Recently one of our college students traveled abroad with the IMB. After raising support, he spent the summer months in South Asia. When he returned I asked him to share with our church family (who faithfully prayed for him) some of his experience as he lived out the Great Commission. Sadly, due to inclement weather the day of his presentation, we had to cancel the service in which he was going to speak. Because of this I have asked him to share the highlights of his summer via writing. The following piece is written by that student, Kris Holder. I trust you will enjoy reading what God is doing around the world:
The Lord paved many paths for my teammate and me this summer in South Asia. Our time spent there was full of opportunities to share with others the love of God. During the weekday mornings, we would head out to a recreation center in one of the slums in the city. There we would teach English. My teammate taught the younger children while I taught the older ones. English tutoring gave us the opportunity to visit the recreation center Tuesday nights. Every Tuesday night my teammate and I would teach the community from the book of 1st Samuel. The second ministry was at a refuge home for children. These children’s mothers work in brothels and are unable to provide a healthy living environment. In the evenings after school, my teammate and I would spend hours with the children. We helped with homework, chores, played during recreation time, and provided devotionals just before dinner. Our weekdays were packed with specific duties to fulfill while trying to share with everyone who God is. Not only did we become part of these individuals’ lives and have daily opportunities to share the gospel, but also during our free time on weekends, we would venture out into the city and meet others.
On one occasion while we were venturing out to the public, a few others and I who were assigned to the area made our way to a place of worship for the locals. While three of us were standing outside the building, we began to talk to some of the people. One of us spoke the native tongue and because not all the locals spoke English, he was translating for us. During this conversation, a brother began telling the story of Jesus calming the storm and the story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man. As he was translating, more and more people began to gather around. Soon we had a crowd of people gathered around us, somewhere between 25-35 people. They became more and more curious about this Jesus that most had never heard of before. While these two brothers were sharing with the crowd, I ventured outside of the crowd that had circled around us. As I did this, more people started to gather around me. They had heard a little from the other two but were still confused. They asked me, “Who is Jesus?” “Why do Christians have the cross;” “What’s the meaning of that?” I couldn’t believe the genuine interest in learning about Jesus and His story. So I began to share with them the separation between man and God, and how there is no way we can, by our own merit, make it into the kingdom. I told them that God sent Jesus to live a perfect, blameless, and sacrificial life. He came to Earth to save the people and to die on the cross for our sins/separation. Because he lived a perfect life, his atonement was made acceptable before God, and in the Bible we are told if we believe in our heart what Jesus has done for us, then we can be together with God once again.
These people had no idea about Jesus. It’s not that these nations are choosing not to follow Him. They have no one to share with them who He is. We are blessed to have access to Scripture, buildings for fellowship, and the freedom to speak freely of our Lord. These individuals need the Word. They are hungry for truth, and there is a need for discipling on this side of the world. The hunger for God’s word is throughout the world. Just by speaking these stories, sharing scripture, and taking the initiative to talk to a stranger, we have been able to see God change hearts and lives.
In the refugee ministry my teammate and I were part of, we had the opportunity to mentor/disciple some young believers for a short time. We served in a refuge home with 20+ children whose mothers worked in a brothel. They’ve been brought to this home for a chance at a better life. The ministry is run by a man with a similar testimony who spends his time loving these kids by providing a gospel-filled home. He spent the summer in America while we were serving and we only met him briefly. We found ourselves covering a good portion of the daily responsibilities around the house. During all the chaos of a household of 20+ kids ranging from 4years to 18, we tried to be good role models. We helped the children with their homework, played with them, helped with chores, and provided devotionals. The devotionals constituted loud, joyful worship music in a multitude of languages. We had scripture readings of different stories of Jesus’ power, such as Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Then we followed the reading with assigning roles and acting out the story. Afterwards, we would discuss what we learned from the stories. We asked the kids what they learned about man, what they learned about God, what sin there was to avoid, and what commandment is there to obey and apply to our lives. Every devotion was joyful, but we worried for the older kids. They were smart young adults, and at any moment could choose, if they wanted, to partake in the work that their mother’s were a part of. So we really wanted to make sure their lives were grounded in His word because we knew it wasn’t us but God that changes hearts/lives. To do this, we challenged them to memorize scripture. At first it was just three of the older boys memorizing a couple of verses. But as the weeks went by, they were soon wanting to memorize the “Romans Road” to salvation. These boys took the challenge full speed and because of their example, by the end of the summer, their sisters partook in the challenge. This multiplication of God’s word in their lives started with my teammate and me sharing what we’ve learned, continued with the older boys memorizing a couple verses, then their sisters joined in, and finally some of the younger ones showed interest in the Bible and also memorizing scripture. We encouraged the children to not stop the memorizing, but to take these stories we learned, acted, and discussed to class and share with their classmates. These kids are the future of God’s army in South Asia. God equipped them and I was able to witness the growth of the kingdom half-way around the world. The Word is our best defense against this world, no matter where you are. These small kids are HUGE TESTIMONIES for God’s life changing Word!