When I joined the Global Outreach Commission (GOC) last year, no one warned me about the emails. And then they began to come pouring in and they haven’t stopped since. Every day Tenth’s partners are sending email updates about their work: their joys, their struggles, and the little details of their lives. If I’m not careful, I can lose a whole morning just globetrotting through my email! Last week, I paused to read about how car trouble in the mountains of South Asia has given our partner there a unique opportunity to share Jesus. A bad afternoon at work was put in perspective when I read about a new convert in a country without any recognizable Christian presence. Even now, I’m waiting for the latest update on how political unrest in Burundi is affecting that country’s young church. Every day, my inbox reminds me that God is at work in the world.
I’ve heard this story repeatedly in the past year from our partners in the Middle East. In Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, and other closed countries, Muslim men and women are having dreams. They see a man in white. Somehow, they know that the man is Jesus. Jesus knows them: their names and their circumstances. And Jesus calls on them to follow him. One man, alone and practically enslaved in a foreign country, dreams he is in a deep dark pit, only to have Jesus pull him out. Another woman has lost her home to war and been forced to flee with almost nothing. In her dream, Jesus sees her suffering and calls on her to follow him. In a culture with a heavy emphasis on dreams, these Muslims are shaken. One by one, they are finding their way to our partners and local churches, sometimes travelling great distances and crossing borders. These Muslims are sharing their dreams and seeking guidance. Our partners and other local Christians, like Joseph and Daniel in the Bible, are using the Word of God to explain these dreams and share the good news of God’s salvation. In turn, these dreamers are heeding the call of Jesus and following him!
Be encouraged that God is at work in every single country of the world! Not one country is outside of his dominion. The evidence shows up in my inbox every day.
Despite the exciting movement of the gospel around the world, promoting missions at Tenth can still sometimes be a frustrating venture. Gone are the days when all our partners had first and last names (and were called missionaries!). Gone are the days when the whole congregation knew what country people served in and got to see slide shows of the most recent baptized converts. Now, thanks to a combination of the internet, religious extremism, and political totalitarianism, we are limited in what we can tell you about Tenth’s partners. We can’t always share with the whole congregation what God is doing in sensitive areas and what we can share is often cloaked in pseudonyms and euphemisms. We realize that this can be frustrating, particularly when we are asking you to pray and give generously.
But please know that you can learn more about how God is using Tenth’s partners. It just takes a little initiative. Here are several suggestions:
- Attend our “Around the World in 80 Minutes” luncheons. At these monthly lunches, held after the 11 AM service, visiting partners are able to talk more freely about their lives and work.
- Connect your small group, Bible study, or Sunday school class with a partner. The Global Outreach Commission would love to see every group in our church develop a relationship with a global partner.
- Volunteer with the Global Outreach Commission. Contact Pastor Bruce McDowell, Elder Russ Pfeifer, or Global Outreach Assistant Kari Randall to see how you can become more involved in learning about and supporting our partners.
- Just ask. You can always ask any of the pastors, Tenth staff, or members of the GOC what God is doing in the world this week. We’ll be happy to tell you.
It is my hope that learning more about the global church will spur you to consistently and fervently pray for the work of the gospel. I can guarantee that the more you learn and pray, the more you will be encouraged. God is working in every corner of the world today!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By David Gunther. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org