It turns out that one does not need to travel far to gain cross-cultural experience. As part of our effort to reach the unreached, we serve nearby unreached people—a group with strong traditions and family ties.
We have been building relationships with them for a while now, visiting them regularly with local believers’ help. Unfortunately, because of lockdown and later a revolution, we could not visit them for a few months. One of their political figures is originally from that village, and because of political tension, it was not safe to visit. But finally, at the end of November, we were able to visit. When we met, we realized how much we missed everyone!
When we meet, we have to respect their rules and traditions. Our first meeting was with the women. Normally, they don’t sit together with local men, but they can sit with our team’s men because we are guests. The women shared about their lives and difficulties. They asked questions about the truth and talked about Allah.
The second meeting was with the men. We shared God’s big story. We used their words to name God as Lord, Almighty God, and Creator. Cyril invited the other men to hear the Gospel. He is the only believer among them.
We talked a lot about the prophets and prophecies and how they relate to us today. We talked about moral life getting worse every day and how we can keep ourselves clean.
We also had one embarrassing cross-cultural experience. One of our team asked the young men if they were married, and immediately every man looked down, hiding their eyes from us. Cyril explained that this is taboo in their culture, and no one in their community will answer this question. We were so frustrated that we did not even ask why; we just tried to come back to our conversation.
We learned that we could not think of other people as if they are the same as us, even if we live close to each other in one country. We have to be ready to learn at any moment and be sensitive to the Spirit of God. We thank God for this ministry, for this opportunity to be used in His hands.
Longing for Relationship
A family of four, mother, daughter, son, and daughter-in-law, all practiced Islam, respecting its five pillars. One of them prays five times a day.
However, the mother did not have peace in her heart. In fact, she did not feel that she was interacting with Allah at all. Her heart was longing for a relationship, but she could not find it in her religion. She was following Islamic rules only because she was afraid of punishment from Allah.
One day she shared these feelings with her son. Interestingly, even though he is Muslim, he got in touch with Rya (one of our team members). He knew she was a believer and asked her to come and share her beliefs with his mother and sister.
Rya shared God’s big story and her own experiences as a believer. Both women wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord! Their hearts are so thirsty that Rya meets with them weekly.
When the mother shared with her son, his response was very wise and kind. He said: “If you have peace and you are happy, stay with Jesus. I am not against you.” However, his wife, the daughter-in-law, is a strict Muslim and she was very upset with this decision. She is urging her mother-in-law and sister-in-law to leave their house.
This mother has only one son; she does not have any other place to go. A local man proposed to her recently, and she is considering his proposal. Even if she does not want to marry this man, she thinks this might be a solution because she can move to his place.
In our context, choosing Jesus is not an easy decision. It takes courage and sacrifice. But we believe that He knows all about it, and He has a better solution for this family. Please pray for them, for peace and protection, and for these new believers to be rooted in Christ despite the persecution they are experiencing. Pray for the daughter-in-law as well.
This is a story of how our integral discipleship training has helped a local village. Our second training with them focused on cleaning the village up. After women cleaned the village streets, the men started to think about what they could do for their village. They identified bad roads as one of their problems.
Then they put a plan in place. They collected money from villagers. Those who work in the mining company and those who own cars gave more than others to ensure fair contribution from all villagers. They purchased stones, gravel, resin, and other things to repair the roads. The men (and some older kids) came together with their tools and paved the road through the village. The villagers are excited that they can come together to solve their needs. They ask for more lessons.
As they worked, people talked to each other and shared a growing sense of belonging. It is so good to see how people become united and work for the good of all.
We thank our partners who pray and support us in this ministry.
- Please pray for the families of our team members. Many have been sick the last couple of months.
- Please pray for integral discipleship trainings to help communities and soften hearts to the Gospel.
- Pray for local people to become more open and for God to give us wisdom and respect for their culture as we serve them.
Names changed for security