9.01.2008

Ni mama qu daxue

The title means, your mom goes to college.
My aim is to accomplish the impossible in this post: to somehow communicate to you what the Lord did in and through my team on our summer project in East Asia (all that in a clear and concise manner as well). Well, here we go...


"Missions exist because worship doesn't." This quote from John Piper struck me rather profoundly on the other side of the world this summer. Most of those people had never even given serious thought as to whether or not there is a God; much less seen the Gospel fleshed out in word and deed in others' lives. We were not merely there to convince people to believe in Jesus, but rather to reveal to them the character, beauty, and person of Christ. If people see Jesus as he really is, God incarnate, then they will believe and worship Him. This was certainly the experience of Paul on the Damascus Road. So we shared the love of Christ boldly.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Cor. 4:1-7 ESV
Our task: helping people see, savor, and know Jesus personally.

Our vision: to glorify God as we prayerfully trust Him to change lives by...growing in intimacy with the Lord, living in Biblical community, sharing the Gospel, and engaging East Asian culture.

As the team leader, I decided to focus my attention on investing in our students. If I could teach, train, equip, and model ministry to my team, then I would provide the proper platform for our students to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and to trust God with the results. We loved the Lord each week by having Bible studies, trainings, church, men's/women's time, discipleship, and reflection time. We loved our team by eating together, having weekly social events, sharing and praying for each other, serving and encouraging one another, and just goofing around together. We learned the culture by taking 3 hours of language class a day, one culture class a week, eating mostly East Asian food, hanging out with native students, traveling some, asking a ton of questions, and basically just trying & experiencing new things. We helped to launch a movement by getting in spiritual conversations, sharing the Gospel, following up with students to provide growth, and getting them to meet long term missionaries who will work with them next year on campus.

By all accounts it was a successful 6 week trip! My students really grew in their understanding of the Gospel, application of the Gospel in their lives, and communicating the Gospel to others. We engaged in hundreds of spiritual conversations (in the 5 weeks we were in our city), shared the Gospel to the point of decision about 92 times, saw at least 20 East Asian students begin a personal relationship with God, and engaged nearly all of them in at least one follow up appointment.

One quick story to highlight the ministry there...which happens to be our international partnership in the Triad (and at NC State, UNC, Vandy, App St, et al). April and Berkely befriended a student on the way to her dorm one afternoon. They built a friendship in the following weeks and eventually got to share the Gospel with her. She nodded with seeming understanding at hearing the Gospel, because she had previously attended a few Bible studies on campus. She told them, "I want to believe this, but I am not sure it is the truth." The women explained some more and even got to share their testimonies. She responded, "How did you come to simply believe in Jesus?" She was so spiritually hungry, interested, and open. The women had built a relationship with her to the point where she invited them over to her house for dinner. As the conversation again turned to Jesus, she said, "I think it is blank (a word in her language) that I will believe in Jesus." Her not knowing the word in English and they not exactly sure what she was talking about, got her to put the word into her electronic dictionary. Surprisingly, the word translated as predestination! She said, "I think it is this that I will believe in Jesus soon. I do not know many people who believe in Jesus, but every year He sends someone to me to tell me about Him. I think He must want me to know Him." Indeed and WOW!!

We truly are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope--at the very same time. Belief in the Gospel is not just the way to enter the kingdom of God; it is the way to address every obstacle and grow in every aspect, as we continually grasp and apply the Gospel in deeper ways in our lives. Thanks Tim Keller for helping me to understand this.

Be actively involved in the great commission...Pray, Give, Go. Chew on that and drop me a note!!

2 comments:

April said...

The Lord is so gracious and good!! :-) Great re-cap!

Jack and Becky Galloway said...

Thanks for writing about your time there! It was great to read! I'm glad I found your blog (through Rebecca and Seth's blog). Anyways, hope you are doing great Jeff! Looking forward to hearing how your semester is going to kick-off this year!