I’m happy to be writing you all again to update you on God’s work in Asia. Since I began to work with HeartCry almost six years ago, the Lord has shown me over and over again that in ministry, there will always be difficulty to overcome and problems to address. Sometimes the difficulty is due to our own sin and weaknesses, and sometimes it is due to those of others. In the midst of these circumstances, especially when they involve those who profess Christ, it can be hard to see God’s people as He sees them. But we must keep in mind the glorious picture we are given of Christ’s bride in Revelation 21 and realize that consecrated men and women are a means through which Christ’s Spirit works to help paint this picture. Samuel Hugh Moffatt once wrote, “In the history of the church, defeat is never final, and triumph is never quite complete…” Even in the darkest times and unlikeliest places, God can raise something out of the ashes to glorify Himself. But these “victories” and “successes” are just a small part of that great battle that will continue until the coming of our Lord.
This past month, my family celebrated one year living in Southeast Asia. To be honest, we’ve had some good times and some difficult times, but through everything – good or bad – I always sense the blessing and favor of our God. I feel like I understand Charles Wesley’s desire when he wrote, “O, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” In fact, I wish I could speak a thousand different languages in order to say this one phrase to everyone: “God is faithful.” He has been faithful to us as we moved here; He has been faithful to us as we have lived here; He has been faithful to us as we have tried to learn the language and culture; He has been faithful to us as we’ve had another child and dealt with sleepless nights; and He has been faithful as we’re now struggling through the birth pangs of ministry in the most populous Muslim country in the world.
The Indonesian church-planting team is doing well. They continue to minister to one of the largest unreached people groups in Asia, and the Lord seems to be blessing their work. It seems that whenever God begins to work, the enemy also begins to work, and as a result, opposition has been stirred up against our brothers and sisters. Several weeks ago, an Islamist group came to one of the villages and stayed for days, going from house to house asking the villagers about their own faithfulness to Islam and where the Christians lived. When they found out where they lived, they visited them and tried to angrily convince them to return to Islam. It was encouraging to hear how the believers used this opportunity to speak of their identity in Christ. Please pray that God would continue the work He began in these believers’ lives; pray that He would build His church and mature His people.
This fall and winter will be busy months. In September, I will be traveling to India and Nepal, along with a pastor from the States and a few others. Our plan is to host three different conferences in three different locations. In January, I plan to meet up with HeartCry missionary Yulianus Aburude in Papua, Indonesia. Lord willing, we will travel up and down the Mamberamo River in order to preach in his native Fuau villages. Through Yuli’s ministry, many people in these villages have come to see their need of the new birth. However, most are still desperately lost, claiming to be Christian while holding on to animistic beliefs and behaviors. Please pray and ask God’s blessing upon our visit. Ask that He would mature His church, better equip its leaders, and save those who are lost.