Missions Update - April 29, 2021
God's plan of salvation knows no cultural or ethnic boundaries. The Gospel saves individuals from every people group without distinction, and Summit Woods Baptist Church loves nothing more than being apart of God's work in making disciples of all nations.
For a number of years Summit Woods has been fostering and nurturing relationships with workers in Central Asia. We have sent teams to assist workers in a number of areas from strengthening relationships with neighbor to helping workers to be equipped for the work of ministry.
A few weeks ago, Summit Woods member Jon Horton traveled to Central Asia, joining other partner churches to assist workers during an annual retreat. Now back, he put together some thoughts of his time in Central Asia. Jon's introspective, profound, and deeply truthful report provides a terrific base from which we can be praying for the work in Central Asia and the work of the gospel more broadly around the world.
From Jon: As I think about the trip the Lord allowed me to make, some thoughts come to mind, which I'd like to share.
- There are a lot of people who are lost, without Christ. God calls us to do what we can in His work in all nations. Some of us need to prepare and go serve him -- make disciples in other nations.
- The people that God calls to serve him can actually do the work God calls them to do. God helps them. There are challenges, to be sure. Sometimes transitions are hard, not only for workers but also for members of their family. Learning a new language takes work, although children seem able to pick it up more easily. Learning to travel from place to place can be done. We should be aiming, as Christ-followers not at the most comfortable life but the most obedient, faithful life. Things we put up with along the way as we follow him are worth it in the end. We should think of what Jesus put up with, as he lived to please our Father in heaven.
- There are spiritual needs in the United States, but in some areas of the planet the lost have fewer opportunities to ever hear about Jesus or even to meet a Christian. Some villages, cities, and parts of the world have few or no believers, few or no churches. God cares; what are we going to do about that?
- Workers need prayer. Are there ways to encourage them from time to time? They need patience, encouragement, discernment, perseverance, faith, humility, and diligence. They need strength in the inner man. They need to be able to trust God to work things out. They need to draw near to God in his word and prayer. They need to be likeminded with their team.
- When problems come up, God can and will help us.
- There is beauty in places in this world that can be seen if the Lord lets a person go there. There are good things God gives, things to be thankful for, wherever we go. Christian love is beautiful wherever we find it; I found it in God's servants in Central Asia.
- There are some people out there, not all, who are dishonest and will try to take advantage of people; that would be the case wherever there are people.
- Among people who are new to us, it's good to attempt to learn their language, or at least to be with someone who does. For long-term efforts, I believe it's probably a must. But languages can be interesting.
- In some parts of the world, a loud call to prayer five times a day is part of daily life. In some places it's not as noticeable; in others, you can't miss it. This is just the way it is. Hotel rooms had an arrow, pointing toward Mecca, I believe. One had it on the ceiling; another displayed it in a desk drawer.
- Getting to Central Asia seems to be the expensive part (financially, that is); once there, in my limited experience, it seemed to me that lodging and food weren't that expensive by comparison to the United States.
- I wonder what local church gatherings would be like, or some kind of Christian gatherings for worship and fellowship. I expect it would be quite a switch from what I have been used to in the United States, especially in the size of gatherings. God knows where his people are and has his eye on us whether here or there.
- As a follower of Christ I should ask God for wisdom when considering job, career, calling, and so forth. This asking is important at whatever stage in life I am. I wish I had given this more consideration earlier in my life, but I must go on from here with what I understand. I ask, “How can my work honor God? How can I be useful, serving the Lord in this? Where are the needs? What can I contribute, or maybe better, what is the Lord calling me to do?” These are more appropriate questions than, “What would I prefer?” The souls of people are going to be one of two places forever.