Adults

Be Strong and Take Heart

Sharing the gospel is no easy thing. Neither is giving up spring break to go on a missions trip or evangelizing your late night study group. But God calls us to declare His glory among all people (1 Chron. 16:24), and that is what we must do.

I was 13 the first time I remember “formally” sharing the gospel with other people. As one of the only girls in my missions group, I was volunteered to speak to the residents of the homeless shelter where we had spent the previous week working. I was terrified. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember what I said. What I do remember is praying all morning, nonstop, that God would give me the courage to share His story and the words to do it.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Doc and Dee Douglas*

You’ve probably heard the term “heart language.” It describes the mother tongue of a people group through which communication flows freely and clearly. For the Deaf in the United States, it is “heard” through the hands of American Sign Language.

Until recently, no theological education using this optimal mode of communication was available to prepare Deaf Southern Baptist believers for mission service with the International Mission Board (IMB).

Missions Field of Many Languages for California Missionary

In his missions field, California missionary Howard Burkhart is often surrounded by people whose language he can’t always understand. That one daunting fact hasn’t stopped him from founding churches among 21 different language groups for the past 3 decades.

In 1984, Burkhart signed on with the North American Mission Board, then called the Home Mission Board, as the state missionary for Deaf people. His wife, a high school teacher for Deaf students in Southern California, taught him sign language. For 16 years, Burkhart worked with hearing-impaired people, all the while learning.

“Deaf people don’t expect everyone to learn their language,” he said. “They do expect to be treated as peers and as equals.”

Further, Burkhart said, hearing-impaired individuals have just as much right to pursue God’s call in their lives as anyone else.

“It has been extremely rewarding to have helped start several Deaf churches and trained Deaf pastors and leaders,” he said. “To see them fulfill God’s calling in their life and to see the impact they have made has been rewarding and fulfilling.”

Respect and Pray for Those in Authority

Entering a room in the intensive care unit, I introduced myself as the hospital chaplain, and the very sick woman in the bed raised her hand as if to physically push me away and boldly proclaimed, “I don’t believe the Bible, and I don’t believe in God.”

Many of our elected officials may feel the same way. They may want to push us away. They may or may not welcome our prayers on their behalf, but it does not change our responsibility to pray for them.

Pause now to read Romans 13:1–8 and then consider these motivations to pray:

A Time for Courage

The fall season is setting in with brilliant colors and crisp air. We all have different seasons of life. Our world is in a season of challenge. Some challenges are serious. In times like these, where do we find the courage we need?

We know our God is greater than our challenges. He is not caught off guard by what is in the news or even in our family or community. He is our great Healer, Comforter, and Guide. And He has plans. Psalm 139; John 14–17; Ephesians 2–3; and Revelation 7 show us God’s plans are greater than our own. His mercy, power, and beauty combine to amaze us daily. Nothing is too difficult for Him!

Using God’s Good Gifts

Several of us were crammed in a small room. Two cameras, a backdrop, and some lights took up what space was left.

In front of the cameras was an older South Asian man, a former Hindu turned follower of Jesus, sharing his testimony.

I sat behind the cameras watching the whole interview take place, listening to this man talk about how he was a believer despite his wife and 2 sons still being Hindu and how he followed Jesus because he knew Jesus answered his prayers.

After 4 weeks of being in South Asia on my first-ever missions trip, this was the moment that changed everything for me. Here was this man, following Jesus with everything he had, and our team, working to capture his story to show others across the world how God is working in South Asia.\

Tears streamed down my face as the man continued his story, and I knew this story was the kind I was called to tell—the story of a God Who loves all people and wants them to personally know His love.

A Mother’s Part in Prayer

Throughout my journey with Christ, I largely believed prayer was for those desperate times—the big seasons and decisions of life. The daily, ordinary stuff I could handle on my own.

A few years ago, prayer became like oxygen to me. My husband and I were in a foreign country learning a foreign language during a time when the developing country was going through a natural disaster. We were getting sick from the food and water. We had just found out we were going to have our first child.

Everything, all the time, all day, was out of control. And, honestly, so was I.

“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”—Corrie ten Boom

Through this season of life, I learned quickly that I could no longer continue as if prayer wasn’t my lifeline. My soul needed to be connected to the Lord—completely reliant on Him at all times.

How to Pray When You’re Not Good at Praying

With the lights turned off and the blankets tucked right under my ear, I lay my head down on the pillow and get ready to say my nightly prayer. And then . . . crickets.

The pressure to say everything correctly and remember every prayer request weighs me down to the point where sometimes I just close my eyes and go to sleep instead. On the nights when the pressure isn’t quite so heavy, I pray through stilted sentences that feel far too formal. Or I get frustrated that I keep repeating things because I don’t know what else to say.

Prayer shouldn’t be this hard.

If you’re like me, speaking out loud (even in your head) doesn’t come naturally. The pressure to pray correctly becomes a hindrance in your prayer life, and you start to feel distant from God because you don’t know how to communicate.

Let me tell you something: It’s OK. God understands you. He knows you. Don’t get in your own way. Prayer is too important to give up on, especially when it comes to living a missional lifestyle. Everything must start with prayer.

Don’t Get ahead of Yourself

Sometimes I get so far ahead of myself on a project or a task that I forget what the original task was. I skim through the instructions, fail to ask my professor for any tips or guidelines, and dive headfirst into whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing—until I get stuck. Then, frustrated, I am forced to go back, reread, and ask questions, merely to discover I was only about 15% right in the direction I was headed.

Someone once reminded me that if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, what makes you think you’ll have time to redo it later? It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Unfortunately I catch myself doing this with the gospel as well. I will set out in hopes of sharing the news of Jesus Christ without first talking with my Teacher and heading His instructions through prayer.

Link up with a Nearby CWJC/CMJC Site

Across the nation, more than 200 Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps sites are bringing God’s light to their cities, serving families who find themselves dealing with issues such as homelessness, drug or domestic abuse, imprisonment, or lack of adequate education. Adult missions groups looking for a ministry in which to invest their time, energies, and love will find a myriad of ways to do so by linking with a nearby CWJC/CMJC site.

Would your group commit to spending the next year reaching out to these women and men? What are some crucial needs your members could address? Take these steps to explore an exciting missions adventure:

Investigate

Learn about CWJC/CMJC by visiting wmu.com/jobcorps. Find contact info for a site near you. Invite the site coordinator or a volunteer to present a program for your group. Better yet, take some folks to visit the site during a session.

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