Monday, April 11, 2016

God Gives the Increase (April 2016 Newsletter)

I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city. Acts 18:10

 “If someone follows [Jesus] everybody will hate him,” L____ said, looking up from his New Testament in Bangla. Kamal and I were doing a study on persecution from Luke 21:10-19. L____ had been sharing Bible stories and a short gospel presentation with his friends and family. He was only beginning to experience negative responses, but as I sat with him with the Scriptures opened I was forced to consider what I had committed my life to and what L____ also faced. L____ is much more likely to be genuinely persecuted than I am; just a few weeks ago a young man was stabbed to death in his country for turning from Islam to Jesus. The stakes are high, and they are real.

Later that month L____ and I read the first chapter of the Gospel of John together. As I heard him read in English before reading it in his own language, I was reminded that this may be the most beautiful thing written in any language:

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 

After taking a long time to read and reread the chapter we went through discussion questions. “"All of God's Spirit and all of God's Word lives inside of [Jesus] and He shows that to the world."

The next week L____ met another young man from Bangladesh. He shared the story of the Two Kingdoms, that Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice for sins and rose from the dead and that He is the King of the Kingdom of God we must follow. Shortly after reporting this to me he said, “We must catch people to tell them about Jesus.”

God is performing a miracle in L____ that is so huge in my mind and heart that I struggle to comprehend it. I remember every Bible study and every story I’ve ever shared with him. I remember when we struggled to communicate with each other because of the language barrier. I can look back at all the things I’ve done with L____, and I have to honestly say that I still don’t know how this has happened. God has done something on the inside of L____. I threw the seed, but God has made it into something beautiful.

This month I met two young men who remind me very much of L____. They are both young and have just come from Bangladesh. They are brothers looking to learn English and receive tutoring. I share my testimony with them, telling them that because of what God has done in my life I want to help them. I told them that I wanted to help them learn English and get a better job, but that I also wanted to help them learn how to be close to God. I told them I would use the Old and New Testament stories to teach them how to learn English and how to learn how to be close to God. They agreed and plan to meet with me twice a week. Please pray that God opens their eyes and changes their hearts the same way he has with L____.

Last month I was praying for a teammate to help me in the city of Hamtramck. God blessed me by connecting me further with Adam Crumpton a missionary who recently returned to Detroit after making disciples for over a decade in Mexico. He has been co-laboring with me several times per week and has been a tremendous blessing. I am blessed by what God is doing, and I know that the best is yet to come!

Read the rest of the April 2016 Newsletter.
Read previous Newsletters.

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