Reachout

THE MISSIONARY TASK HAS NEVER CHANGED!

(January 24, 2021) As we move ahead into this new year of uncertainties and changes, we rerun this 2017 article by the late missionary statesperson George Forbes, as it is an especially important reminder that  missionary endeavour never changes!

Christian Missions operate in a wide range of areas of ministry internationally, service and aid!

  • Some are big enough to incorporate many activities and ministries.
  • Others specialise in one field of service such as humanitarian aid, education or medical.
  • Significant numbers specialise in language translation and their provision to nations.
  • Most missions that prioritise on evangelism, Bible training and church planting also open schools, medical clinics and other services.

Such services are crucial!
Early in my thirty years of active mission organisation leadership, I discovered that these services were often crucial to our acceptance by indigenous leaders in developing countries. Biblically they were an evidence of Christian love and compassion to people in need.

The missionary task has always been about ‘making disciples.’ Jesus commanded the early church ‘to make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew. 28:18-20). He commanded his disciples to ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel’ (Mark 16:15). Matthew adds the important dimension of the Great Commission by quoting the words of Jesus, As you go, make disciples.’ (more…)

RUNNING OUT OF FUEL IN A SNOWSTORM

(January 24, 2021) Mark Ellis shares how a snowstorm led to a pilot’s salvation…

‘I was a God mocker,’ says Mark Rose, founder of Genesis Alive, and author of Last of the Long Hunters, a story of the pilots who fly the Alaskan Arctic.

Raised in the secular Seventies, completely un-churched, he had no room for God until he ran out of fuel in an Alaskan storm, miles from his destination.

Rose learned to fly at 16, and by age 22 had become a bush pilot who helped take care of a fleet of helicopters that worked on the Alaska pipeline. ‘My ego meter was on 101,’ he admits.

Low on fuel
One day he flew some hunters to the upper part of a large river on the Arctic. But on his return flight, carrying one passenger, several things went wrong.

First, herds of caribou had moved in, covering his first and second choices for a landing spot. Then he began to run low on fuel, so he called ahead for a weather check at the small airport near Kotzebue, on the Baldwin Peninsula.

‘Come on in, the weather’s fine,’ the FAA flight service operator told him.

Rose decided to take the chance that his fuel would hold out, but then weather conditions changed dramatically. ‘I ran into a snowstorm at night, and I couldn’t see the terrain, so I had to follow the grey ribbon of river below.’ In the days before satellite weather imaging, the man had given him bad advice.

‘All my options were evaporating as fast as I could fly.’ (more…)

WHAT ON EARTH DO WE NEED THE BIBLE FOR?

(January 13, 2021) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges Christians to value and uphold God’s word!

A pastor was announcing the coming marriage seminar to his congregation.

To encourage his people to come along, he said: ‘Don’t worry! The seminar won’t have anything to do with the Bible so it’s safe to bring your friends along. there will be no Bible bashing!’

How misguided can you be! Four important issues to note here…

1. The Bible teaches God’s word, not humanistic reasonings…
This young pastor erred in having such a Bible centre-less seminar in his church.

  • People can get humanistic teachings (that is, based on human reasoning) anywhere else.
  • But the function of the church is to teach God’s word, not humanistic teaching. (Well, isn’t it?)

(more…)

THE DAY SANTA GOT ‘SAVED’

(December 17, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind readers of the real reason for the season – lost people needing to be found!

For decades, the jovial fat man dressed in red has replaced the advent of our Saviour Jesus as the central focus of Christmas. Christmas became ‘Xmas’ – as if Christ has been cancelled out and without meaning. Generally, people have always regarded Christmas as a special time of family, fun, food, cards and presents… but the birth of Jesus is still central for Bible-believers!

Christmas memories
We ourselves particularly recall some Christmases as special and precious…

  • Weeks of carols played in shops and expressions of genuine well wishes for Christmas.
  • Christmas Day mornings back home  awakening early to faithful carol singers from a local church gathering in the snow under a streetlight and warmly heralding the birth of Jesus.
  • Then the traditional gleeful opening of presents and the excitement following.
  • Soon we’d be hurrying off to early church for a down-to-earth service that highlighted the arrival
    of the Saviour of the world who came to bring peace to earth.
  • The Christmas Day luncheon and family fun together.
  • And, most especially, that best Christmas Day morn of all when our beautiful darlin’ daughter Wendy was born!

(more…)

MAKING CHRISTMAS MEMORIES

(December 11, 2020) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us with great motherly (and heart-centred!) advice…

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Christmas?’

  • Most children say: Food!
  • Most men too!
  • Most mothers say: Work!

Good memories are vivid
Why is food so memorable? Food is of special significance because the sense of smell is intricately linked with memory, more so than any other sense, just one whiff can evoke memories.

Good memories are intricately connected to good food. Our brain sorts through our memories associating happy events with good food and celebrations. The emotional association of events and food leaves an indelible print, much more accentuated during our childhood. Childhood memories have a longer lasting imprint, especially in association with special days like birthdays and Christmas. (more…)

THE VOICE IN THE NIGHT

(December 6, 2020) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes we rerun one of his previously posted Christmas blogs, the incident of the ‘voice in the night’ phenomenon…

In contrast to stories of apparitions and spirits these ‘mysterious voice’ speaking to Muslims reports have been extremely specific, constant and detailed.

There have been literally thousands of reported dreams and visions of devout Muslims, including many Imams, Mullahs and Sheiks who have seen ‘Isa’ and heard him speak to them.

(Note: Isa an Arabic translation of Jesus, itself having a Hebrew origin).

Phenomenon converts many Muslims
This phenomenon has led to the conversion of large numbers of Muslims. They have become convinced of the gospel by the appearance of Jesus and by his words of life. I and many others are convinced these reports are genuine.

God loves every Muslim – as indeed he loves every man, woman and child on earth. His love for all humanity was focused on Calvary when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified as the sin-bearer and Saviour of the world (John 3:16).

The scriptures declare in Romans 5:6 that, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. The apostle Peter wrote that, ‘Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God ‘(1 Peter 3:18).

This gospel truth is transforming people right around the world, with a significant number of conversions occurring among former Muslims.

Mysterious encounters with Christ
Stories are being told of many such encounters, where the Lord Jesus Christ appears to individuals, even leaders in the Muslim world. These are days of amazing contrasts between light and darkness, hope and hopelessness. (more…)

SECURITY… UNDER GOD’S WINGS

(November 3, 2020) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, reminds us of a great truth!

What comfort to know that only under his wings we are always safe. Such on that day when we were nearly halfway between two cities in Bolivia, Sucre and Cochabamba, and our worst nightmare came true.

Winding our way around the high Andes Mountains, on very narrow roads, we came face to face with a huge lumber truck, full beyond capacity. It was coming down the same narrow road at full speed!

It was as if Psalm 73:19 – ‘In the blink of an eye, disaster! A blind curve in the dark, and – nightmare!’ – had become a reality!

Security in Jesus’ all-powerful name!
Chris only had a few seconds to get as close as he could to the side of the road.  As I looked out my window, I couldn’t see the edge of the road, only hundreds of metres of drop. The raging river down below looked like a tiny thread, that’s how high we were.

At that moment all we managed to utter wasJesus– reverently, prayerfully and calling for his help! (more…)

A RESTRAINING HAND; A PROTECTIVE GOD

(October 20, 2020) David McGuire, missionary to Romania, shares a testimony about God’s protection…

‘We don’t want you to go down there and help them other people,’ a short, dark man stormed threateningly.

On that warm Monday afternoon in the spring of 2000, my construction crew and I had just finished work on homes in this poor Gypsy settlement called the Valley, at the edge of the village of Albesti, Romania. Now we were being threatened by this irate man. His wife, brothers and cousins were all echoing his words.

‘If you go and help them people at the far end of the Valley, like you’ve been helping us, we’re going to beat you up,’ the angry Gypsy man told me through my interpreter.

To Romania with love
I’m an Englishman, born in Manchester and raised in Glossop, a small town nearby.  Being a builder, when God called me to serve him in Romania, I responded with a desire to use my skills to help in every way I could and for over 20 joyous years I’ve been doing so. It was here that I had met and married Rodica. We have a lovely daughter, Sabrina.

House building for the poor has been since 1998 and spread over many villages. Dreams from the Lord about running a ‘feeding with Bible stories to kids’ program in several villages and linking with local churches became part of our outreach. We would buy Bible cartoon DVD stories DVDs for kids showing them as we would feed them in local buildings. Watching these cartoons was a first exposure to the Bible for kids from non-Christian families. And, we praise God, they responded well!

 

 

 

David, Rodica and Sabrina

Poor parents were also being touched by God and we would move on from village to village. But… well do I recall one dangerous day in the Albesti village when I was threatened by the man mentioned above! (more…)

IN DEFENSE OF ‘WHINGERS’

(October 19, 2020) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to really care for others.

As we were waiting for the bell to ring, the children were running all over the school playground. Suddenly ‘Adam’ (not real name) tripped and fell down the concrete steps, right by my feet.

 I reached down to help him but his mother stopped me, saying, ‘He’ll be right. I don’t want him to be a whinger.’  Then she turned to Adam and said, ‘Get up, Adam. Men don’t cry!’

My eyes followed little Adam as he got up and limped behind a bush to rub his little knees and wipe away his tears.  Yes, little Adam will never become a whinger.

People need to share!
A few days later I sat waiting for a bus at the Ringwood station. We were having a heat wave and even the shade was hot. Suddenly an elderly lady came from nowhere and sat right next to me, so close to me that she was in fact sitting on the edge of my dress!

In my heart I felt annoyed, she had so much bench space; why sit so close on such a hot day.

I admit that I was thinking of pulling my dress from under her… but that first reaction was to change quickly when she suddenly turned her deeply lined face to me and said in a loud, anguished voice: ‘I just came from my nephew’s funeral. He was only 26. If only he had been able to talk to someone, he wouldn’t have committed suicide.’

(more…)

THAT CLEVER GOD

(October 11, 2020) Jerry Wiles shares…

In 1967 in Kabul, Afghanistan, I was introduced to some new and different customs and cultural dynamics.  Being stationed at an Air Force base in a neighbouring country, I had the opportunity of traveling to several surrounding countries in that part of the world. 

During those years, I became somewhat aware of the geo-political issues in the region.  In subsequent years I got connected with people doing business and mission work in the region. 

The Lord was using those experiences and relationships to prepare me for something I could not have foreseen at the time.

God’s mission strategy
Most of the decade of the 1980s I worked with an international publishing and broadcasting ministry. 

During the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, we were involved in some mission work in the same region.  In partnership and collaboration with medical and relief organisations, we were able to distribute Bibles and gospel literature among the Mujahideen freedom fighters and in the refugee camps of Northwest Pakistan. 

Over the course of those efforts we made some encouraging and amazing discoveries. 

Surprised by the work of God
The USSR was assigning known Christian troops to duty in Afghanistan, which was the most undesirable place of service in their military complex at the time! (more…)