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Posts from the ‘missions’ Category

Missionary’s final letter.

At the end of his sermon yesterday, our pastor read John Chau’s final letter to his family before he was killed by the Sentinelese tribe (bold emphases mine):

You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people.

Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed.

Rather please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil. This is not a pointless thing – the eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshiping in their own language as Revelations 7:9-10 states.

I love you all and I pray none of you love anything in this world more than Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo gloria.

As I was typing this post and wondering not only what it would be like to write a letter like this but maybe even to receive one from one of my sons one day, Cub came to me and asked what I was doing.  So I told him about John Chau, the Sentinelese, and showed him a map of the island.  And we prayed for the Chau family and the Sentinelese.  Cub specifically prayed God would change the hearts of the Sentinelese to one day know Jesus and love Him.

Oh that God would answer that prayer in our lifetime.

Many have called John Chau a fool.  I can’t make that final call.  But if a fool is someone who loves strangers enough to risk his life to tell them the gospel, I hope we are all fools in this way.  Fools before the world, but perhaps — just perhaps — wise unto God who alone is truly wise.

Jesus is worth it.

From Nik Ripken’s The Insanity of God, pp. 286-287:

“I have even been wiling to die for Jesus,” he pleaded. “But do you know what I fear? When I go to bed at night, what keeps me awake, and what actually terrifies me, is the thought that God might ask of my wife and my children what I have already willingly given Him.”

“How can He ask it? Tell me! How could God ask that of my wife and children?”

I paused for a few moments and prayed that the Lord would guide my words as I responded … Finally I told him, “I personally cannot answer your question.  But I would ask you another question that I have had to ask myself: ‘Is Jesus worth it? Is He worth your life? Is He worth the lives of your wife and your children?’

He was undoubtedly the toughest man I ever met.  He began to sob.  He wrapped his arms around me, buried his face in my shoulder and wept …

Then he looked me in the eyes again, nodded, and declared, “Jesus is worth it.  He is worth my life, my wife’s life, and He is worth the lives of my children! …”

He is.

In fact, that’s how worth it He is.  Not that there is no cost.  I cannot think of a greater cost than my husband or sons.  But there is no cost that compares to His worth.

Jesus Christ is worthy not only of my life but all our lives.  Except the upside down thing is that He laid down His infinitely precious life for us.  So what is the temporal giving of this life?  Like Amy Carmichael said, certainly count the cost … but take your slate to the foot of the Cross and count the cost there.

Clenched fists at the altar.

A missionary from Central Asia visited our church yesterday, and we were able to join some others for lunch with her.  One of the questions I asked her was, “Do you ever fear being there?”  When I was single, I was much more fearless (I had nothing to lose!), but now that I have a family, especially children, that’s my greatest struggle.

I expected her to sympathize a little with me and comfort and reassure me that God would care for us, that He was trustworthy, so on.

But she locked eyes with me and, without missing a beat, told me about a missionary couple in her area who had children later in life (miracle babies!).  Their children grew up to love Jesus and were attending college and seminary in the area.  One day, the wife came home from the hospital to find that her home was in flames and her husband, daughter, and son were all shot and killed by — or exploded by — suicide bombers.

That was her answer to my fears.

I was so stunned (and in tears) that I couldn’t ask any more questions.

She told me that those who lasted in her area were those were sure they were called.  And they were willing to lay down everything.  They knew the cost, they were willing to risk it all because God had called them.

Since then, I’ve wrestled with her answer to me.

Am I willing to lay husband and children on the altar, entrusting their “fate” to God, should He call us to a difficult corner of the world?  Is the gospel that precious to me?  Do I share enough of God’s heart for the lost to risk my dearest earthly treasures?  Do I desire His glory that much?  Do I count God that worthy?

And if I’m not willing, am I even willing to pray for willingness?

Hard places.

From Marwan Aboul-Zelof, a church planter in Beirut, writing on The Gospel Coalition today:

Most of the unreached in our world remain unreached because they live in hard places: whether they’re in closed communities, hard-to-access villages, or other dangerous places. The biblical call to go to them is not void because of these challenges.

If anything, this ought to be a more urgent matter for the church. Christ calls us to take the gospel to hard places. And the gospel will always conflict and confront; the setting or location is irrelevant.

… There are so many unknowns in this part of the world, especially now. It’s quite possible we could wake up tomorrow and learn that Lebanon has been pulled into war. What’s been taking place in Syria for the past six years could be our next six years. And the cost weighs even more heavily when you have responsibility for a family.

But while the list of unknowns is much too long, we can’t live in a way that puts too much weight on temporal things. God’s promises in Christ are eternal and sure, and in Christ and his finished work we anchor our hope and trust.

… We pray and hope for peace in Lebanon, but in the meantime we have a commission from our King.

Hearts wide open.

When we fix our eyes on “me and mine,” our hearts contract.  When we fix our eyes on “Christ and His,” our hearts expand.

God give us hearts wide open.

One day.

Part of an update from Yuliya, a friend from church, regarding her time in Ukraine with our two pastors for a very brief mission trip to equip local pastors:

Being in fellowship with other believers from another part of the world is a foretaste of heaven. I can’t wait until the day when we will worship God together, without language, distance, or anything else separating us.

Yes.

Artist with an Agenda.

I was listening to Adele singing on YouTube tonight (long story, haha), and as she sang, I was thinking about how singers, painters, screenwriters, photographers, and other artists often push an agenda behind their work.  A cause, a worldview, an opinion.  And because of the beauty of their artistry, it pushes their agenda harder and further.

Their art is the arrow to which their agenda is tied.

And the thought came to me — as I continue to learn calligraphy and brush lettering, I want to be an artist with an agenda, too.  I want to tie my Agenda, my Cause, to the arrow of my art, so that Christ’s name and His gospel are pushed harder and further.  Not that He needs me.  Not that He needs art.  But just as a means of using everything He’s given me for His cause.

What is art worth if it doesn’t at least echo creation’s song of the Creator? (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20)