Evangelism and Mission
Without further comments, I am posting this amazing report from a friend who ministers in the Middle East.
His passion for evangelism is clear and praiseworthy.
Sorry that I have not written for a while. Everything is going well.
Our April/Passover outreach went very well. We had about seven hundred and fifty orders for the Redemption film in Russian and all have been delivered. We worked with a number of congregations throughout the country and now more congregations want to get involved in what we are doing, towards which we hope to have a conference on the 3rd of July inviting all the churches to participate. In addition, we also hope to distribute some good teaching material in Russian by John Piper. Most of the Russian churches don’t really have good teaching so we hope to rectify this problem through fellowship and cooperation. We also want to print in Russian the book ‘Don’t waste your life’ by John Piper and we are in the process of translating another book by the same author into Russian.
Journeying and Divine Appointments.
I was recently in Turkey where I was invited to attend the opening of a new church building. They really need our prayers. In Turkey it is a very hard. There are two major obstacles to the gospel: one is Islam and the other is secularism, both hate the gospel; and there are few native Turkish believers able to take up the task and its demands.
On the way to Turkey, I met a young man at the airport whom I have known for 16 years. He is now a manager of a large electronic store. We sat down and drank coffee and talked about many things, and then I pointedly asked him, “How is your spiritual life?” His life turned out to be not so good. He is successful materially and he knows the Lord, yet his commitment is very weak. If it’s not so good we need to make it good with divine help, I continue to pray that the Lord will touch his heart.
On the flight to Turkey, which is two hours from Tel Aviv, I sat next to a woman who is a South African convert to Judaism and we spoke the whole of the flight about spiritual things. This woman recovered from cancer a few years ago and she also recently lost her step-son in Gaza. I knew that the Lord had placed us together on the flight and I was able to present the gospel to her. She took my email and said she will contact me when she returns to Israel.
It is great to see all these divine appointments. I don’t believe that we lack opportunity to share His wonderful message, we just often fail to take up the opportunities that come our way. In Turkey I had a number of opportunities to witness to Turks. The meeting for the opening of the new church building went well with about one hundred in attendance. I preached on Malachi chapter one. The subject was on true worship. If we do not worship the Lord according to His Word in love and sincerity then it’s better not to worship Him at all. There are many missionaries in Turkey but many cannot be effective because of fear of losing a visa and their independence from the local church. There is the same situation in many Middle Eastern countries.
In one place I saw missionaries outside of a language school. If you ask them if they are missionaries they run away from you very quickly as if it is wrong to be one. I understand that the word has bad meanings to many: to the Jews it can mean one out to literally brainwash and deceive (a distortion many use but we can explain rightly), but to a believer, it just means one who has a mission to share the good news, of which we are not ashamed. If the Lord wants us to stay in a country, if it is of Him, He will keep us there but we ought not to be ashamed of our calling and frightened to say who we are.
After Turkey I flew to the USA. It was an interesting flight, I had a great place to witness outside… the toilets (‘bathrooms’ for Americans even though there is no shower or bath). I would let people go before me and while other people were waiting I would speak to them about the Gospel. I had some good conversations with people. They asked me where I was traveling to and I would ask them in return ‘What is your final destination?’ or I would start the conversation myself with the question if they know where they’re going to. This is a good opportunity to start talking to people for people are mostly curious.
You should try to use every opportunity to preach the Gospel. I would like to share another story with you. I met a Turkish woman with a baby and she came and asked me if I could hold her baby while she went to the bathroom. afterward we exchanged a few words and at the end of the long ten hour flight, in which her baby had not slept at all, I ran after her. Why not to offer to carry her bags? So I helped her to the passport control, then I met her again at the baggage claim and she accepted my help again. I had with me some Turkish Bibles and gave her a copy of the NT, which she gladly received. She told me that she was living in the Caribbean and had married a non-Muslim and that she was a Turkish Muslim. I went and checked my bags in for the connecting flight and went to look for her and offered to help her to the Hotel shuttle. At first she was wondering why I was helping her and she said that it is hard to trust people these days. She was also surprised she had taken a New Testament from me. (I was too). I said, ‘Don’t trust me, it’s my Job to help people’. When we finally arrived at the shuttle stop she was very happy. I gave her my email and asked her to keep in touch. I pray that she will meet some believers and read that New Testament. I truly believe that the greatest gift one can give a non-believer is His Word itself; it alone has the power to penetrate the heart and change lives.
The next day I went to a conference in Indianapolis It was a pastors’
conference and it was a great privilege to be with so many godly and serious men. To have fellowship and to listen to good Bible teaching, to be encouraged, and to encourage one another in the things of God. Truly uplifting.
After the conference I went to Minneapolis for a few days to visit a friend. I took a flight from Chicago to Minneapolis and my flight was delayed and while I was waiting I saw a man with a Bible and went up to him.
It turned out he was a missionary in Colombia and we had some fellowship, which we could not have had if my plane had been on time.
As soon as I arrived in Minneapolis I went straight for a radio interview. Five 12 minute radio broadcasts and I was given 200 New Testaments as a donation. Within 48 hours my friend and I had given out most of them.
The first night we went to a homeless shelter to give out supplies and hand out the Scriptures. This is an area where a lot of people congregate, mostly the homeless. We saw another side of the US and the people were generally glad to receive the New Testaments. We witnessed, shared, and listened to many. We met also a few Somalians. The Minneapolis area has over 100,000 Somalians who are Muslims, and over the few days spent in the area we spoke to many and gave them a number of New Testaments in English.
Another time we went to a coffee shop and it was full of Somalians. It was a little harder because they were sitting around in groups (and we are far less open amongst our peers). I approached one group and a man was angry with me. He was an extreme Muslim and I said, ‘God bless you’ and some kind words to which he had no reply. Later on I was able to give them some literature and a man came to me and apologized for this rude man, and as we were leaving later some of the others came up to me asking for New testaments.
At a Christian bookshop we met a couple that invited us “to go and do evangelism”, so we went together handing out literature to those we met on the way. I met an African American who had converted to Islam but was not willing to have rational and calm conversation on the Bible. If he was rational he would not have converted. We split up and wandered around the groups. I gave out all the literature very quickly. This was a very open crowd. The other couple left early and gave me what literature they had left, and carrying it in my hand and walking down the street I began looking for people to talk to. I bumped into a group preaching on the streets.
Looking closer I noticed that the group were holding up the Bible and were wearing strange clothes with the Star of David printed on them. They were black Hebrews. Essentially a racist cultish organization. They believe that the African races are the true Israelites. One of their beliefs is that Jacob is the father of the Africans and Esau – the white races. They take the Bible out of context and build arguments on lies. They claim that they are the superior race and the true people of God. “White” people are looked upon as oppressors and evil. Knowing that it would be a waste of time talking to them (they have no rational or logical arguments and their beliefs are based on verses out of context and mythology), I started to talk to people who were listening to them. I met a young Jewish man called David in the crowd and we spoke in Hebrew and had a very good conversation. I left him with a New Testament and my email address. (He later emailed me
that evening asking to meet in the future). Later on I also met a man who
was listening to the black Hebrews and while talking with him they pointed to him and asked what his nationality was, I told him to answer ‘American’
(he was American). Why make so many divisions because of the ethnicity or color of ones skin? (It could be possible that we will all be green in heaven). I prefer to speak about what the Bible actually says and not politics, creeds, or colors. I have found a lot of confusion in the US.
There are plenty of opportunities to share His message, and sadly, not many who are able and equipped to engage people.
You do not need to go far from your home to minister, nor be a missionary in some far away land, you have fields ripe in your own city, neighborhood,
-even on a plane you have a next door neighbor. Do not be discouraged if
you do not have all the words, or are not received warmly, but let us not be afraid to say what we know in our hearts to be true, even in few words, in kindness and love.