I needed that international trip more than I realized. It was refreshing in ways that I didn’t expect. And it reminded me that the global church of Jesus Christ is thriving, that God’s plan to bring good news to the nations is moving ahead right on schedule.
It began in Kenya, where my partner Dan had invited me to help train Maasai pastors to better understand and preach the Bible. It continued in Jordan, where we visited two families involved in ministry to refugees. And it ended in the Czech Republic, with a visit to a young family bringing the gospel to teenagers in that former Communist country.
Several experiences during those two weeks reassured me that God’s program is right on track:
- The Maasai pastors in Kenya have a deep thirst for God’s Word, and are eager to teach it and preach it in the way it was written. They faithfully attend three of these 4-day conferences every year, at great expense in time and energy, and pass on what they learned to other pastors in their area. It was an honor to work with them.
- In Jordan we enjoyed a worship service in Arabic, praising God in a language that is often used for tragically different purposes. We witnessed compassion for the neediest of all, seeing the love of Christ shown in practical and tangible ways to people who fled their homes with only the clothes on their backs. We sat among people who had lost everything, but found Christ, and would gladly do it all over again because the result is far more valuable than the cost. It was humbling to be with them.
- In Prague, my guide from the airport to the train station was a young Czech man who had met Christ several years ago through a camp ministry that included people from my former church, and which is also a focus of my current church. He was an atheist when he attended the camp for the first time, but he said to me with a smile, “I am a Christ-follower because of that camp. I’m nobody famous, but I am a Christian, and it’s important for you to know how it happened.” It was exciting to spend time with him.
The two weeks went quickly, and I don’t think I really celebrated what I had seen until this last Monday, when I squeezed in a much-needed Sabbath hike (alongside this beautiful lake) and took time to reflect on the trip. The second song to come out of my play list was “Let the Worshippers Arise,” by Phillips, Craig and Dean (listen to it here). I ran it back three times because the words of the second verse were so perfect, and I sang it louder each time:
“Father I hear it growing louder, the song of your redeemed,
As the saints of every nation are awakening to sing.
From our hearts there comes an anthem. Oh, hear the heavens ring!
This is our song, a song to our King!”
On this trip, I heard that song growing louder. I sat with the saints of several nations, and from our hearts came an anthem. We sang it in different languages, but with the same joy. It was a song to our King.
I can’t wait to do it all again!
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