Most days we feel the need to pinch ourselves—amazed that God would let us serve Him. To hear others talk, you’d think our sacrifices were great—how difficult it must be to go without our favorite treats or restaurants. We hardly think this makes us worthy to be compared with martyrs past or present of whom the world itself was not worthy.
Truth be told, there are sacrifices that bring tears to our eyes. I am thinking of our recent trip to the airport to see one of our daughters off as she joined some of her siblings in the States. We thank God that all of our adult children are actively serving Him, but it isn’t easy being so far away. My wife and I had the joy of visiting the States briefly for our oldest son’s wedding, but even that was soon followed by tearful good-byes. Harder still was being here in Asia as our married daughter gave birth to her daughter (the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen). While we thrill for her and her husband, we weep when we think how long it will be before we hold our grandchild for the first time. Yet even these examples of suffering are not noteworthy in the broad scheme of things. We are beginning to make great strides with the language and, more importantly, beginning to see positive momentum in the ministry to which God has called us. So rather than focusing on the sacrifices, allow us to highlight some of the progress being seen.
It has been our privilege to host nearly 20 Americans over the course of a couple of months. Many of these are serving overseas or preparing to do so in the not-too-distant future. We enjoyed a moving prayer meeting at the waterfront with several of these dear servants. More importantly, we have been privileged to host many nationals. A very few of these are believers already, but the majority are people with whom we are sharing the good news. Continue to pray for G__, whom we have been discipling for many months. Pray for our students in the language school. Pray for a couple who are frequent attenders of our Sunday assembly. The wife is Christian and the husband Muslim. They recently invited us to their home and had several friends and neighbors present to meet us. Pray for a business associate of mine named S__. Pray for M__ (my CPA) and many of his family members and extended family. Pray for a young Turkish man named O__, whom we met recently. He seemed very eager to learn more from us. Pray for an administrator of a large manufacturing industry. His name is E__, and he has been meeting with us to discuss faith. The most recent meeting lasted about 2½ hours.
There are many others with whom we associate: people with whom we conduct business, young people with whom we play basketball, friends and families whom we have met in a multitude of ways. Pray for a vendor named M__ with whom we’ve spoken many times. Last week he gladly received the Gospel of John we give out. Pray for various Bible-translation projects in which I am playing an advisory role. Pray for the books I am writing. Pray also for a tract that Missionary 6505 and I are currently working on together. Speaking of the Missionary 6505 and his family, pray that we can get them here as quickly as possible—they have raised well over half of their support. An adult lady trusted Christ recently after I preached! On another recent Sunday, we went to a new restaurant after our service. I got to make friends with several people while there and even got to share about God’s goodness with an elderly imam. Sure we wipe a tear or two from time to time, but we are very much aware that the little bit of suffering we might endure is no more worthy to be compared to His glory in us than we were to receive it in the first place!
Missionary 6501 and Family