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A couple of weeks ago I was part of a gathering for believers in Jesus who come from Muslim backgrounds, along with people working to take the good news to Muslims. A young woman from a difficult country in Asia thanked me profusely for being part of leadership for the conference. She said with tears in her eyes, “You don’t know how encouraging this is, to be with other people who share many of the struggles I face, and to know that there are people who care about us. Thank you so much!”
I also met the American missionary who came with this woman. She and her husband have spent the last 15-20 years, ever since they married, in outreach to Muslims. She said, “This has been such a refreshing time for me, to be able to study Scripture and share with people who are in my kind of ministry. I can relax and be encouraged!”
I met a number of other people from Muslim backgrounds whose lives have been transformed by Jesus Christ. They are now living out their calling to follow him in their own contexts as much as possible, often in difficult situations. I have learned from them about such things as perseverance, total dependence on God, and prayer. And as we studied the Scriptures together, I was challenged by their insights.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” -Mark 16:15
God’s passion is for people to come to know, worship, love and serve him through Jesus Christ. This is the story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. And God is at work in the world today fulfilling his promise to Abraham that all the nations would be blessed through him (Gen. 12:3). God is gathering folks from every tongue and tribe and people and nation to join around his throne and worship the lamb (Rev. 7:9-10). The people above are part of what God is doing. And ECO is called by God to be part of that as well!
We aren’t alone in that effort–God is using people from many different cultures today. Over half the cross-cultural missionaries in the world are from non-Western nations. But this doesn’t mean that God no longer wants us to bring our gifts to the table to be used in his mission. And we need the engagement for our own growth, both spiritually and numerically. We have much to learn from those with whom we join in sharing the good news as well as from believers in other cultures.
While ECO doesn’t send out missionaries through a denominational agency, we are blessed to have a number of people whom God has called to go across cultural boundaries to be engaged in mission. These folks are all “our” missionaries!
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You’ll be hearing from some of them over the next few weeks. They need the refreshment and support that we can provide, just as the two ladies above needed it. They need our prayers and our financial support. They also need our encouragement at times. Please support these and all our missionaries (along with others you support who may not be from ECO), and be part of what they are doing. We are all blessed to be a blessing!