Are you willing to try something new? I think I heard that question more than one hundred times over the last couple months during this global pandemic. With all the recent lockdowns and quarantines in place across the globe, I am truly inspired and encouraged to see how many of our partners have adjusted their activities and are finding new ways of helping others during this time of crisis. Some turned their facilities into mask-making manufacturing outlets, some produced standardized mass-distribution food care packages, and some developed unique accelerated delivery methods. Talk about Creative Delivery! They are adjusting to meet needs and continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus, even in these changing and challenging times.
“As you know, the whole world is suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been locked down the past 20 days. In my area most of the people are daily wage workers. If they can’t work they can’t eat. Many people are now starving for food. They don’t have anything to eat and many people come to our Church for help. We are doing our best to help them but there are so many families without food. Many poor people are living with just water. It’s very difficult for me to explain how much pain they are bearing.” – Pastor in Western Nepal
We are starving . . .
Interesting fact about the Word of God: it is approximately 15% poetry (the remainder is 10% letters and 75% narrative story…but that is another story for another time). Poetry of the Bible provides much comfort, peace and solace in all types of crisis whether illness, natural disasters, abandonment, abuse, neglect, divorce, dominance, injustice, oppression…or even a global outbreak of a pandemic virus.
I am privileged to meet many humble indigenous men and women of peace from communities all over the world. They follow our Lord Jesus Christ, seeking to reflect His image in everything they do. They are “not easily offended” although many of them have gone through terrible persecution, abuse, shame and other unspeakable things that humans unfortunately do to each other. The Lord has given them many gifts and talents; one of those gifts being the gift of language (many speaking multiple languages). These humble men and women of peace forgive those who harm them, and even humbly share their faith with those who hated and persecuted them. It’s a story that is repeated again and again for true “followers of Jesus”.
Change is not easy. There are times in our lives when the Lord brings new seasons and changes to each of us and our families that ultimately releases His will on earth (just as it is in Heaven). For those of us who believe, it is expected that WE are changing and conforming to the image of Jesus Christ and the only unchanging thing in his universe is the Lord almighty. One of those changes that came to me and my family this past month was the passing and promotion of my earthly father into Glory. There has been much grief, tears and sadness …BUT we, as believers, don’t grieve like those who have no hope.
Our “Bridges” equipping and training approach has been an effective tool overseas in Asia and Africa for thirty years. The Scriptures shared through the oral arts has resulted in the Holy Spirit bringing over 426,000 to believe in Jesus and planting over 77,000 new churches. We believe the Holy Spirit will work in similar ways among refugees and immigrants here in the United States. During a recent stateside orality training one of our refugee brothers shared his excitement for using Scripture storytelling.
Did you know that it is estimated that there are about 350 unreached people groups (UPGs) living in the United States? The majority of UPGs learn and pass on their history, heritage, faith and culture through oral communication. “We must welcome the unreached,” as noted in this short video provided by the Global Frontier’s Mission (GFM) group. Please watch:
There is an incredible opportunity in missions right here in the US, at our own doorsteps! As you probably know, there are many thousands of unreached people throughout our country who have come as refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants from some of the most difficult, dangerous and war-torn regions of the world. Many refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers (often referend to as diaspora) are oral-preference learners. As they relocate their lives to our cities and towns…
This month’s post is part of a series about the distinctives of SIU’s church planting and disciple-making approach as developed by our founders, Jim and Carla Bowman. It is a fact that many of the unengaged and least-reached people groups in the world live in hard-to-access places and belong to traditional, oral cultures. Books and printed materials are not part of their everyday experience. People living in oral cultures, many of whom speak three to four different languages in addition to their mother tongue, have always…
As the leader of SIU (and to be honest, Jesus is our leader), I often am asked what I consider a success in terms of new church plants. What is a “healthy” oral Bible house church? What SIU calls a new plant in our field reporting with our SIU partners – to which we had 5,843 new in 2018 alone! It’s always good to discuss this topic with our US based leaders but most importantly to seek the Lord and to seek out those who live, breathe and participate in these oral Bible house churches in the field, our indigenous men and women of peace.