Lessons from a Coffee Shop

“It’s just like finding a person of peace,” Delun whispered to Matt. 

The two men were visiting the warehouse of a friend to pray over his new business venture. Afterward, they started talking about different marketing strategies.

Their friend’s previous business had been a small coffee shop. For the most part, he had simply waited for customers to come in. But with an online business, he noted, you had to go out and find new customers rather than wait for them to come to you. It was a lot of work — “just like finding a person of peace.” 

Matt enjoyed his friend’s observation. Delun “got it.” Disciples must intentionally go out to find people who will be receptive to the Good News. A person of peace hears the Good News, receives it, and opens their oikos (family or relational network) to the gospel messengers. 

Later Delun told Matt that he was going to talk with a potential person of peace he knew. “I’m going to talk to her and pass on Jesus’ instructions for making followers like we are studying together in Luke 10.”

Pray that Delun will see much fruit as he learns and follows Jesus’ example. 

Answered Prayers, Opened Doors

BEYOND’s Himalayan team treks out to meet and build relationships with families and disciple them toward Jesus. One family they met had relationship problems and asked for prayer. A team member prayed aloud for God to intervene in specific ways.

On the following trip, the family greeted them enthusiastically. “Everything you prayed for happened just like you asked!” One answered prayer had been the marriage of their daughter. 

The answered prayers allowed the team to share more about Jesus and becoming his follower.

Before the team left, the family shared that the daughter had miscarried, and the baby had been deformed. They believed they were cursed. Again the team prayed, asking for a healthy baby and blessing on the family.

This year the team found that a beautiful baby had been added to the family. God had answered their prayers again.

A few hours after arriving, however, some villagers told them to leave. Outsiders were not allowed during the pandemic.The family’s grandmother stepped forward: “These are our visitors, and they will stay in our home. If you are worried, don’t come around our family or house for two weeks after they leave.” 

The team only stayed one night but are thankful for that time of discipleship

Do You Go Beyond the Four Walls?

Learning the basics of Disciple Making Movements requires a paradigm shift for pastors of well-established denominational churches. The idea of reaching lost people more effectively by going outside the four walls of the church is daunting. Choosing to go to the lost instead of to invite them into church buildings can be a challenge! 

But in the Philippines, Alex* continues to coach twelve traditional church pastors in disciple-making principles via Zoom calls. Says Alex, “It’s as if the Lord has blown down the four walls of many of their churches.”

There are now over 70 house churches among this group of pastors! During this time of pandemic restrictions, they have answered the Lord’s call to go. They report that more people are hearing the gospel and being discipled via house churches than when they invited people to church and followed their normal routines. Two of the pastors have 35 and 15 house churches respectively! Another was called before the community “captain” because one of his groups exceeded the community’s present pandemic restrictions. They have since multiplied to become two house churches!

Praise God for moving His Church into the world — and growing it — during this present crisis.

*pseudonym

 

“. . . What Would Jesus Want You to Do?”

“I am Lin*; I come from [a large city in Asia]; I am seventeen.”  

Lightning fast, Lin rattled off his introduction before the other students. At first, Matt*, the Discovery Bible study facilitator, thought Lin was joking. He soon came to realize that speaking quickly was just one of Lin’s unique characteristics.

That night as the group discussed Jesus’ last supper and the first Communion, Lin was a chatterbox. He made the discussion very challenging with constant interruptions and sarcastic comments. “So, his body is wheat.” “That’s disgusting [to eat Jesus’ body]!” Though later Matt learned that others were able to understand the Scripture passage, Lin’s mocking made it very difficult for everyone to participate fully. 

In the end, however, Matt felt Lin made a profound statement in response to the question: “If this is true, what does Jesus want you to do?” 

Lin answered: “Jesus wants me to eat his body and drink his blood for the forgiveness of my sins.” 

Please pray that God would take the seed sown and produce fruit beyond what we could ask or imagine. Pray that these students would have ears to hear his words and hearts to obey them.

*pseudonym

They Had Plans but God Had Better Plans . . .

Natalie* and Sue hosted an online prayer time with local believers. Amil and Zara, a husband and wife, joined them. They chatted for a few minutes before turning to prayer. After several minutes, Zara and Amil indicated that another man, Hami, was with them when they asked the ladies to pray for his daughter. They did so, then invited Hami to pray as well.

At this point, Natalie and Sue discovered that Hami was not a follower and had no idea what they had been talking about or praying for. He began to ask questions about the Word, saying he needed to understand everything about their faith! They talked for about an hour. Natalie and Sue mentioned several passages for them to read together.

The next day Zara texted them about what had happened. Zara, Amil, and Hami had continued discussing spiritual things, and Hami took home a copy of the Word. He had read until 6 am, unable to put it down. 

Natalie and Sue had plans for an evening of prayer, but let their plans go. God had better plans in store! Pray for Hami as he absorbs the Word of God. Pray God opens his mind to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

*pseudonyms

Unable to Breathe, He was Turning White . . .

Two months into COVID-19, *Asad’s 7-year-old nephew got sick. He had a high fever and difficulty breathing. Asad and his extended family went to support his brother’s family. They decided to take the boy to the hospital but were denied access at the first COVID check-point. They had to return home.

The boy got worse. Unable to breathe, he was turning white. Everyone feared for his life. 

Asad, a follower of Isa al Masih (Jesus the Messiah), knew God was in control and had a plan for the whole situation, including his Muslim family. Through the Spirit’s strength and in front of everyone, Asad prayed, asking God to heal the boy in the name of Isa al Masih

Right away, Asad felt “a ‘tension’ leave the boy’s body,” and within a few hours his nephew asked for food. The following day, he was out playing with his friends! 

God is in the business of reaching people through His Word, His healing power, and His Spirit — all within the difficult contexts of our lives! Asad’s family witnessed the grace and power of God. Pray that as Asad follows up with them, they will also choose to become followers of Jesus.


*pseudonyms

Are You Quick to Obey?

*Joel has been leading a disciple-making training in the Tibetan Himalayas. One of its critical components is reproducibility. The participants are immediately released to practice the principles and train others to do likewise. Out of all the groups Joel has trained, this one has been the quickest to obey Scripture. They are all eager to see God’s kingdom come in their communities. 

In lesson two, they looked at the Great Commandment from Mark 12 and at Deuteronomy 6. Based on these passages, Joel trains people to do and say intentional things in their daily lives that show others they are followers of Jesus. 

The following week, they discussed the results. Several had had spiritual conversations with people they had known for years but with whom they had never before shared their faith. One woman was able to share what it means to be a follower of Jesus after someone saw the way she handled a disagreement with a coworker. Another person shared how he led two people to the Lord that week by following God’s commands in Deuteronomy 6!

Pray for this group to continue their exuberant obedience to God’s teachings. Pray they would see abundant and lasting fruit.

*pseudonym

A Crippled Girl Walks

Rindu* was eight years old and had never walked. A team prayed diligently with her and her family while seeking the help of a physical therapist. Soon Rindu became able to stand for a short time. Then she took her first unsteady steps.

Her family witnessed the power of God! When asked if they would like to learn about him through stories of the prophets and Jesus, they readily said yes. Today, Rindu and her mother, father, and older sister have all come to faith. They have been baptized and gather regularly to worship the Lord in a house church format. 

While the family is very poor and lacks self-confidence, the transforming power of the gospel has convinced them that God can use them. Rindu’s mother and sister are sharing with others in the hopes of starting new groups of followers.

Please pray for An*, who is mentoring this family: for spiritual growth for each member, and for their house church to multiply through the birth of new groups.

*pseudonym

Convicted to Clean Out the Weeds

As part of their discipleship training in an East Asian country, four women read the familiar parable of the sower in Mark 4. After multiple readings, they talked about what they learned about God and humans from the parable. Then, wanting to obey the truths from the story, they turned to the Holy Spirit to speak to them about personal application. 

*Jean realized that she needs to change the reflexive, habitual way she thinks about what church means. Ellie saw that she should learn Disciple-Making principles so she could more easily flex with what worked within the society and the diverse individuals in it. Abby became convicted to clean out some “weeds” in her own life. Finally, Deb was struck by the need to sow seeds generously so there would be a plentiful harvest from the seeds that fell on good soil.

What a beautiful picture of how God teaches his children to listen to his voice and obey him!

As the facilitator, Deb did not craft a message that she wanted the others to receive. Instead, she trusted the Holy Spirit to speak directly into each individual’s situation. And Deb expects these women will learn from the experience and lead others to do the same!

*pseudonyms

We Can Plant Seeds but God Grows Them

Olive* had to leave Asia and return home unexpectedly, but she stays in touch with friends via social media. One day she received a text from Celia* saying she had started a Discovery Bible Study(DBS) and had a question. In the DBS, an unbeliever had asked something not covered in the passage. “I remembered you said not to ‘teach’ in the group. What should we do when someone asks a question like that?” 

Olive was surprised and delighted. Celia had attended a DBS she had facilitated seven or eight years prior, but they had only met a few times since. Olive joyfully answered that asking questions was best. Sometimes a facilitator will guide the group to another Bible study that allows the group to find the answer themselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Celia had watched Olive do a DBS all those years ago. Now Olive assists and watches over Celia’s DBS from afar, answering questions and encouraging her as she helps others discover the truth about Jesus. “How amazing it seems to me that she remembered lessons from long ago and felt led to begin a group!” Olive says. “We can plant seeds, but God makes them grow.”

*pseudonyms