An inspiring account from a missions historian:
Reading about the hardships missionaries endured in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also moved him. “In 1907, all of them were ready to quit. But the homeland wrote to say: ‘Don’t quit—we’re praying!’
“A Congo missionary by the name of Allison fasted and prayed, and there was a sudden move of God. Hundreds of people came to Christ. (Today, the DRC church is one of the C&MA’s two largest national bodies.) That really spoke to my heart.”
Probably the most powerful take-away from the project Dave says, was the deeper respect he gained for Alliance founder A. B. Simpson. “Here was this brilliant, bright man of God, who, out of a lack of knowledge, made some big errors in sending those first teams.
“I thought, Wow. A lesser man after that first fiasco, or whatever you want to call it, would have just cashed in his chips and walked away from the table. But A.B. said, ‘OK, we’re going to do it better.’”
The entire European continent needs to be re-evangelized and discipleship re-introduced to places that were once at the forefront of sending missionaries around the world:
A new study highlighting religious differences in England and Wales shows that there are now more “nones” or people of no religion in those two countries compared to Christians. A stunning 48.5 percent of people who took the British Social Attitudes survey reported that they had no religion whatsoever, compared to 43.8 percent of those who identified as Christian. “Christian” was identified as Anglican, Catholic or other Christian denominations.
The reason the numbers are so surprising is the percentage has nearly doubled in only four years. In the last survey, done in 2011, 25 percent identified as “nones.”
We can watch this happen from the comfort of our churches, or go into all the world making disciples. God has made it clear what we’re to choose.
Our family of churches, the International Churches of Christ, are rich in third culture kids coming into adulthood now. Our intense, international church planting emphasis in the 1990’s had its downside, but a wonderful upside was the opportunity for the children of many church leaders and mission team members to live in another culture.
Many of these guys–grown up now–are serving so effectively at One Year Challenge sites.
This article by Rachel Green has lots of interesting stuff about third culture kids and–if you are one–can help you identify the specific gifts God gave you to serve in the mission yourself:
Despite the challenges, TCKs have a huge potential to be cross-cultural leaders and bridge-builders in God’s global mission. In particular, TCKs have these nine gifts to bring to missions:
1. SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH MULTIPLE LENSES
“We have a special role, and we need to be on our knees praying, because we see things that the average person cannot see or does not see,” explained Meg, a TCK from the United States and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Growing up in multiple cultures gives TCKs a unique ability to see situations, people, and the world through different lenses.
2. BEING RISK-TAKERS AND BEING OPEN TO TRY NEW THINGS
“We’re not as afraid to try new things,” explained one young woman from Brazil, the United States, and Senegal, who enjoys introducing mono-cultural students to different ethnic foods.
3. INFLUENCING OTHERS
“We’ve had to take risks so now we can invite others to take risks,” reflected Rachel (from Taiwan and the United States). TCKs can influence others in a special way.
4. WELCOMING OTHERS ON THE MARGINS
Perhaps from feeling like an outsider before, TCKs can uniquely reach people who are excluded for one reason or another. “As TCKs, we are drawn to people who feel like they don’t belong somewhere,” stated one participant, who got involved in ministry among Latinos on campus.
5. SEEING GOD UNIQUELY
TCKs may be more aware of how culture and church are intertwined. We need their voices in our faith communities today so we can how to be better witnesses cross-culturally.
6. INTERCEDING AND MOURNING
One Urbana participant who grew up in Korea, the United States, and Kenya reflected, “I think a person who is a TCK knows the world. And if they know the world, they can therefore mourn when the world is hurting. And when you mourn, you are able to pray well.”
7. MAKING PEACE AMONG CONFLICTING PEOPLE GROUPS
“A lot of times there is pain coming from stereotypes. We can represent a people group that has caused oppression and say we’re sorry on their behalf,” reflected one TCK from Costa Rica, Spain, and Jordan.
8. BEING WILLING TO GO
TCKs may be most open to living in another part of the world in response to God’s call to mission. Briza (from the United States and Saudi Arabia) experienced growing up overseas because of her parents’ international teaching job. This experience opened herself up to international teaching herself—but in a completely different part of the world. She currently lives in Kazakhstan, where she teaches sixth grade.
9. BUILDING CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS
TCKs have years of experience building cross-cultural relationships, a needed skill in missions. Whether it’s reaching international students on campus or an unreached people group abroad, TCKs can use their cross-cultural skills to advance God’s kingdom.
Read the whole thing.
Source: 2014 ICOC Church Survey Data.
From the standpoint of the International Churches of Christ, the Caribbean region is relatively under-evangelized. On a per-population basis, there are about half as many members in the 30 or so countries and territories that make up this region:
May God send workers into the Caribbean harvest fields! There’s much still to be done.
The gist of this article seems to be persecution and repression are taking their toll in northern Nigeria, but the somewhat-misleading title of the article calls attention to some good news:
Those who are choosing to stay are experiencing a renewed fervour in their faith, according to the report, and some Christians reported that their churches in the north are growing as Muslims convert to Christianity. The report cited reasons including many Muslims having dreams of Jesus.
“Many among the Muslims want to become Christians, but they are afraid of being killed or pressured by fellow Muslims,” the report quoted one interviewee as saying.
Read the whole thing. Nigeria is really important:
An update from Wycliffe:
For many years, Ezekiel served as the Lavukal translation committee chairman, and at times, he toured the 18 Lavukal villages and nearly single-handedly kept the interest in the translation concept alive.
Disciples Today continues its Chinese New Year series of articles with a short history of Christianity in China:
Christians started the first modern hospitals and clinics in China, and Christianity spread rapidly among both intellectuals and rural people. The revolutionary leader Sun Yat Sen—recognized to this day as the founding father of modern China for bringing about then end of the Qing Dynasty—was baptized in Hong Kong and attended a church as a medical student.
Read the whole thing.