“In Cox’s Bazaar, we met a man and his family who had converted from Islam when he was young. This man works for an organization that goes into the Rohingya Refugee Camp for follow-up medical visits. Though I can’t go into any more detail than that, these trips give him the opportunity to spread the gospel and encourage believers inside the camp. This brother had previously worked among the Rohingya people and shared the gospel; many giving their lives to the Lord. I ask you to pray for this man as he places his life in danger among these people.
Through God's grace and mercy, we made contact with several individuals inside the camp. We sat across from them as they told us how encouraging it was for us to come and find them. Little did they know how much encouragement they gave us. Their stories are awe-inspiring. Years ago, one brother’s uncle was converted from Islam and then helped win his entire family over to Christ.
We pray for the continued contact and help for these brave believers inside the camp and their continued work to further God's kingdom among one of the most oppressed people groups in the world. They asked for our prayers; that God will protect them and give them boldness.
I believe we accomplished what we planned for this trip. We gave training material into the hands of the Bangladesh people and made contact inside of the Rohingya camp. Tentatively, dates in November are set to return and further encourage the believers of Bangladesh and graduate the two large groups from God’s Plan for His Disciples and start them on God’s Plan for His Church. Please pray that we recognize and do the Lord’s will.” (James)
“Chittagong is the second-largest city in Bangladesh, a port city that is absolutely bustling with activity. We trained about 40 believers at the Chattogram Bethlehem Church over an evening and two days. We also ate meals at this church and attended their services. The music and worship was amazing. Though I did not know what they were singing, they were definitely making a joyful noise to the Lord.
Leaving Chattogram we took a car to Cox's Bazaar, a coastal town near the Rohingya Refugee Camp that we have been praying for a long time but needed a contact. The next morning, we stumbled across a coffee shop that turned out to be owned by Christians and ended up making contact through them with a man who is a member of one of the indigenous tribes, the Chakma. This man and his family are believers who were previously Buddhists. His brother had encountered a missionary 15 years ago and learned of the goodness of Christ and was converted. He then won his brother over to Christ. Although his parents and family are still Buddhist, he and his wife work among his tribe as church planters and evangelists. This man was a great inspiration to me, and I hope we can stay in touch as he does God's work among His people. It has cost him much as his extended family have cut him out of their lives.” (James)
“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Luke 21:17).
“One of the common themes of my time in Bangladesh was that no city was without it: during my morning prayer time with the Lord, at lunch, during training or church services, or at night when trying to mentally unpack my busy day you would hear it, drifting into your ears letting me know that I was in a predominantly Muslim land. I'm sure the Christian believers of these places had long ago grown accustomed to its reminder, or perhaps not.
While in church one evening with believers around me praising and worshipping God, I heard the call to prayer coming through the open windows. I looked around at this tiny minority of Christians and was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."
I thank the Lord for the passionate believers He allowed me to meet in this hard and poor land who are constantly reminded, this is not their home.” (James)
This has truly been a day of celebration! We started the morning service with praise for seventeen years of God’s faithfulness to our fellowship. Part of this celebration was thirteen students who graduated from God’s Plan for His Disciples and God’s Plan for Young Disciples. One of them wrote the following testimony.
“As a Christian for 50+ years, this study has brought me back to the basics. It has also opened my eyes to see and remember what it was like when I first started as a believer in the 9th grade. This helped me to encourage others in their journey. By encouraging them I find myself encouraged as well.
I believe that all the various Scriptures we looked up to find the answers to questions, will help people become more familiar with their Bibles. Even though I have been a believer for a long time, I found new understanding in some of the Scriptures. As life experiences change, so should my understanding of God’s Word.
Thank you NFI for putting this study together!”
“And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:23).
“The first purpose of missionary enterprise is evangelistic, and the gospel is personal sanctification (cleansing from sin). A missionary and a Christian should be one and the same, and a Christian is one who is united to his Lord by a living union of character.
It is easy to stir up enthusiasm along medical, educational and industrial lines, on the ground that wherever Christianity is made known, social development follows. This is true, but all these things are secondary. The first aim of missionary enterprise is the spiritual evangelization of the people, and the missionary must be united to Jesus Christ by the spiritual bond of sanctification before he can evangelize others.
Wherever a Christian is placed, he must work out the sanctified life. We must beware of the notion that spirituality is something divorced from contact with sinful realities. The one and only test of a spiritual life is in practical reality.
When a missionary’s life is taken and placed under the black night of heathenism, there is only one thing that can stand, and that is the sanctification work of God – a personal union with Jesus Christ. He must realize that he is here for one purpose only; to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
― Oswald Chambers [Edited by Sherman Driver]
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13–16).
I quote these verses for a reason. Just a few minutes ago I finished formatting the Swahili book for Kenya, Africa, God’s Plan for Young Disciples – Young Disciples Wookbook. A thrill went through my being as I thought and prayed for children thousands of miles away on a different continent and in a different country who will receive this valuable tool. Their tender minds and hearts will be fed the truth of the gospel of God’s saving grace.
In places like this where many children, THANKFULLY, are deprived of electronic devices, they have time to spend studying the Bible. I am also so thankful for the parents and Sunday School teachers who will use this tool to teach them God’s precious Word. Let us pray for these children to become spiritual men and women who are strong in God’s truth.
Writing this blog humbles me to mention brothers and sisters in this picture who live in Nigeria, the country where more Christians are killed for their faith than any other place in the world. I do not know or understand what it means to live, work, and do ministry in conditions like this.
This group was waiting for the team to arrive who were delayed because of canceled flights. Time was not wasted while they waited. One of their leaders who was trained earlier took the initiative and started the conference. Randy and Pat arrived today and picked up where they left off the days before.
Like Paul, we have confidence in those we have trained since the Holy Spirit in them continues His work after we leave. Paul put it this way; “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13).
Pray for these believers who are being established in the gospel of grace and in Paul’s method of planting churches. Many of them are commited to reach villages in the north where the dangers are always present, and the sacrifice of their lives is worth seeing others saved.
“To love the Lord my God with all my soul will involve a spiritual cost. I'll have to give Him my heart and let Him love through it whom and how He wills, even if this seems at times to break my heart.
To love the Lord my God with all my soul will involve a volitional and emotional cost. I'll have to give Him my will, my rights to decide and choose, and all my relationships, for Him to guide and control, even when I cannot understand His reasoning.
To love the Lord my God with all my mind will involve an intellectual cost. I must give Him my mind, my intelligence, my reasoning powers, and trust Him to work through them, even when He may appear to act in contradiction to common sense.
To love the Lord my God with all my strength will involve a physical cost. I must give Him my body to indwell, and through which to speak, whether He chooses health or sickness, by strength or weakness, and trust Him utterly with the outcome.”
― Helen Roseveare, Living Sacrifice: Willing to Be Whittled as an Arrow
Many things in life remind us how fragile life is. Illness, broken relationships, career disappointments, and death all come when we least expect them. Doctors, counselors, pastors, and friends can only do so much to heal, help, and comfort.
As we experienced the passing of a loved member in our family today, I was reminded of Paul’s word about this “tent” we call our body. “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.” (2 Corinthians 5:1–3).
The analogy of our bodies being a “tent that is our earthly home” causes us to see how temporary life is in comparison to “our heavenly dwelling.” This truth does not take away the immediate sorrow and loss we feel as a loved one passes on from earth to glory, but it puts into perspective the temporal and the eternal. The temporal can be “destroyed,” but the “eternal” cannot.
Peter refers to this eternal condition as “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). We must let this glory shine through our sorrow which at some point will turn our grief to praise!
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