Due to intense persecution, Lucas was exiled from his home country years ago. He still resides within the Greater Middle East region, devoting himself to ministry in his local church, the translation of good biblical resources in his mother tongue, and conducting online training with house-church pastors in his home country. From time to time, Lucas is able to bring a group of pastors to the country where he resides for a week of personal teaching. In God’s providence, they were able to conduct two of these personal training sessions in recent months. Lucas and his pastor are the primary teachers, but in July, these pastors were blessed with a special session as Paul Washer joined them via Skype.
These men live in a Muslim nation where Christians are extremely rare and severely persecuted. All of them have been Christians for less than two years, yet they are leaders in their house-churches back home. That gives you an idea how young the church is in that country! But the Gospel is advancing. Lucas has been training a group of twenty leaders for some time, and he is now beginning to train a second group of fifteen. These men are willing to suffer for Christ, yet most of them are ignorant of some of the most basic biblical doctrines. Thanks to the generosity of HeartCry donors, Lucas is able to pour truth into these isolated saints.
“For the July session, our pastor began with the gospel (God, man, Christ, response). The men had many questions that our pastor answered by working through the Bible, particularly Romans. Then we continued with an overview of the four Gospels – issues of accuracy, authors, background, Jesus’ teaching, parables, and general themes. That was followed by a more detailed survey of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The afternoon of the second day, we were privileged to hear from Brother Paul on the Atonement. When he opened it up for questions, this led to an extended teaching on the Trinity, a doctrine that confuses many of these new believers. At the end of the week, one of the brothers wrote an essay on the Trinity. When I read it, I recognized a lot of Brother Paul’s teaching in it.
The rest of the week was devoted to walking through the life of Christ step by step – His birth, early life, and ministry of teaching and miracles. We were careful to clear up some wrong assumptions. Last, we reviewed Brother Paul’s teaching on atonement as we covered Christ’s passion and resurrection. We praise God for what they have learned and can go back and teach our brothers and sisters in our home country.
The August training covered the theme of marriage and parenting as we hosted two couples from the main church in our capital city. They are discipling couples in their church that desire to honor God in their homes, and they are counseling many young men and women who are preparing for marriage. Marriage and parenting in a biblical context has been one of the most challenging issues in the emerging church in our country. Please keep in mind that almost all of those in the church are first-generation Christians. They have never seen what Christian marriage or Christian parenting looks like!
The training began with our pastor covering a biblical theology of marriage from the Old and New Testaments. We also addressed the warning against marrying non-believers and how to build a biblical foundation for strong marriages. Then we worked through significant New Testament texts regarding marriage in Matthew, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Peter. Finally, we looked at Deuteronomy 6 and the importance of teaching the Bible to our children from a young age. This led into a survey of Proverbs and New Testament teaching on parenting.
We are thankful that, by God’s provision and support from HeartCry donors, we were able to have these trainings. We ask you to pray with us that the church in our home country will grow in their faith and stand on solid biblical ground in order to be salt and light in that needy land.”
Before his current role at HeartCry, S.R. served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. S.R. and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By S.R.