When I used to sit at my desk at my church job where I helped oversee the care and support of about 90 global workers, I never became accustomed to the incredible people I met or the stories I heard. I was amazed and amazed again for those 10 years. I enjoyed a steady diet of stories from those global ambassadors.
As I got reaquainted after not seeing them for a few years, I often took them out to lunch. They often poured over the menu of American dishes that were new since their last time back and then they enjoyed the meal. But I was the one having the feast as I took in their stories. What I heard about the things God was doing in and through them aound the world left me speechless hungry for more.
This summer I met with 5 of these friends as they came through town. Since this is no longer my steady diet… it was truly a glorious banquet. Let me share a few stories from the last few weeks… without the names or some details, as many must remain secure.
The first is a graphic designer who works with at least one hundred local workers with the Egyptian Bible Society. This guy is amazing. He loves to create and teach others how to design. This friend explained how the beheading of 21 Christians in Libya last February prompted writing a tract that has made its way around northern Africa and beyond. It has opened the way for Christians to converse with Muslims, often very ashamed of what happened at the hands of radicalized Muslims. He talked about the many responses to the tract and printing over a million copies to supply the demand.
My graphic designer friend was asked to take the following poem written in Arabic for the tract and interpret its beauty into English….I think he did a wonderful job. Pray for its effectiveness around the world, as it has been translated into at least 8 languages.
(Just click this photo and read the poem.)
Next is a couple who have planted themselves in the farthest reaches of northeast Asia (get geographical). They are working as medical personnel and tour director to reach into a hostile and closed country closeby. The creativity and caution they must exercise to do this work absolutely raises goosebumps on all who listen to their stories. Their commitment and love for Jesus motivate their every dangerous step.
Another couple are working in a mideast closed country teaching English with the goal of helping to put into words an unwritten language, so eventually there will be a Bible available. They live and work in an Islamic state that raises the stress of everyday. A trip to the grocery store is a major ordeal.
Another couple are teaching theology and Bible to 1100 national staff who minister with CRU in 20 countries of Europe. Taking seminary classes to these staffers in regular education installments allow these workers to continue ministering and not disrupt them for a foreign seminary experience that would move them from their communities, churches or campuses. Taking seminary on the road…how strategic.
The last thing I would like to tell you about was attending the Memorial Service for Elisabeth Elliot who passed away this summer. She was a personal hero of mine as I have shared on this blog earlier this summer. The passion in her convictions didn’t always make her popular, but to those of us who followed her life as a fervent missionary in the 1950’s to a woman spokesperson about a life of following Jesus regardless of suffering, I am forever marked by her conviction and her commitment. If you are new to her, check out her website, www.elisabethelliot.org
This first link is the entire 2 hour service, well worth an afternoon.
Seated in Edman Chapel at her alma mater, Wheaton College some of my dear friends and myself were mesmerized by the beautiful tributes, ten in all. Her lovely daughter, Valerie was my favorite. But the most meaningful of all was a video tribute that we watched made with Elisabeth’s own words. Enjoy this You Tube recordings as we did. Her humor and contagious love for Jesus will mark you all over again…as it did me. CBN also did a memorial that is linked here. CBN also did a memorial that is linked here.
This summer has been rich and deep. If you have an opportunity to meet a missionary in your area, don’t miss the privilege. Just ask an open-ended question like, tell me a highlight of your work.