly shouted for joy (and scared the waitress) when she brought us all ice water!
You forget how to do stuff, living overseas. I remember trying to fill up the car for the first time back when everyone had changed to credit card gas pumps. Finally, the clerk at the 7 Eleven came out and showed me how to do it, or I might have still been there, trying to figure it out. When my wife went to Wal-Mart, she simply handed the clerk her credit card. The woman handed it back and told my wife that she needed to do it herself. My wife had no idea how to do it, so I think she just paid cash!
It's the little things like that which make you realize that while you may speak a half a dozen languages, you can't even pay for Little Debbie's and Tide at Wal-Mart without help from the clerk. Seriously though, it is a demonstration of how little changes can add up. Not just at Wal-Mart, but in people, too. Family expects you to be the same person as when you left. There is NO WAY anyone can remain the same after living overseas, whether as a missionary or in the military or business. You change. Of course, so do the people "back home". They may not change as much, but they do change.
All this is more of a dialogue for me to mentally prepare myself for STAS. We will return in March to the US (to the Greatest State in the Union) for a nice, long, well-deserved, long over-due furlough.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
I am absolutely dumbfounded by all the bickering going on in the SBC. I personally think it should be mandatory for everyone who serves in any kind of public capacity to spend at least 6 months overseas before taking their office/position. This includes seminary presidents, professors, trustees, etc. This way, they would have a 'real world' perspective before calling people idiots or making silly rulings or policies. I think this would clear out the snot and let the SBC breathe a little easier.
I can't help but to be discouraged to be overseas and know that my supporters are at odds with one another over things that mostly likely don't have an eternal significance. The very people who are supposed to be praying, giving, and participating, are instead spending all of their time arguing. Looks like Satan has pulled one over on us and is making us think this "stuff" is more important than seeing a lost world reconciled to God. May God have mercy on us!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Sunday, February 04, 2007
This is completely off the subject of missions, but I thought I might mention it for the benefit of other missionaries living around the world. I was able to watch the superbowl today LIVE through the TVU player. We actually even had a little party with food and stuff, and had a great time hollering and yelling like the Americans we are. Times where you can be "American" are few and far in between, but the Superbowl is one of them.
We had a DSL connection and only had a few instances where it was "jerky". We hooked it up to our LCD projector and watched it on a screen somewhere around the 52" limit. Since we didn't have a measuring tape, we can't be sure.