“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14–15).
If you can't go yourself, who are you sending to the field that is ripe for harvest?
Oct. 6-10, 2014. I planned to print our Brochure, Letter of Introduction, Instructions for completing GPHC while I had a day at BCGH, but since it was Sunday, businesses were closed and the cheap print shop we used before had moved to an unknown location. So when I took the taxi down to the Holiday Inn about two miles away, my first job was to find a print shop. While I checked in, I asked where I could find one, and was directed down the main street outside the hotel and told to turn left at an alley. Heading in the direction I was instructed to take, quickly reminded me that sometimes it is best to ask multiple persons for directions and see which ones agree and they will probably be the best. Finding the right alley also made a world of difference in the surroundings. There were upscale shops and business, and among them a very good print shop that knew exactly what I needed, but could not do all the printing until 9 a.m. the next morning. I learned from the registration table that my presentation of God’s Plan for His Church would not take place until Wednesday. Waiting until the morning to pick up my print job was OK.
Eleven cases of manuals had been shipped from New Delhi, India where we had them printed (cheaper than in the USA). Four of these cases were brought to BCGH and I took them to the Holiday Inn where a long table was set up and I displayed the manuals, brochures, letter and instructions. I also put a small sign on the table; “Books are Free”. This was quite a draw because all the other displays from other ministries had price tags. There is a very powerful draw to persons when we offer the gospel and God’s truth free of charge – a Pauline model. More about the effect of this principle will be said in another paragraph.
The conference consisted of around ninety people involved in reaching Vietnamese through various ministries and missionaries. Each day began with worship led by a local pastor of an international church in Bangkok. Much of the first afternoon (the conference started at 1 p.m. on Monday) was used to describe Synergy, its purpose, goals and present endeavors. Key speakers presented current efforts to spread the gospel and plant churches among the Vietnamese. When we use that people group designation, we often think solely of Vietnam, forgetting that there are displaced Vietnamese in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, the USA and other countries as well. You will understand the significance of this shortly. I was given two slots Wednesday morning to present God’s Plan for His Church at which I used a PowerPoint presentation that I modified for the occasion. Through Monday afternoon and Tuesday, several had spoken to me about the manual, but the interest seemed very ho hum. During these two days I tried to build relationships by showing more of an interest in others and what they were seeking to accomplish for the Lord than trying to promote NFI (New Foundations International---our new name).
Then came Wednesday! While there were four presentations in different rooms simultaneously, my senses told me that the attendance at GPHC would be very small. The first session started with only three or four people and grew to twelve in attendance. Though I felt very nervous in the three minute teaser on Tuesday, I knew the Lord was giving freedom in the Spirit as I went through the PowerPoint slides and I saw faces change. At the end of the first session, questions and comments were flowing very freely. In the second session, eighteen attended and one or two repeat attendees who wanted to hear it again. From this point in the conference, things changed dramatically. There was hardly a coffee/tea break where someone didn’t want to speak to me about the manual and learn more about how it could be used in their venue. One brother who works with the Vietnamese in Malaysia began sitting at my table every session through the rest of the week because he had so many questions and his vision for using GPHC was growing rapidly. To prove this point, he took a whole case of 44 manuals back to Malaysia wanting to train leaders in the church there so that churches would multiply among the Vietnamese. This same brother is fluent in Mandarin and wants the manual translated into that language as soon as possible so it can be used in China and with the Chinese churches in other S. E. Asia countries. Others were asking if they could take more than one manual back with them to which I heartily said yes.
There is far too much detail in the various conversations that came from this conference to repeat here, but I think you get a sense of what God was doing. Often our minds wonder where all the resources will come from to supply the printing in these different places. The more I see God working in ways like this the more my confidence in Him grows; that He will supply what is needed through His people at the right time. Where it will all lead is up to the Lord. I have a huge task of responding to requests for the Vietnamese manual and follow-up questions, but it is evident that God used this opportunity to open new doors.
The following is an email from a dear brother in Liberia with an update on conditions there.
"We greet you and all our faithful brethren in the name of our merciful Lord and savior Jesus Christ who is protecting and guarding us during the deadly epidemic Ebola outbreak in our country Liberia.
Thanks for your continue prayers, care and concern for us. My family is doing fine; many of our Church members are doing fine and safe from the Ebola attack. But Most of our Church members and families in Monrovia and in the rural towns and villages were killed by the Ebola some left their wives and children. Thank God our Churches are not close, we have been having regular Sundays worship services, Bible Studies with new groups of ten six males and four females in the “God’s plan for His Church” manual study. The new class is studying from chapter 4, “DEVELOPING FAITHFUL LEADERS IN THE CHURCH” and we have regular fast and prayer meetings during our services and we avoid getting into contact with each other.
For the past two weeks, Ebola cases have dropped, and more sick patients have been discharged from various Ebola treatment centers in and out of Monrovia. Since the month of March to November, nine months ago, the Ebola statistic death rates and infected cases reported in Liberia by the Health ministry are as following: People infected in Liberia were over 4,500, and the Death rates over 2,900. The U.S. military team that came in Liberia to help fight Ebola with others International Communities has built more temporary structures as Ebola treatment centers across the country, and has greatly help in the reduction of cases. Thank God for the International Communities to quickly come to our aids with treatments and the building of treatment centers. Please continue to pray with us as there are few cases in some towns and villages out of Monrovia and others are still in treatment centers in Monrovia and it can spread by an infected person from one place to another.
The outbreak has led us to some very difficult circumstances and shortages of basic necessities. We find these conditions hard to understand and no doubt God is speaking to us through them. This situation has been a great opportunity to bring people to the saving knowledge of Christ. Our Lord Jesus knows the suffering that His church is passing through, we are members of that one body and when one member suffers, we all suffer. However, we can strengthen one another too and when we all work together in prayer and in practical encouragement then we can take courage and know that even these difficult times can be for the glory of God.
To God be the glory, as the Lord is using this crisis to bring people closer to Him, Satan is also trying to create a stumbling block to the work of the Church. In early November, the Liberian President Madam Ellen Johnson Selief was requesting for an additional power from the Legislative and Judicial branch of government to stop people from attending churches, since public gathering, schools and private sectors has already been shut down. But as God would have it, since the middle of November the cases has drop miraculously and the Law makers, Senators and Representatives has refused to sign the document for her extra executive power to stop people from attending Church services.
We need your continue prayers! Living conditions have not yet return to normal in the Liberia. For the past nine months, every activity was shut down in the country. Government Institutions, privates sectors, Schools and many agencies has closed making living condition very difficult. We thank God for the help from our brethren!"
"And he (Jesus) said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15).
"You can do what millions of others have done if you want to. You can settle down to the monotony of American life, get married, raise children, work, retire, die and be forgotten, or you can become a pioneer, a trail-blazer, invest your life in a great adventure for God, and be the first to give some unreached tribe the gospel, and be remembered forever. Which will it be? It is for you to decide."
The Challenge of Missions by Oswald J. Smith
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