We recently ate at a new restaurant in the city and it was fun to experience local and foreign food under one roof. The mural on the wall caught our attention too: traditional dress of the local people but featuring sushi and a burger. The fusion of cultures is fun to see!
During a recent trip to another country, I spotted these words painted above a shop door. It caused me to pause, and ask this question: What have I added to the Gospel? No faith, religion, or tradition is immune to adding rules and traditions–it’s crucial that we exam ourselves and our communities of faith.
We hear so often these words, “I hate religion.” Digging a little deeper almost always reveals that the person doesn’t hate God–they’re just having a hard time seeing past what people have done/added/distorted. What can cut through this tension? The powerful word of God, the deep love of Jesus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and authentic relationships between non-believers and non-believers. Lord, examine our hearts and straighten our paths. Let us worship in spirit and in truth, and have the eyes and hearts of Jesus as we represent you.
Please continue to pray for the doors to stay open in GM. While nothing seems imminent, continued conflict in the region, a recent court decision that could be considered censorship, “elections” in one of the occupied regions, and other rumblings are concerning. We believe that this place is very strategic for locals and also many closed countries and unreached or unengaged people groups–join us in interceding! Thank you!
One family (now a family of 4!) has returned from home assignment, and one is preparing to go on home assignment in a little over a month. There’s a lot of transition that has happened and is happening in GM. Please lift up this time of settling in and packing up, starting again and ending well, taking on and handing off–it’s a lot! The constant is that God is always at work (and He’s doing a lot!), and He never leaves–Praise Him!
Four countries were represented at Wednesday night Bible Study, and a very important snack question came up 🙂 What is this local fruit called in English? Our friends were surprised to learn that we don’t have a word for it, because it doesn’t exist in the US. Small and sour or sweet depending on its ripeness, alucha is its own thing entirely…and we like it!
As we’ve been praying Psalm 24:7-10, we feel God opening up those ancient doors–thank you for praying. As we shared last week, two of our English students took copies of John home with them. At one student’s lesson on Monday, she told me that she read the whole thing, and wanted more! This hunger is an answer to prayer and so exciting–praise God! We had a great discussion about the book of John, the beliefs of different types of Christianity, and so much more. K has accepted an invitation to attend a Bible study at our house on Wednesday night. Please continue to pray for her as God opens her eyes and heart to himself.
After a few last minute cancellations and additions, we set off for the international student conference with 22 students. We are so very thankful for the group that God assembled–there was a special closeness that we all experienced. Fun, games, and food abounded, but so did deep topics, conversations, and vulnerable sharing. We spent time considering journeys, both literal and our life stories. K shared his spiritual journey, and students were asked to create their own lifeline.
When given the opportunity to share with the group, we were overwhelmed with the response. Many students opened up, and it was such a gift (both hard and precious) to hear what many of them have already endured and overcome in life. As we ended our time together, students were challenged to consider the difference between false peace and true and lasting peace. Representing multiple faith backgrounds, and several nations, we are trusting that God is at work in each life, no matter where they are in their journey. Thank you for praying so faithfully!
Recently, we introduced a friend from the Middle-East to buffalo chicken wings–he’s a fan! (Picture above: used oil to be discarded). During the conversation, he quickly began talking about the death, destruction, and chaos he experienced as a young boy living in a country at war and occupied by a foreign military. The trauma continues for him 20 years later.
So many people here in GM, across our region, and around the world have been or are being impacted by war. As we continue to minister to this friend and others in the coming weeks, please pray that they will experience the Prince of Peace and find true healing.