Working alongside with the national church is not to ‘show and tell’ what it means to follow Jesus, but to learn, discern and participate in what God has already been doing amongst the local people. It is not just to say, “Here I am, use me,” but to say, “Thank you God, for using these people to teach me about humility, trust and perseverance; thank you for giving me the privilege to witness the mission movement amongst them in a time such as this.”
Ministering from the prosperous coast to the devastated earthquake region, from the cold mountains to the arid desert, from the rural villages to the urban apartments, I’ve had many unforgettable experiences in Asia. Here is a glimpse:
Can you imagine being woken up by the orchestral sounds of birds, indigenous music and singing, and fervent prayers at 5am every morning? I lay on a hard wooden bed in a simple hut in rural Asia and was deeply touched by the presence of God in this special setting. I knew that this was where God had placed me. This is close to heaven. I forgot about the high temperature, bites of fleas and mosquitoes, regular power failure, lack of water and the unbearably filthy toilet. All I knew was that I was deeply touched and spiritually enriched. The indigenous songs, sung right from their hearts without any instruments, echoed again and again in my ears.
In the eyes of the world, they are lowly, uneducated and poor. Yet, they are ministers and servants of the Most High who demonstrate an amazing godly lifestyle. There is a deep sense of spiritual connection between us. My heart joins with God’s and there is an overflowing love for this simple, humble and thirsty people.
Their purity, boldness and sacrifice for the sake of the gospel exemplify what is described in Acts 4:13: “they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Some of them have served the Lord for over thirty years, starting to preach with only one chapter of the Bible at hand (which was shared by the entire church back then). They travelled and preached the gospel by foot or bicycle throughout the years until revival came to the region. They fed the beggars, healed the blind, and drove out demons in Jesus’ name.
My colleagues and I came to provide intensive training. Who are we to serve these treasured people? Yet, they called us ‘teachers’, they served us with the best of their food and they saved the best place for us to stay and use. They even took our clothes to wash so that we could focus on teaching. They kept saying, “Teacher, thank you for your hard work, we feel so unworthy … yet God loves us so much and sent you.”
The beauty of the picture is that God dwells and manifests himself when we are humble to each other and serve together. It is humility and love in action that conquers the enemy and changes our world. I am honoured to witness what God is doing here in Asia. When we are in the place where God puts us, it is the best place to be.
Jewel* provides pastors and leaders training in Asia.
*Names have been changed.