The smell of fresh cut wood and gasoline filled the air as we slipped down the alleyway and into the small office of the church. Inside, two Global Mission pioneers perched on the corners of overflowing desks. In the background, voices were quietly singing, something I hadn’t heard when I visited the small group meeting unobtrusively in an apartment in another city in this Central Asian country.
Later I would learn that most of the church members here were foreigners. I was introduced to a dark-haired gentleman. He was dressed simply; the gaze of his dark eyes never left the ground. I learned he was studying the Bible with one of the pioneers. He was from a neighboring country, a country with very few Adventists. I can’t tell you the rest of the story, because I don’t know it. There are stories without endings, at least here on earth.
Another place, another time, I was walking across a small bridge, a bridge to nowhere. The concrete walkway led to a chain link fence, topped by coils of razor wire. The fence was covered with pieces of cloth, sun bleached yellow ribbons and faded pictures. To my right was a guard tower with a soldier scanning the crowds through his binoculars. This was as far as I could go. On the other side was a country that is all but closed to mission work.
Yet another place and time. My eyes scanned the scores of people waiting patiently at the temples. There seemed to be a temple on every street, around every corner, another shrine. A young boy, wanting to be my guide, kept trying various languages in an attempt to figure out which I spoke. He’d finally settled on English, his persistence and sense of humor made me smile and my smile gave me away. This was a non-Christian country, with its own official religion. Yet today this country is undergoing changes that may open new doors.
The challenges are different from country to country, from region to region. In some places, information is freely available, yet people refuse to listen. In others people risk relationships, reputations or even lives to hear or share the gospel. In some regions the church has limited funds to cover their vast territories. Please pray for these countries. A few are outlined in this issue, but there are many more. Please pray for our members there. Please pray that God will open doors. Please pray that God will show what you can do for mission in the challenging areas of the world.
The next thing I knew, the door flew open, and I was staring down at a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun.
Mission 360° features inspiring stories about mission work.
One day while Rajah was holding a Bible study, a mob approached his house, brandishing sticks and swords.