El Roi – The God Who Sees Us

El Roi – The God Who Sees Us

This story comes from *Jenny, a seasoned Church Planting Movement practitioner who has seen thousands of people come to know the Lord and has seen the start of several hundred movements. She shares this story of simply listening to the Holy Spirit and obeying.

“Last week I discovered my elevator card wasn’t working, an uncommon and concerning enigma. I knew I needed to go down to the management office to ask why it wasn’t working and felt the Lord’s prompting to share a story with the office manager, *Rita while I was there. I had shared with her a couple times before, just simple verses or whatever *Shema statement came to mind in the moment. I hadn’t met with any resistance but also couldn’t tell if there was any real interest there. So, I went down the 10 flights of stairs to ground level and then walked over to the building next door and up two more flights of stairs to the management office.

Rita was there as always, with a big smile on her face and a warm welcome. We took a couple minutes to sort out my elevator card issue and then sat down to chat for a few minutes. I asked about where she lived and she said that she and her son were living with her mom, not too far away. She went on to share about her difficult decision of whether to divorce her controlling husband or to give the separation more time.

I shared with her what had been my prayer verse for the preceding week: “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’”(Psalm 32:8) I told her that I would be praying this for her and she seemed really grateful. She continued to share, especially about how painful it was being cast out by her husband and how she felt that she always had to put up a brave front for her son and others and not let people know her pain and fears about single-parenting.

Immediately it struck me what story I needed to share – just that morning, a friend had suggested I read the story of Hagar, in relation to something totally different that we had been discussing. I had meditated and prayed about that story for over an hour that morning before I decided to go down and deal with my elevator card. As I shared the story of Hagar – a woman with a small child, cast out by her husband, alone and afraid in the desert, but seen by God, taken care of by God, Rita began to cry. I told her, “God sees you, Rita, He sees your pain and your fears for your son, and He will help you.” She thanked me several times for the story and the encouragement. Please pray for me as I go back in the weeks to come to visit with Rita again and share with her about God’s love and His infinite mercy for her.”

*pseudonyms

**Shema is the Hebrew word often translated “hear” but better translated “hear and obey” in Deuteronomy 6:4. Among movement catalysts, “shema statement” or “shema lifestyle” is often used as a shorthand description for a spiritually fragrant word or deed which invites but does not force a spiritual response to God

MENTIONING GOD …
God instructs His people to talk about His commandments “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
read more …

DESPERATE TO BEAR MORE FRUIT
… we’ve seen God encourage us when we’re down, challenge us to stay engaged with local people, and reinforce best practices for multiplication. read more …

I AM NOT CHRISTIAN. I’M THAI
They associate their ethnic or national heritage exclusively with one religion. The two are inseparably tied read more …

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

This year, Chinese New Year (CNY) begins on Saturday, February 10, marking the new year’s arrival (on the traditional Chinese calendar) for nearly one-sixth of the world’s population. The whole celebration lasts 16 days, from New Year’s Eve through the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. For a portion of those days, nearly 1.4 billion people return to their family homes, making it the largest annual migration of people on earth.

Once home, families usher in the New Year by eating a family meal together, honoring their ancestors with offerings, exchanging gifts of money, and generally welcoming good fortune into their lives for the upcoming year.

The reunion meal, eaten on the Eve of Chinese New Year, is considered to be the most important meal of the year. Before the meal begins, the family honors their ancestors by offering food and lighting incense. Then the family enjoys many symbolic foods, which, when consumed, are believed to ensure a happy, healthy, and prosperous year. On the stroke of midnight, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits and bad luck. Many cities have huge public displays, but some families and businesses also have private ones.

Liberal use of the auspicious color red also courts good fortune in the new year. Red lanterns, banners, couplets, and symbols decorate businesses and homes. Red clothing is a must and is thought to protect people and bring good luck and fortune.

Giving money in bright red packets is a way to pass on good luck. Children delightedly receive the envelopes from family members and close friends. Married people pass these packets to their single friends, and businesses often give them to their employees and loyal customers.

During this time, people adhere to many rituals and taboos. There is to be no cleaning of the home, laundry, or even oneself on New Year’s Day. To do so would be to sweep or wash good fortune away, ensuring a difficult year. One should not use sharp objects such as knives, get a haircut, break anything, say unlucky words (“death” or “sickness”) or do anything taboo that could cause good fortune to leave the family.

Please pray that people would realize that wealth alone can blind one to their true state of being. As Revelation 3:17 says: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”

HOW CAN WE PRAY:

  • Pray that Beyond field workers would be ready to engage those celebrating CNY with the truth of the gospel.
  • Pray that the seeds sown during this time will find fertile soil and will take root, and pray that those who hear will come to know that life in Christ is the best choice they could ever make.

 

Reshma’s* Story

Reshma’s* Story

A woman invited her neighbor, Reshma*, to participate in a Discovery Bible study in her home. The woman was a follower of Jesus. She knew that things were not good in Reshma’s family. She wanted Reshma to hear a True Story about the True God and she wanted Reshma to receive prayer. If only the group could pray for Reshma, the friend just knew that God would help her with her every need.

Reshma attended the Bible study. The story of creation amazed her. What wonderful news! There is a God above all gods. When He made the world, He made it beautiful and good. The world with its violence and aggression, its oppression of women, its sadness and loss was not how it had always been! It was water to the dry soil of Reshma’s heart.

Reshma attended three more Bible studies in her neighbor’s home. Thrilled about the Good News she was learning, she began to share the True Stories with relatives in the village. Her husband became furious when he heard about her activities. How dare she leave the house! How dare she promote Christian stories! It was time to put a stop to the nonsense. Reshma’s husband took her to the roof of their home, held her over the edge and promised he would throw her off if she didn’t stop telling people about this Jesus. The next time Reshma met with the other disciples, she informed them through tears about her husband’s threat. They told her she should stop reaching out. Reshma replied, “What I am learning [about Jesus and His commands] encourages me to do this. I cannot stop!”

Soon enough, Reshma’s husband heard that she was still sharing about Jesus with their relatives and neighbors. Thankfully, he didn’t follow through on his threat about the roof, but he did imprison her in a room in their home. Before locking the door, he declared, “No one will meet together. You are separate from our family and will not see your children.”

Reshma prayed. Six weeks went by. One day, her husband was badly injured in a fall from the tractor while out in their field. With her husband now confined to his bed, Reshma was allowed out of the room in order to serve him. She kept praying. And for 22 days she cared for her husband. She brought his meals to the bed. She fed him. Over time, he began to treat her politely. Finally, his arrogance melted into humility. Once he was up and walking around the house again, Reshma dared to ask, “Are you still angry with me? If not, can I do Jesus’ work?” He made no reply. Reshma took his silence as permission. Thrilled, she began once more to share about Jesus with others.

In nine months time, this line of believers would grow to five generations of disciples with 42 people baptized into new life with Christ!

*pseudonym

IN SPITE OF THE BEATINGS
The two men shared a Bible story with the family. The family liked the discussion. The men didn’t preach, but simply shared the story, … read more

FROM BRICK-MAKERS TO DISCIPLE-MAKERS
A few months later, monsoon season arrived. While the farmers rejoice at the rains, brick-makers cringe.   read more …

Freedom from Demons, Baptism and 40 New Churches

Freedom from Demons, Baptism and 40 New Churches

Moon (literal translation of his name into English) is from a poor, nomadic, unreached people group in India. Illiterate and low caste, Moon had no job and no prospects. He lived on the side of the road in a plastic tent, sleeping on adirt floor. Moon was estranged from his wife because of his abusive anger. He was once arrested for getting violent with a girl. He fought anyone and was afraid of no one.

Sanjay and a friend, Jacob, had been working closely with Moon’s community leaders for a couple of years. The leaders asked the two men for help. Sanjay and Jacob’s first impression of Moon was that he was simply crazy. He even drank the blood of goats when they were butchered in the market. What kind of person was this!?

For months, Sanjay and Jacob returned to Moon’s community to visit with him and pray for him. Most people avoided Moon. Sanjay and Jacob loved him. During the course of a year, they saw change. Moon became a follower of Jesus. He became peaceful. He and his wife reconciled. They now have a son.  As a family, they eagerly share their story with others. 

Sanjay estimates that over 40 new house churches have been birthed through Moon and his wife’s efforts. Moon has even baptized new followers of Jesus who he is discipling.

Like the story in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, Jesus is still in the business of rescue. Rescued new disciples are making more disciples. The movement churches reported more than 100,000 baptisms in two months, across 16 states in India. This is the power of multiplication—every disciple making another disciple.

 

RELATED STORIES

MY LIP HAS FALLEN OFF (KRISH’S STORY)
Krish grew up in a devout Hindu family. For six years, he had been an active member of a radical pro-Hindu group. read more …

FRIEND, PEON, MANAGER
In the West, it is the general practice for a business owner to hire a manager if he or she doesn’t have. read more …

IN SPITE OF THE BEATINGS
The two men shared a Bible story with the family. The family liked the discussion. The men didn’t preach, but simply shared the story, read more …

The Bridge of Hair and the Lamb

The Bridge of Hair and the Lamb

Kent was prayer-walking, which is simply walking while praying for people along the way and the area. On his walk, Kent visited an Indonesian mosque. Quickly, he was surrounded by young men curious about “the foreigner.”

Abruptly, a young man shouldered his way to Kent and sternly asked, “How can you claim Jesus is God if he cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?’”

Kent answered briefly, then met with him on several other occasions. When Kent moved to another city, a coworker continued meeting with the young man.

They discussed a story well known among his people group: On Judgment Day, people will be trapped at the edge of a fiery abyss. The only way to God will be over a bridge the width of one-seventh of a hair. The bridge breaks from the weight of people’s sin, and they fall into the fire below.

Occasionally, they say, God sends a pure lamb across this narrow bridge. Anyone who rides this lamb can safely cross the abyss to God.

Nothing spiritual happened during the first discussion of this story. Yet weeks later, perhaps through the working of the Holy Spirit, when the story was mentioned again, he looked startled. He slammed the table and said, “Jesus is that Lamb; isn’t He?” That day, he trusted the Lamb to carry him safely into God’s very presence!  

We give glory to the Holy Spirit for this revelation and acknowledgement that He is the best teacher. May the Holy Spirit continue to reveal His truths and multiply disciples in this region!

*pseudonym

READ RELATED STORIES

THREE MAJOR HINDRANCES -4000 DISCIPLES
Hanli* helped her husband track data describing their region’s largest family of church planting movements. 
read more …

SUSI, IS STILL SEARCHING
The ladies dished some carrot cake before Jane asked Susi to share her story. Susi had grown up in a difficult home.   read more …

REMEMBER SUSI, THE SEEKER
Since Susi’s husband and extended family do not believe, she remained cautious about fully committing herself to read more …