Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The persecuted
I found a great verse the other day that spoke particularly to my husband and I because of our experiences in Southeast Asia. We are presently advocating for frontline national church planters who are working in very difficult dangerous places (unreached people groups) where Western missionaries cannot go because of the danger factor not only to themselves but also to those who build relationships with them. We were recently overseas at a conference where we connected North American representatives from various churches with these frontline national workers. These workers are my heroes! One of them, working in a VERY difficult place, told me stories of God's protection in his family's lives. First a group of people tried to burn down their house (a straw hut literally) but the men were frightened away (this small hut contains not only himself and his wife, but 7 children as well!) Another attempt was made against the family when a group of rebels surrounded their house shooting and launching a grenade through the door - but the rebels ran away terrified because their guns did not shoot and the grenade did not light! A third attempt was made on the family that for security reasons I cannot describe. At this conference the man and his wife said, "Thus far God has chosen to be glorified through protecting us, but some day he may choose to be glorified by not protecting us." Wow, such faith is beyond me - or at least God has not yet called me to experience that grace. I have learned that God's grace is sufficient for me today - but not for tomorrow, or for somebody else etc.
Another worker and his daughter were recently martyred in another people group. The times are tense - but yet God is so good - and He is raising up a people for himself to surround His throne bringing him glory. The family that I was describing (with the 7 children) have had their house burnt down since I was with them...and 3 other workers received very pointed and real death threats and had to abandon their work - imagine our joy when I read these verses the other day...
II Corinthians 1:8-11: "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under real pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." (NIV)
Our work right now is to garner prayers for the persecuted church and for the workers who are "laying their all" on the line. Maybe as you read this you might pause for a moment and pray for them - even though you do not know their real names and places - God does!
Thank you!!! Becky

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