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Category Archives: End of the Earth

East Asia – May 2017

We cannot believe we are down to our last two days in East Asia! The previous days have proven themselves tiring yet richly rewarding to us as we continue to meet with the friends we have made here and share the good news of Jesus with them.

On Wednesday, we followed up with some of the students we had shared the gospel with previously. After these meetings, we set out to the center of the city where people gather to shop and grab tea with friends, with the hope that God would allow us to meet more students there. After several failed attempts to meet any new students, we headed over to a milk tea shop to buy some drinks before heading back to the hotel for our team meeting.  We were standing in line ready to order when  God provided us a new friend when we least expected it! We were able to share numbers and set up a lunch date for the next day. It was deeply encouraging to behold the faithfulness of the Lord in continuing to provide opportunities to share the mystery of Christ!

That Wednesday night, our team and many of the students we had been sharing with on previous days, went to KTV (karaoke). Unlike back in the states, karaoke here is set up in private rooms that group of friends reserve to sing their hearts out, and that is what we did! It was a relaxed time with the friends we had made, where countless laughs and singing skills (both in English and their language!) were shared, and friendships were deepened.

Thursday was our last day in East Asia, and as the morning sun peered into our hotel rooms, the day already proved bittersweet as we considered how our trip was coming to an end. We met with “C”, the girl we met Wednesday in line at the milk tea shop. We had the opportunity to learn more about who she is and her story. Over lunch, God was faithful to open to us a door for the word and we shared with her the good news of Jesus! We were able to spend a good portion of the afternoon with her even after lunch where she trusted us with more personal parts of her story and we were able to identify with her struggles and share how God had worked through similar hardships in our own lives and given us a living hope that cannot be shaken.  We were so grateful to God for directing our steps to her, and allowing us to share the good news with her even on our last day there!

That Thursday night our team had dinner with all of the students we had befriended and had shared with during this trip. Even during this last dinner, opportunities for sharing the truth of Jesus were so abundant. One friend, “Z”, has heard the gospel through long term missionaries there and attends a weekly Bible study to learn more about Christianity, but does not feel ready to believe in the truths she has learned. We quickly became friends over the past ten days and as she sat next to me during dinner, she showered me with question after question regarding the story of Jesus and how I had come to faith in Him. Her hunger for truth and her awe at the things I was able to share with her only increased my own awe at a God who will stop at nothing to see the lost reconciled back to Him in this city. His love for the people here is so deep and great!

Tomorrow, as we go back home to Fayetteville, we leave yet another home behind in this city. God has grown our love for the people here in unexpected ways, and burdened our hearts for the many who still do not believe, especially the new friends we had the privilege to meet. But we leave deeply encouraged, as we contemplate the countless ways we witnessed the love, grace, and sovereignty of God magnified day after day during our stay here! As we return, please pray with us for the souls of the students we were able to share the mystery of Christ with. Pray for the long-term workers who remain there, for their strengthening in the Lord so that they may be filled with endurance, patience, and joy. Finally, please pray for the follow ups of the long-term workers there with the students we shared with during this trip.

Written by Paola Monterrosa-Diaz

 

East Asia – May 2017

From a local fellowship to local campus life, to meal upon meal with locals for famous provincial cuisine, the past few days have been exhilarating, fast, and significant. As our team has been hitting our Asian stride we have found ourselves both exhausted and excited.

We spent Sunday with a local fellowship of long-term workers and getting to know new friends on university campuses. There is much to learn about this culture, people, language and city, so we rarely run out of questions to ask.

On Monday our team set out again to make friends on and off campuses. After lunch, a friend named Emily took Sarah Beth and I shopping and we were able to spend eight hours with her in one day and many times share about the good news. For such a short trip that seems a great gift!

Today we spent the majority of the day taking some of these new friends with us to see panda bears. This time allowed us to deepen our friendships as we walked and talked and admired some of God’s more adorable creatures. Tonight some of these same friends took us to eat the local food this province is best known for. Over this meal our friends explained much about the culture of this country, and we had the privilege of sharing the good news with them at length. As we talked, they
explained not many people here have beliefs, but that they think this is not good. They literally said they are “waiting to hear what to believe.” If that’s not an open door, I’m not sure what is!

Written by Hayley Meyer

 

East Asia – May 2017

These past two days in East Asia have been filled with many new experiences and new friends! Yesterday, we met with a friend who wanted to give us a tour of her campus, since it was different than the one we were familiar with. There, we met with a friend of hers and were able to talk and get to know her as well. While the girls were doing that, the guys went to play basketball and made new friends also. Later on, we went to English corner– an event on the largest campus where people go to practice their English. It was a great way to make new friends and get to know more about the culture.

Today, we went to a famous tourist spot and invited some of the friends we made the previous night. We had a lot of good conversations. My favorite one was during lunch; two of my teammates and I were able to petition while another one of us shared the good news with one of our new friends! It was amazing to be a witness to that and to have the opportunity to join her in lifting her up as the Father was enabling her to boldly share. At night, one of our partners here was having a game night at their apartment, and we were able to go. We played games and talked for several hours and had a lot of fun!

I am looking forward to these next few days and meeting up with the new friends we’ve made, petitioning that we have the opportunity to share with them. This trip has already been a blessing and I am excited to see what more our father has in store for us these upcoming days!

Written by Anabella Monterrosa-Diaz

 

East Asia – May 2017

“Wow! Today was our second full day here and God is already working in awesome ways! Yesterday we met up with our contact here in East Asia and he gave us a basic orientation of what our time here might look like. This culture is very “go with the flow” so we are constantly learning to be flexible and trust Him that he will use our time well. We then were able to prayer walk campus and get more familiar with the city. Today we went to lunch with two students one of which is a believer and the other is not. It was great to talk with them and hear their stories (they also taught me how to use chopsticks the right way!). After that we went to campus again and played ping pong and basketball with some of the students to begin building relationships. We were able to connect with a few students and hope to continue building those friendships.

Tonight, we had the opportunity to worship and share testimonies with a fellowship here. It was a sweet time of hearing worship in both their language and ours and also of hearing stories of our Father’s work in the lives of our team members and of the fellow brothers and sisters in our club. God is working in my heart so much too. I have seen how self-centered I am. I’ve seen how many of my thoughts and concerns revolve around me and it has gotten in the way of being able to love others well. God has been so good to show me that now, so that my mission here can be focused on Him.

My prayer is that He will teach me to really see and love others. Please pray that the team would serve the people here well, even though we’re already worn out. Pray that the gospel goes forth and that God is glorified through this trip. Pray that we would be an encouragement to the long-term workers here. And pray that as a team we would love each other well. I’ve loved getting to serve with this amazing group of brothers and sisters ! We are already close as a group and are able to serve so well together.

HE is so good!”

Sarah Beth McCollum

 

East Asia – March 2017

“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared tomake a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” 1 Peter 3:15

Mission trips have a unique way of both emboldening you when it comes to opportunity and providentially surprising you when it comes to timing.  Our team realized this to be the case, as we spent three days working with our partner Kim, as she serves among the ‘Y’ People.  This was the second part of our trip to explore work among unreached peoples of E. Asia, as we look towards future partnership for UBC.

The “Y” People number 8 million and are one of around 55 minority peoples in this part of E. Asia.  They are an animistic people revering the worship of the Tiger through many of their ritualistic practices.  It just so happened that days before our team arrived, Kim connected with someone in the town she lives in, and found out about a festival that was happening during our time there to celebrate the culture of the Yi People.

We traveled a few hours to the nearby township where the celebration was being held.  Performers in dance, music, song and poem were taking the stage as they put the ‘Y’ peoples culture on full, colorful display.  We explored the costume and pageantry of the day, but it also gave us unique opportunities to share.  Obviously being may be the first foreigners many of these folks had seen, we looked like the newest exhibit at the traveling zoo.  Selfies were a dime a dozen and we probably made front page headlines in the morning gazette.  Beyond the curiosity of our culture, and even through it, God answered our prayers in giving us opportunities to share.

Two college graduates introduced themselves to us and wanted a picture with John and I.  After introducing ourselves and sharing our reason for being there, we were invited to their art studio.  They had recently graduated college and opened up a business/studio to teach art.  We were shown great hospitality as we sat in their studio drinking tea and sharing about our cultures.  We soon found out that one of the guys had been to church with his uncle, and so we took the opportunity to explore his beliefs.  We segwayed to the gospel using the Prodigal Son story, as a means of reflecting the nature of the gospel through an honor/shame lens.  Neither of our new friends believed that day, but seeds were sown.  We later met up with them the next day and were able to spend more time with them and reflecting their character and love of Christ through our lives.

The second day, we had plans to travel into a ‘Y’ village, but due to road closure were stopped.  While sitting on the side of the road we began conversing with a group of guys, some of whom we had met the day prior at the festival.  Because the ‘Y’ people are an oral culture, they love sharing stories and our being there for the festival allowed them to delve into story telling surrounding this particular festival.  Again, we took every opportunity to share, too, the greatest story that we know.

I came away from these few days continued to be amazed at how we may have plans, but God directs our steps, as He wills.  Sometimes that is in a conversation over tea in an art studio or on the side of a mountain in a village road closure.  Other times that might look like going for a walk with your neighbor and talking about life and the gospel, or asking the waiter at the restaurant you frequently often how you can pray for them.  You never know just when God might present an opportunity for proclamation.  Don’t miss it, we have no greater message to tell than the gospel. You have hope in Christ, go herald it!

Written by Ryan Martin

 

East Asia – March 2017

What does Member Care look like in East Asia?

Part of our team purpose was to come alongside those serving in East Asia by providing support and encouragement, as we joined them in their daily activities. It was my privilege to join KJ in her daily tasks and a variety of outreach opportunities. I accompanied KJ as she traveled to a village about three hours away from her city. She visited some helpers there and conducted some ministry tasks. We were invited to eat with a local family and enjoyed mutton, chicken, and goat all at one meal! In her city, we interacted with students learning English from private teachers – two elementary classes and a junior high class. Their teachers are always excited to have their students practice their English skills with a native speaker. As a guest, I was able to story with them from the Bible – David & Goliath and Noah and the Flood.   Other activities involved meeting both Christian and non-Christian friends for meals and fellowship, having her friends teach me how to make dumplings, sharing ethnic songs, walking KJ’s dog so she could complete planning for our team, and doing some simple computer editing of a language project to help meet a deadline. I was also able to meet other colleagues and team members in her city.

In addition to working with KJ, the interactions with her ethnic group allowed me to increase the scope and vision of her ministry and gave me a clearer understanding of the prayer needs for these people. I also came to see that ministry takes place in every activity of her day – those that are intentional as well as those that God spontaneously appoints. God certainly went before us and provided many opportunities to connect with many different people. KJ said many times that we were probably the first foreigners that they had ever seen.

Last but not least , this time with KJ allowed me to see several needs that we can address as a church and as individuals. Things like Christmas party supplies – a time when KJ has the elementary and JR High students of her friends to her home and shares the Christmas story and has a craft. Also special technology items that would be more reliable and allow greater productivity.

Written by Dottie Harris

What a blessing to see KJ in action! I have a more accurate picture of what being on mission means and the utter dependence on God that is required to complete every single day!

 

East Asia – March 2017

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me” Jeremiah 9:23-24

The first part of our trip was spent with Brian, who is trying to reach a certain sect of “T” people living in the more rural, mountainous regions of the country. There are over 1 million “T” people in this area and very few believers. The size and geography of the region makes it difficult to get to this group and believers among them are often isolated with few chances for discipleship. There are only 60-80 people trying to reach them with the gospel.

We got the opportunity to travel to a ‘T” village and stay in a home there to get a sense of how this people group lives. Everything there is seen through the lens of Buddhism, which is intricately linked to their culture and identity. The main tenet of Buddhism is removing suffering and reaching a state of peace but, at its core, is essentially the idea that one can be saved by works. There are colored flags strung along every mountain, usually near the peaks, with the hope of bringing good fortune to the area and, in some cases, to appease local spirits or gods. “Prayer cards” with various mantras written on them litter the ground, especially near temples, where the charred remains of burnt offerings linger. There are prayer wheels (cylindrical wheels containing scrolls inscribed with mantras) next to rivers that use the running water to make them turn. The idea is that spinning the wheel gives the same benefits and good karma as reciting the mantras inside. The more revolutions made, the more merits earned. In this particular village, there was even a woman who would get upset if travelers dared trek around a sacred mountain without first paying a “fee.” It was not done with the intention of getting rich, but rather with a sincere belief that not doing so would bring bad fortune upon the village.

In the house we stayed at, images and icons adorned the walls and shelves. While we were there, a monk was hired to perform a ceremony for the grandson. There was a lot of chanting from the monk and occasional rituals performed by the family at set moments. Yet, for all their fervor for décor and ritual, the family didn’t appear religious in any sense of the word. They were completely disinterested in what the monk was doing, casually going about their own business while he chanted away, and only performing in it when called to do a particular work. The grandson was on his phone the whole time. When asked whether she thought these rituals worked, the grandmother’s response was “Who can know?”

In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer writes, “we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” I saw this cruelty in the lives of this family, saddened from the realization that there was a lot of work done for nothing, words uttered into the void, and hope flung in vain. Oh, that they might know the hope and assurance in Christ.

Written by Jennifer Gidden