Are You Mary or Zechariah?

Are You Mary or Zechariah?

John and another north Indian movement leader traveled to meet with ten Muslim men who had said they wanted to know more about Isa al Masih (Jesus). John and his friend shared some verses from the Qur’an about Jesus and the Old and New Testaments. The group liked what they heard. They did not immediately become followers of Jesus that day, but neither did they argue. They are open. They said, “You have taught us a lot! Please come back.” John plans to return another time.

A key movement practice is to go and go again. We can’t keep returning for years or maybe even months if no one shows spiritual interest. Because the harvest is plentiful, we must not waste time with those who aren’t ready. But where we find authentic interest, we can consider the door to still be open. 

The movement leaders have learned the difference between genuine questioning and argumentative spirits. It is the difference between Mary’s awe-struck “How can this be?” and Zechariah’s scoffing “How can this be?”

Some people, like the group above, say, “Wow. This is a lot to take in. I need some time to think about it. But please come back and tell us more later.” But when we meet those who only want to argue, we can say, “I love you too much to argue,” and move on to others who are open to listening to the Good News. We can trust God to give the skeptics (modern Zechariahs) another chance (and another and another), even if not with us. But we must be willing to move on, staying in step with the Spirit, to find and share with those who are ready to hear the good news.

Related Articles:
A Former Hindu, a Former Muslim … Partners for Jesus 
Jesus Heals as is Written in the Qur’an
Sharing the Gospel with Hindus
If Jesus Suffered a Judas, So Could We

 

In Spite of the Beatings

In Spite of the Beatings

One lay leader and a partner in north India visited a village where they had never been before. They found a family interested in hearing about the God who made the world. 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, then asked questions about it, including the most important one, “If this story were true, how would you apply it to your life?”

The family asked the men to return another time. They did. The meetings became regular. The neighbors began to notice. They heard the songs that started the meetings. They began hanging out near the door and windows. They liked the Bible stories too. 

One such neighbor, a lady, entered the home. She sat and listened to the story. She liked the discussion and the prayer. She began attending regularly. Unfortunately, her husband didn’t like her going to these meetings. He beat her after each one. He had no job and was drunk all the time. She kept attending the meetings, though, in spite of the beatings. Finally, one day, she looked at her husband and said, “Fine. You don’t want me to go to these meetings? I won’t go. But first, you have to attend a meeting with me one time. If you don’t like it, when it’s done you can beat me again. But, at least go one time.”

So, he did. He got drunk first, but he went. He fidgeted. He glared at the leaders. He left in a huff. But, when it was all over, he didn’t beat his wife. The next week, he attended the meeting again. This time, he wasn’t drunk. When the meeting was done, he told the leaders that he wanted to follow the God of those stories. He was tired of drinking all the time. He wanted a new life. And so, this family is now changed. The husband no longer beats his wife. He’s stopped drinking. They are learning from the Bible. Their lives are new.

This is the life altering effect of our God and His word! You are making a difference in untold numbers of lives through your support of faithful disciple-makers like these.

Miracles, Demonic Exorcism, and Reignited Passion

Miracles, Demonic Exorcism, and Reignited Passion

After prayer walking with a local partner, sowing gospel seeds with whoever was receptive, Scott* asked the Lord what he should do with the time before his afternoon appointment. 

Scott felt that he should accompany his friend who was going to a church on the other side of town from his afternoon appointment, so he did. When they arrived, they found Kamnan* and Tida*, a couple Scott had not seen for 20 years.

That morning the Lord had told the couple to find Scott, so they had traveled to the church to inquire after his whereabouts. Their surprisingly immediate reunion with Scott was warm, and they readily accepted his invitation to a disciple-making training he was giving the following week.  

Despite several scheduling conflicts, Kamnan and Tida came. They later said it was a complete revival of their spiritual well-being and reignited a passion they had not felt since becoming new believers.  

Full of faith, they went out to do what they had learned in the training. Through their obedience, God has performed a few miracles, including a demonic exorcism, and several people have become followers of Jesus. 

In reflection, Scott realizes how easily he could have missed out on God’s plan. Had he enacted his own efficient planning that day and not submitted his schedule to the Lord, he would have missed Kamnan and Tida. Their ministry would not have started, and Scott would not have seen what he trusts is an answer to his prayer for new apostolically gifted workers.

*pseudonyms

Related Articles:
I would Be a Christian if I Could
A Holy Discomfort
“I Am Not Christian I’m Thai”
“Well, That’s Easy I can Do That!”

Jesus Heals as is Written in the Qur’an

Jesus Heals as is Written in the Qur’an

As you may have recently read, Charlie and Sarah had been walking through a season of discouragement. One morning, Sarah asked the Lord to show her that He was still at work.

“Later that same day,” Sarah recalls, “another friend went with Charlie and me to look for persons of peace (as in Luke 10) in a mountain village where we hike. It was drizzling, so not many people were out. But as we rounded a corner, two ladies waved energetically at us and invited us into their home, just before a downpour hit. 

“It turned out that we had met one of them previously. A few weeks ago, Charlie and I had been hiking and had come upon a lady curled up on the side of the road with her husband sitting beside her. Her back had given out as she climbed the hill with her heavy load. We stopped to pray for her in Jesus’ name, but had to resume our hike since we were an hour from our car and sunset was rapidly approaching.

“This was the same lady, Ibu Muli, in whose home we now sat. She told us that immediately after the prayer, her back had been healed, and she was able to carry her load home. Her back hadn’t bothered her since. ‘Are you Muslims?’ she asked. ‘No,’ we replied, ‘We are followers of Isa (Jesus), who can heal the sick as it is written in the Qur’an.’ 

“God had been at work a month or more before I had uttered my prayer. And here was a lady open to hearing about Isa, because God had healed her.”

“Please pray for Ibu Muli and her uncle, who gives the call to prayer at the local mosque. They agree with everything we say, but she insists we must be good Muslims, because of all the truths we speak. We will keep returning to her village and joining God in His work. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give them a thirst for God and an openness to hear about Jesus.

*pseudonyms

Related Articles:
Queens, Killer Bees and Multiplication
“I Told Him I was Quitting”
Getting to the Harvest is Doable
We Walked as He Parted the Waters

 

Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Once From Prison, Once from Hunger, Once From Sin

Part Two:
Not long after his miraculous escape from slavery, Bahar moved his family to a new town. But catastrophic flooding across the country soon placed Bahar and his family in a new life-threatening challenge: they had no way to get food. 

Bahar’s new town is one in which Samir and Nuh have been sharing the Good News and making disciples. Samir and Nuh, you may remember*, are disciple-makers who were befriended and trained by Frank and Helen. 

When Bahar heard that Samir and Nuh’s church was helping the flood victims by providing food, his family visited the church, hoping to receive help. They joyfully received one month’s food supply on the day of distribution. Jesus, through his disciples, had rescued Bahar’s family again.

While at the church, Bahar, his wife, and their 12-year-old son heard more about this Jesus who had released Bahar and his uncle from prison and of His Good News of salvation. Together, the family decided to follow Jesus.

Bahar and his family are telling their family, friends, and neighbors about how Jesus rescued them three times: once from prison, once from hunger, and once from their sin. Bahar’s friends are now asking him, Samir, and Nuh to come share the Good News of Jesus. 

Related Stories:
Thrown into Slavery (Part One)
Trading Tradition for Multiplication 
Empowered Disciples
Bearing Fruit in a Radically Different Culture