Our missionaries send reports to the EFM Board twice a year, and each time they include stories of transformed lives or changed communities. These stories give us glimpses of how our mission statement is being carried out.
“Our purpose and passion is to fuel a worldwide movement of people who seek first the kingdom of God, planting churches that live and die to carry out the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.”
Below are three of the stories we received in the last batch of reports.
The first one comes from northern India where the missionaries are the only Christians in this Hindu village.
There’s a three-year-old boy who comes up regularly to our house to play. By most of the village’s standards he is a naughty child. He used to come up with his older sister, but now he’s started coming up on his own. We’ve realized that, although he is by no means always good in his behavior, his behavior has been getting better and better when in our home. Furthermore, he never wants to leave when his parents come up to get him. We do our best to provide a safe and loving environment for people who come into our home, and we feel that this little boy feels that way about our home. Although this seems small, it’s a great encouragement to us that we’ve seen these changes in him.
This one comes from Ireland where people are increasingly disconnected from their Christian roots.
This morning in our Bible study, for the FIRST time one of the participants prayed out loud (there are three of us who regularly pray out loud – and NO ONE ELSE). In these studies, we are learning to trust one another, care for one another, help one another – and we are having conversations about what we believe, what the Bible says, and how we learn from the Holy Spirit.
And from Bhutan where Buddhism has a tight grip on the population.
At 10 AM a man named Indra came to my house begging me to do something in a Christian way for his wife, Doma, who was possessed by demons. The witch doctors had not been able to do anything for her. So, my wife and I went to see the situation in their house. All the villagers were there to watch. So were the witch doctors. Doma was in a locked room, so we asked Indra to open the door. We saw she was very mad. We prayed, and she was healed immediately. The hundreds of people who were watching were amazed. BUT, after we left they started blaming us, saying that Christians have black magic and that’s how Doma was healed. A few months later Indra came back to us and said that his wife had relapsed and was worse than before. He said he was ready to not listen to the villagers anymore, and that he and his whole family would accept Christ if Doma was healed. Then we went and prayed, and Doma was healed. Five members of the family gave public witness to their faith in Christ by receiving baptism. We began discipling them and now there is a cell church in their home. Three more families have come to the Lord and are worshipping there. Praise God!
As you can see, these stories take place in three very different contexts, and the missionary work that is going on in these places is at different stages. In northern India the work is just beginning. In Ireland the work has been going on for many years, but the fruit has been slow in coming. In Bhutan the fruit is seen more quickly but opposition is constantly visible and heavy. One can easily wonder, “Will this little church survive?”
As I ponder these stories the parable Jesus told about the sower comes to mind. I encourage you to open your Bible to Matthew 13:18-23 and review Jesus’ explanation of this parable, and then think about where the three stories you’ve read in this letter fit in the parable. And, if you don’t mind, I encourage you to take one more step. Think about your own context, where you carry out your daily life. What does it look like to sow God’s word right where you are? What can you learn from the parable and the three stories above that help you participate in this work?
I am praying that you and I will have the joy and privilege of seeing people in our lives who do not presently know Jesus come to know him in life-changing ways. I am also praying that we will engage in the hard, messy work of discipling them, teaching them to seek first the kingdom of God in their daily lives. And I am looking forward to the day when we will have stories of our own to add to the stories you have read in this letter.
May it be so, Lord Jesus! Open our eyes to the fields around us and show us how to do the work of sowing and harvesting.
This year-end offering supports the ministries of EFM in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, and Rwanda. To find out more about these ministries and the missionaries involved in them, please go to www.friendsmission.com.
Local churches, regions/yearly meetings, and ministries like EFM depend on generous year-end giving to meet their budgets and get a good start to the new year. As you prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you participate in this offering, may your heart be moved by what moves God’s heart. It is still true that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV). We are still seeing God’s great love transforming people in our world today. Let’s be part of what he is doing!
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Executive Director of EFM