Adults

Transformation in the Unexpected

Rwandan cityscape

At the beginning of January, I had the incredible opportunity to study development economics in Rwanda. For our course, we visited with government officials, nongovernmental organizations, for-profit businesses, schools, and health clinics. Throughout the trip, I got to see God work in my classmates’ lives. It was apparent that God was radically working in my friend Sydney’s life, and I am so excited now to share part of her story.

By choosing to do something new, Sydney witnessed the transformational power of God.

She said, “I know international business/missions/service is now what I am called to do. It was not until this last semester that God showed me a passion for this area that I never knew I had.

“I never would have known this passion and identified this calling inside of me if I had not tried something entirely out of my comfort zone in an area I knew nothing about.

“God had been developing this interest in economic development and service for months while studying, and going on the trip to Rwanda just confirmed it. I had never felt more alive and more confident in myself and what God could do through me.”

Missionary Spotlight Update: Ken and Lygia Lovelace

Ken and Lygia Lovelace

The struggles Ken and Lygia Lovelace face on a daily basis have not ceased, and others have been added. Their adopted twin daughters complained for months about unusual feelings in their chests. Then seizures began. Through extensive testing, they learned both girls had sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. They are trying now to accept the fact that their girls’ hearts could stop any time. The twins are 12 years old.

Fourteen-year-old Elijah continues to struggle with heart problems of his own related to the diseases that he has. He has more bedridden days than up-and-at’em days. His family remains thankful for the good days he does have.

On the church front, the Lovelaces continue to serve the Lord and began a new Sunday morning Bible study in May. Ask God to use the study to serve the people well and grow them up in Him.

The Lovelaces appreciate your prayers. Given the multiple illnesses of their children, prayer is the greatest resource they have. Pray they would have the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength they need to forge ahead in the face of nearly insurmountable health problems in their family.

Using Hospitality to Reach International Students in New Orleans

international students

When it’s time to cook Christmas dinner, Kimberly Myers always prepares extra for guests—some of the 600 students to whom she ministers at the University of New Orleans. As North American Mission Board collegiate missionary to international students, she uses every possible opportunity to share Jesus with them. She said, “Hospitality is a big part of our ministry.”

It takes planning to reach people from more than 75 countries as diverse as Iran, China, Guatemala, and Germany.

On Sunday afternoons, Kimberly meets the Ladies’ English Club in the married housing complex on campus. Volunteers from a nearby church supervise the children on the playground while the wives of the students spend time together.

The International Center is a bustling place on campus where students come weekly for a cup of coffee and conversation. While they are there, Kimberly invites them to study the Bible. She has been amazed to see God at work when Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists have responded positively.

Talk to Strangers: Find Out How to Help New Immigrants

group of friends giving a hand

Close your eyes and imagine a scene unfolding in front of you—a scene in which you play the starring role. You and your family have left your home country with high hopes of building a better life. Hunger, scarcity of all kinds, poor living conditions, and perhaps even persecution were part of daily life.

But a miracle happened and you were permitted to immigrate to the United States. You find yourself in the middle of an environment totally unlike your home country. You have been helped to find a small apartment and given an allowance for a limited time. You don’t know English. How will you find a job, and will your allowance end too soon? Sending your children to school is another worry; you picture them alone and afraid.

Having left your extended family and all your friends, you gather your small family around you and attempt to encourage yourself and them with the hope that life will be better in this new country.

Now, open your eyes and thank God for the freedoms, the provisions, and even the luxuries that you enjoy every day. This imagined scenario is a reality for some people in your community. How can you and your missions group help?

God’s Word Tells Us How to Respond to Refugees

Bible with journal

Who is a refugee? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines refugee as “one that flees for safety; especially one who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.” Therefore, refugees are immigrants who seek asylum either for ethnic or religious reasons or are driven away from their home by natural disasters. Nonetheless, they have become foreigners in a new place.

Moving Our Nets

man casting a net at sunset

Writing comes naturally to me. Pen on paper or fingers on the keyboard, when an idea comes to mind and I’m fleshing out an article or blog post, I’m in the zone.

What I’m learning the longer I follow God though is that He is one storyteller I will never be able to match. Try as I might to write my own story, in reality, God continually asks me to give Him the pen instead. While most days it’s hard, when I remember what He’s done, I can’t help but surrender.

I think back on how this 4-year journey that began with me coming to South Asia as a college student with a God-given desire to go overseas is ending with me leaving as an adult with a hunger to tell the gospel to anyone who has 2 ears and will listen.

God calls all of us to step out in faith and do new things so that the gospel would multiply to every nation, tribe, and language. Whether it’s across the street or across the world, the gospel is the greatest story ever told that so many have yet to hear.

New Faces, New Disciples

South Asian people

Living in a city of 12 million people means you see new faces all the time. Unlike in the United States, where I can almost guarantee I’ll run into someone I know in the grocery store, it’s a rarity to see the same person twice in South Asia.

This plethora of new faces is not just a number but people who need to hear and respond to the gospel. It’s an opportunity for discipleship to begin with those who need it most.

For example, take Priya*. She’s a nursing student whom I met a year and a half ago. At that time, my teammates and I were leading her and her first-year classmates in a Bible study on discipleship. It was our prayer that several girls from this study would want to lead the next group of “first years” in the same Bible study during the next school year.

We began praying and talked with the girls to see who would be interested in knowing more about being a leader. To our surprise, Priya was one of the girls who was interested. She was one of the more soft-spoken girls participating in the Bible study and not one we thought of as a leader.

The Rohingya: See Them, Hear Them

Rohingya mothers with their babies

I first heard the name of their people group when we were preparing to serve with them in Malaysia.

Rohingya—known as one of the most persecuted people group in the world.

Originally from Bangladesh, this Muslim people group migrated to Myanmar to escape persecution and found itself in the backlash of a Buddhist militia government. It’s estimated there are between 1 and 2 million Rohingya worldwide, yet this people group has no homeland of its own.

The Rohingya are the people no one wants. A people who are not seen or heard. Many have fled persecution in one area only to experience it in another. Most have no paperwork declaring their citizenship to any country. They are aliens, foreigners, and illegals in whatever country they enter.

They have had their property destroyed, their homes ransacked, their people tortured, and their self-esteem ruined. They usually cannot find work other than in secret because if a country’s government finds out they are there, it will usually deport or imprison them.

Trust Him as You Reach out to Someone New

young woman reaching out

With summer here in full force, maybe it is a good time to ask, “How are you doing?”

If you are like me, then you are feeling a bit behind on keeping up with the details. Or maybe you have everything planned out and are able to enjoy time with people. Either way, it is comforting to know God is in control and He has a plan.

The summer may not go exactly how we have planned, but God is bigger than our plans. And He is always doing something new, something more than we have imagined, something with potentially eternal results both in our lives and the lives of those around us. How comforting. How exciting.

Try Something New: Explore Cultures

two women sitting at table

Cultures are unique aspects of groups who share specific backgrounds or geographical locations. While some cultures vary more than others, every culture has unique customs and beliefs.

Meeting and befriending people from different cultures can be valuable and rewarding. By taking the time to get to know someone completely different from you, you may see many opportunities for gospel conversations arise naturally.

When it comes to learning about new cultures,

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