Adults

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,

My (Not-So-Little) Sphere of Influence

woman on rock platform viewing city

I shifted my weight in my chair during lunch as the speaker encouraged us to consider our roles and write down our circles of influence on a sheet of paper. Well this won’t take long, I thought to myself.

My paper ended up with wife, family member, friend, and employee scribbled on it shyly and slowly so those around me wouldn’t be able to tell how short my list was.

As a young professional, I consider my roles and my routine pretty simple. I go to work, get home around dinnertime, and spend time with my husband. On the weekends, we go to church and sometimes hang out with family or friends. My circle of influence seemed pretty small.

Surely there was more going on outside my comfortable bubble.

Around that time, the Holy Spirit began to convict me about my “boring” routine and how I use my time. Conviction came in the form of Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV):

Go, Make Disciples

mother taking children to playgound

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” —Hudson Taylor, missionary to China

We like routine. Routines are good for us, for our children, and for our overall predictability of life. Typically, we shop in the same places, eat in the same restaurants, and go to church with people who are familiar to us. We drive the same routes, run the same paths, and keep a pretty consistent schedule of events from year to year.

As a pastor’s wife, it’s easy for me to find myself surrounded by believers (or those who have heard the gospel) all the time. It takes effort for me to look beyond the people of our church and in my immediate circles to see the unreached surrounding us next door.

The Book of Matthew tells of how Jesus reached out to those who were diseased and afflicted—those in need of healing and a Savior. These people were probably not a part of His normal routine. They were outside of His usual crowd of disciples.

Sharing Life: Develop a Heart for the World

people at a dinner table

Anyone who knows Charity Powell knows her heart for the world. Those who don’t know her soon learn. A world map in her office pinpoints past mission trips. Strings crisscross to photos with special meaning for each trip. As she points, Charity describes people and needs in each location—11 countries she visited in 11 months during a World Race to share Jesus and encourage believers. Tears fill her eyes as she recalls the man from Thailand who prayed 30 years for a church. She tells of Asian friends in New York City’s Jackson Heights. A bottle filled with an olive branch, rocks, a piece of a raft, and an orange heart-shaped piece of a life jacket from Greece’s Lesvos beach stands on the table underneath her map.

For a long time, refugees were not on Charity’s map. “I knew if I paid attention, I’d end up in Lesvos.” However, after helping with a refugee fund-raiser, she acknowledged, “The Lord gave me feet to go.”

History Opens Doors for the Gospel in Slovenia

distribution of New Testaments at Christmas market

The number of Christians in Slovenia is small. The response to the gospel of Jesus Christ is slow, and theological training is lacking, thus impeding efforts to equip nationals to become spiritual leaders.

Kim Kelley and her husband, Joe, have encountered these hurdles daily during the 15 years they have served in Slovenia. The Kelleys are field representatives in church planting in Radovljica, which is in the Gorenjska region.

Slovenia was part of the former Yugoslavia until gaining its independence in 1991. Nearly 60% of Slovenia’s 2 million people are Catholic.

Many times through the years, the Kelleys and their children have undertaken various outreach efforts to tell Slovenes about Jesus Christ. This past year, the Kelleys tried a different approach that used a little bit of history to get Bibles into the hands of Slovenes. That approach has created opportunities to encounter new people and to share about Jesus.       

Missionary Spotlight Update: Jason and Cheryl Dietz

Dietz family at a park

Jason and Cheryl Dietz and their children have just begun a yearlong stateside assignment. Every 5 years, missionaries across Europe must leave their country of service for a long period of time because of agreements between those countries and the United States. The Dietz family must be out for a full year.

Stateside assignment is often a bittersweet time for missionary families. They are eager to reconnect with family, friends, and favorite foods in America, but their thoughts are never far from their home across the pond and the important work that goes on there in their absence. The Dietzes are no different.

“We have 2 new [missionary] families—and 1 likely on the way—while we are gone,” Jason shared. “Pray for our national partners while we are gone . . . and for our team spread out over our 5 cities.”

Perhaps most heavy on Jason’s and Cheryl’s hearts is the fact that 2 of their children will be heading to university while on this stateside assignment and won’t be returning to Germany with the family next year. “That is a huge adjustment,” Jason admitted. The Dietz family appreciates your prayers during this time of adjustment.

Go and Do Right Where You Are

women and men volunteering

Dusting off your passport, getting on a plane, and taking the gospel to another country is always a good way to get out of your comfort zone.

But consider the ways you can stretch yourself right where you are and see God do new things in your neighborhood and city. Why not plan a week this year to do a “staycation” with your family or missions group? Or why not try a “near me mission trip” 1 afternoon a month? You might be surprised what God might show you right where you are.

Where to Start

Before you start, pray for God to give you fresh eyes. When we embark on mission trips to other places, everything is new—it’s as if our brains and our hearts are on high alert for new people and new opportunities. Ask God to give you new eyes to see the people around you as you go to familiar places and do familiar things.

Here are some ideas for things you could try:

Qualified to Do Missions

people walking across a crosswalk

When I was 16, I traveled with my church’s youth choir to Minneapolis to partner with a church in the inner city. Our purpose for being there was to help the church in its efforts to reach its community. While we were there, our group had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor cookout and concert for the neighborhood. The turnout was amazing; we saw people encouraged and loved and supported. We saw people come to Christ. The Holy Spirit was working in big ways.

While many parts of that evening were impactful, something that stood out to me was watching how God moved through my peers. I remember watching my church family serving this neighborhood and seeing how God was using each member to serve people in unique ways. I was blown away watching them be vessels of God’s love. And it was by watching them that I understood that missions is the call for every Christian.

I Was Blind, but Now I See

Rwandan children in poverty

At the beginning of this year, I traveled to Rwanda to study economics for 10 days. This trip opened my eyes to a level of poverty I had never seen before. Yet I witnessed radiant joy in the midst of desperate circumstances. People were enthusiastic and welcoming, even to a complete outsider like me. Children’s faces would light up when they saw my group and me, and they would immediately start waving at us.

Walking into a situation like this, it is easy to think that we have all the answers and resources to help people. Since we live so far removed from the harsh realities facing different people around the world, it is especially easy to fall victim to thinking we can “fix” situations and people. However, that is something only God can do.

Pages

Back to Top