Who would have thought that consulting with a government agency in Korea on the topic of “Initiating and Transformational Movement” would prove to be one of the most meaningful ministry experiences of the year? God was at work, and he invited me for a few days to join him in what he was doing.
It all started with a lesson we teach called “Worldview and
Development”. The lesson explores the links between cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors, and the resulting consequences in the life of communities and nations. The point of the lesson is that ideas have consequences, and the lies embedded in culture must be uprooted and replaced with truth if there will be sustainable development. We explored common ideas about the nature of the world often held by whole cultures and the impact of those ideas on development: men are superior to women, sickness is caused by spirits, being born in a low caste and there not being anything one can do about it.
In the break after that session, Ms. K approached me and asked in quiet sincerity “Why do you live?” I answered,
I live because God created me in His image for fellowship with Himself. He made you in his image too, and I show my love and respect to Him by respecting and loving you. He gives purpose and a reason for living.
She said, “That is beautiful. I want that.”
We talked briefly about Jesus and I promised to give her something she could read and went on with the next session. I left a Bible with a believer in the group to give her with a note: “I live for Jesus. As you are interested in knowing more, please let me give you a book. I use this book daily to help me build my relationship with God…”
My colleague, Dr. Lim, who came from Singapore to assist with this training, had a similar experience. He was being driven to see a project and had some time to talk with Mr. S, a biochemical engineer. He asked the Mr. S if he was religious. He said “No, my parents are Buddhists and my in-laws are Christian, but my wife and I are not religious.” Dr. Lim replied that the complexities of the human body led him to believe that in intelligent design, and asked permission to share a bit from the Bible. Mr. S consented, so Dr. Lim told the story of the Bible briefly beginning with creation and moving through to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Then he gave his testimony of how he as a Buddhist he came to confess his sins and invite Jesus into his life, and of his assurance that if we accept Jesus we get a continuous relationship with God even when we die. One day God will give us a new body and will transform the world into a new world. Mr. S said,
I want that. I want to be part of that new world. Will God allow me to be part of that new world?
Dr. Lim assured him that he could, and concluded by quoting John 3:16. He left a Bible for him with the same believer who will deliver the one from me to Ms. K.
In our last session, which was review and evaluation, I asked the group to write down questions that this training had raised for them. Many of the questions were about struggles and difficulties they were having managing their projects. Mrs. L shared that she was under a lot of pressure and felt anxiety about the fact that her boss was pressuring her to meet deadlines and report the results so he would have something to give to the national assembly. At the same time, some of the partners she was required to work with were uncooperative, making progress difficult. I listened and then I said, “This is one of those times when as a Christian I want to say that I will pray for you”. With tears she replied,
I’m not religious so I don’t have anyone to pray to.
This group of government workers were spiritually empty and searching for truth.
There were two more expected outcomes from this trip. Dr. Lim will represent the CHE Network in collaboration with the Korean aid agency to train skilled birth attendants in a country in Southeast Asia. Dr. Miguel, a medical doctor and CHE network member from the Philippines who also joined us for this consultation, will collaborate to fight TB in the Philippines.
I am now heading back to Phoenix to continue preparation for the International Wholistic Missions Conference in January. We are really excited about the prospects of evangelicals from all over the country coming together to learn and share skills for engaging our communities for Christ. The conference will feature 70 workshops and top notch speakers to hand of strategies and skills to the church for ministry in communities at home and around the world. I’ll send more information in a separate email, but you can visit the conference web site now to learn more.
- Tim and Vanessa: Tim has accepted a call to serve as a worship pastor. It is too early to give details, but we are rejoicing with them.
- Healthcare Christian Fellowship International: We are moving ahead on the collaboration with HCFI to mobilize 100,000 churches for Church Health Ministries in their communities. The next training event will be in Hong Kong. Praise God for colleagues who have volunteered to do this training so I can stay home in December and get ready for the conference in January.
- Korea: Praise God for all he did on the recent trip to Korea.
- Pray for Tim and Vanessa as they make a move to another state.
- Pray for Ms. K., Mr. S, and Ms. L.
- Pray for Dr. Lim as he works with the Korean agency to train birth attendants and prevent maternal mortality in a county in Southeast Asia.
- Pray for Dr. Miguel as she collaborates with the Korean agency to expand the fight against TB in the Philippines.
- Pray for strength and wisdom for Terry as he travels, consults, teaches, speaks, and plans for a major conference in January.