Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Oudomxay



I will call to God most high,
to God who fulfills His purpose for me.
     -Psalm 57:2

Who would have ever thought a relatively poor, (although thanks to my travels I now realize how incredibly rich I am) prejudiced, uneducated, untraveled country boy from the cotton fields of Louisiana would end up on the other side of the world in Oudomxay, Laos?  And on a mission of love at that!

Plenty of ‘good ol’ boys’ from my generation found themselves in these Southeast Asian jungles a few years ago.  They were sent here to fulfill the purpose assigned them by our U.S. government to stop communism from sweeping over Southeast Asia and the world.  Their weapons were guns and bombs–bombs by the millions –many of which are still killing the Lao people even today 50 years later (200 in 2015).

May the light of God's love dawn over this shrouded land
I’m here in the jungles of Laos today to fulfill a different mission–a mission of love.  A mission to rescue these people, not through strength and superior firepower, but through prayer and the power of God’s Word and God’s love.   I’m dropping ‘love bombs’ of God’s Word while praying the Lao people will be truly overwhelmed by ‘shock and awe’ as God’s love explodes into their hearts and lives. 
 
Just as our physical bombs are still impacting lives five decades after someone, some single, anonymous person, dropped them I pray these ‘love bombs’ will impact Lao lives for generations to come.  I pray God will use my prayers and his Word to call out Lao workers into his harvest fields and these workers will teach millions for generations to come about the God who loves them.

Millions of young men and women served their country during the Vietnam War without knowing how their individual efforts and sacrifice could help.  I too am here serving a higher power in ways I do not understand, I cannot comprehend.  How can my being here help anyone?  How can my small effort and insignificant sacrifice affect the lives of an entire people group?  How can my prayers and a few copies of God’s Word impact eternity for these wonderfully warm and friendly people?

I do not intellectually know the answers to these questions but I have deep experiential knowledge of how God used these very things to save me and call me to himself.  And I do know his purpose for me is to be here praising him among these people, singing praises to him among the nations.

Psalm 67:1-3 is the prayer of my heart for this mission,
May God be gracious to us and bless us;
look on us with favor
so that Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, God;
let all the peoples praise You.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Dry and Desolate Land



I’m overcome with deep, internal peace and ineffable joy to be back in the heart of Central Asia during their holy month of Ramadan.  Earlier this week we left the capitol on a long, hot, multiday, circuitous drive down south visiting some of the small fellowships we helped establish a few years ago.  The first day we passed within a stone’s throw of Uzbekistan with only a small river designating the porous border.  Then we turned west skirting the northern edge of Afghanistan. 

Looking out over the arid landscape Psalm 63:1 came to mind:
God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You;
my body faints for You
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.

This is a physically and spiritually dry and desolate land.  These kind, eminently hospitable people live a harsh life scratching out a very meager existence from lands their families have inhabited for untold generations. We’re working with our national partners here who are helping many of these villages by working with them to drill water wells. 

Hand drilling these wells is a long, laborious process taking days, even weeks, to complete just one.  But this slow process allows our partners lots of time working, eating, and living with the families.  Time in which they share the truths of God not only with their words but with their actions–their very lives.  

We saw some of the fruit of their labors in the two house churches we visited.  These brothers and sisters in Christ openly displayed their thirst for God, their eagerness to seek him and know him more.  This road trip through these spiritually dark, troubled lands reminded me of Paul’s visits to follow-up and encourage the fellowships he previously planted.  Like Paul, we’ve come to bless and encourage, teach and share.  We’ve come to remind them they are not alone.  That we are all one in Christ.

Friday, November 11, 2016

By Faith



By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place…not knowing where he was going.  By Faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land…For he was looking forward…
               -Hebrews 11:8-10

While my life, my actions, my faith in no way compares to Abraham’s or any of the other giants of faith listed in Hebrews 11 these words still speak to me and encourage me in this adventure of faith to which God has called us.  They are especially poignant this morning as I find myself a foreigner in this land, 12,000 miles away from the family and home I love, not sure where I will be going today or what I will be doing…I’m looking forward…

Like Abraham and the other Hebrews 11 Faith-Giants I’m following a Voice that “is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”  I go in faith believing that that Voice has sent me ahead of him where he himself is about to go.  The Voice compels me to “pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest fields (Luke 10:1-2).  I’m plowing this hard, dry, unreached ground with my prayers and planting the seed of God’s Word with the literature I’m sharing.  Others will come along watering and still others will reap the harvest that I will not see but believe in faith God will provide (1 Corinthians 3).

“Hear my prayer, Lord,
and listen to my cry for help;
do not be silent at my tears.
For I am a foreigner residing with You,
a sojourner like all my fathers.”
      - Psalm 39:12

“Withdraw your heart from the love of things visible and turn yourself to things invisible”
     - Thomas รก Kempis