Reachout

REACHING OUT

(June 14, 2021) Robert McQuillan reflects on this category’s title, Reachout!

As readers know, this category usually centres on missionary activities overseas and the need to pray for and financially support missionaries, especially in these troubled and dangerous times.

Yet contributors often include a reminder that ‘missionary’ service begins at home, through local churches, and Christians who love their Lord and desire to serve him. That the Matthew 28:18-20 great commission starts in our local Jerusalem.

Interestingly recent American blogs are encouraging churches to reach out locally. Australia’s Wayne Swift, National Leader, Acts Global Churches also wrote: ‘An encounter with God, discipleship and planting pretty much sum up the task of the church and they have for two thousand years, the only change is the impact of the church on the communities in which they dwell.’

In this connection, reaching out locally to the unsaved, a friend phoned confessing he was a little tired hearing his minister preaching about many ‘things’ but never encouraging and teaching how to reach the unchurched.

Unexpected encounter
His call must have been on my mind for I woke up this morning recalling something that happened many years ago…

I’d received a phone call inviting me to meet a Chinese pastor visiting a church nearby the office I used in the days I was editing and publishing a denominational magazine.

Admitting that I’d never heard of this pastor, I agreed… It was to be an appointment I have never forgotten… and never will!

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THE CHOICE IS OURS

(June 9, 2021) Bonnie Spencer shares a most important challenge…

We make countless choices every day. We decide…

What to wear, what to eat, who to hang out with. What time to get up, unless we have a job that dictates that. Even then, we had the choice of taking that job, looking for a different one, or not working at all but instead backpacking around the country.

And so on… but the choice most often is ours.

Created to make choices
Although some countries severely limit freedoms, that is not how God created us to live. He is all about freedom and giving us the opportunity to make our own choices. Unlike the animals he created with instincts, he gave us the ability to think and decide for ourselves how to live our lives… even when it means making the wrong choices. That is clear from the beginning of history.

When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, he instructed them, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’(Genesis 2:16-17).

From the start God has laid out what is right and what is wrong, telling the consequences of making the wrong decisions. Adam and Eve made a bad choice in disobeying God, and humankind has experienced the consequence of death ever since. Death was never God’s plan for us, but he allows us to choose.

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WITNESSING WITH GOOGLE

(May 20, 2021) Timothy Cockes, reporter for Baptist Press brings this great testimony of up-to-date gospel witnessing…

A simple furniture purchase turned into a life-changing experience for two men visiting Pastor James Merritt this past weekend.

Pastor of Cross Pointe Church in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth, he was able to lead both men, who did not speak English, to make a decision for Christ communicating solely through the Google Translate app on his phone in what he described as ‘one of the greatest witnessing experiences I’ve ever had in my life.’

Bartolo and Osmani, brothers originally from Cuba, were picking up some furniture when Pastor Merritt began talking to them by using the voice option on the Google Translate app.

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MARIE MONSEN – LOOSE-CANNON UNSUNG, UNSUPPORTED HERO

(May 19, 2021) In keeping with our own Encouragement article this month, we rerun ex-missionary to South America, Erica Grace’s recent challenge to remember unsung Hebrews 11 type heroes such as this ‘loose-cannon’ unsupported missionary…

Born in Sandviken, Norway in 1878, Marie Monsen became a schoolteacher. She went to China in 1901 to help the missionary couple sent there by her Lutheran church needing a teacher for their children.

But shortly after she arrived those missionaries left due to the national unrest and turn of events in China The mission agency back in Norway didn’t have the funds to send for Marie as well, so she stayed back waiting for her ticket to arrive.

Following Bible examples
Meanwhile, people kept coming to the mission home looking for help but Marie was the only one there.  She would face squalid conditions of starving, sick children and not knowing what do, felt helpless and overwhelmed… the situations she faced each day seemed insurmountable. Marie’s only solution would be to pray.

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One emergency would be followed by another, then another in a nearby town. Everywhere she went Marie (left) would just open her Bible and read especially the gospels where Jesus performed miracles. Then she would pray for people with all sorts of problems, diseases and oppressions. She hadn’t seen this being done back home in her church, but she followed the examples in the Bible.

Not quite sure where she even was, she was woken one day by pleas for help by distraught parents. When she reached their home, she saw their only son, around nine years old, lying on a mat – dead. They begged her to pray to her God.

Miracles!
With childlike faith Marie opened her Bible, read where Jesus raised a young son from the dead and prayed: ‘Lord, you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Please raise this son from the dead.’

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JESUS CARES…

(May 19, 2021) Carol Round shares great truths from her heart…

Stopped at a busy intersection in a large city recently, I noticed a large, scribbled message on one side of a large grey utility box. In black permanent marker, someone had written, ‘Nobody cares.’

On another side of the metal box, in bold black block letters, someone else had written neatly ‘Jesus loves you.’  

I’m positive the first message, scribbled in haste, was written first. The second appeared to be an answer to the first person’s cry for help, an encouragement to whomever had desperately penned the heart-felt words, Nobody cares.

At the base of the utility box was a pile of belongings – what looked like a bag of clothing, a dark green sleeping bag, and what appeared to be a grocery sack of food. Conspicuously absent was the person who’d left the belongings behind. Was it a homeless person or had someone who cared left the supplies behind for the person who believed no one really cared about their plight?

God wants us to do our part
Throughout the rest of my week, I couldn’t get this snapshot of humanity out of my mind. I still wondered about the person who’d penned the first message. My heart ached for someone who is probably homeless.

I also wondered, ‘Did the homeless person abandon his/her few possessions?’ Why? Had the individual given up on life? Or, had a caring person purchased the goods and left them there – maybe the person who wrote, ‘Jesus loves you.’

I almost wished the homeless person had been present while I sat in my car, waiting for the light to change. My curiosity needed satisfying. I wanted to do my part and offer the person some money. Even more importantly, I wanted to feed his soul with an encouraging message from scripture.

Caring for others is part of reaching out in Jesus’ great commission of Matthew 28:18-20!

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EASTER ATTACK AFTER DRAMATIC HEALING CONVERSION

April 13, 2021, Morning Star News reports…

Sources tell of a mother of seven children in eastern Uganda suffered serious wounds and is cut off from her family after her husband and other Muslim relatives attacked her on Easter Sunday for putting her faith in Christ.

Salimati Naibira, 37, of Bukoba B village, lost consciousness after her husband cut her with a dagger known as a Somali sword in the thigh and back on April 4 as she attended a worship service for the first time in the area, she said. She had converted from Islam to Christianity three days prior to Easter.

She said she was on her way to the church service when she met her brother-in-law, Ahirafu Kowa, who asked her where she was going. He likely became suspicious after Salimati told him she was going to visit a friend, she said. One hour into the worship service, she saw through a window that her husband and other relatives were approaching.

Somali sword attack
‘I saw my husband, Ayubu Kairu, and some family members enter the church gate shouting “Allah Akbar (jihadist slogan ‘God is greater’),”’ she told MSN. The church members took off from church worship to save their lives.’

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TRUE FRUIT – FROM UNSUNG HEROES

Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to remember unsung Hebrews 11 type heroes!

Born in Sandviken, Norway in 1878, Marie Monsen became a schoolteacher. She went to China in 1901 to help the missionary couple sent there by her Lutheran church needing a teacher for their children.

But shortly after she arrived those missionaries left due to the national unrest and turn of events in China The mission agency back in Norway didn’t have the funds to send for Marie as well, so she stayed back waiting for her ticket to arrive.

Following Bible examples
Meanwhile, people kept coming to the mission home looking for help but Marie was the only one there.  She would face squalid conditions of starving, sick children and not knowing what do, felt helpless and overwhelmed… the situations she faced each day seemed insurmountable. Marie’s only solution would be to pray.

One emergency would be followed by another, then another in a nearby town. Everywhere she went Marie (right) would just open her Bible and read especially the gospels where Jesus performed miracles. Then she would pray for people with all sorts of problems, diseases and oppressions. She hadn’t seen this being done back home in her church, but she followed the examples in the Bible.

Not quite sure where she even was, she was woken one day by pleas for help by distraught parents. When she reached their home, she saw their only son, around nine years old, lying on a mat – dead. They begged her to pray to her God.

Miracles!
With childlike faith Marie opened her Bible, read where Jesus raised a young son from the dead and prayed: ‘Lord, you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Please raise this son from the dead.’

(more…)

THE JOHN 3:16 TWELVE GOLDMINE TREASURES

(April 01, 2021) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes, we run one of his Easter blogs, a reminder that the real message of Easter is a precious goldmine treasure:

Easter is an annual holiday celebrated by many millions around the world.

  • For devout followers of Christ it is a highlight of the year; a time to give thanks to God for his great gift of the Saviour. 
  • For many others it may be the one-day they attend or think about attending a church, because it seems the right thing to do. They hope it might help when the day of accounting comes.
  • For a vast number of people it has no meaning… so they simply treat this time as a holiday break from normal routines.

Easter’s great truth
Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, especially at Easter, though most also celebrate the great victory of Calvary every time they take communion.  Many Christians say that they regard Easter as the most important celebration of the year.

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THAT BLACK DOG

(March 22, 2021) Trevor Pugh shares his testimony…

Thank you, Connecting with You contributors Pastor Charles Schwab, Dr Jim McClure, Geraldine Brandt, and Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan for your articles this month (Links below*).

I appreciate you all sharing this journey, especially Pastor Charles’ very open candidness.

That constant companion
DepressionThe Black Dog – has been a constant companion, biting away at me since l was young – unloved, uncared for, and hurting so much inside.

It was while being ‘bitten yet again’ at age 40 that I thought I had the final solution to such ‘bites’… suicide!

That dark night l held a rifle under my chin and was pressing on the trigger, when l suddenly stopped and decided to go outside and call into the night sky.

‘Why?’ I wondered as I stood there outside, making a lot of noise and shouting inanely.

My shouting woke my wife, Jan, and she rushed out to see what was going on, who or what I was yelling at.  With her help I sensed God speaking to my heart and l quieted down. I ended up going back to bed, although secretly thinking, ‘Anyway, I can suicide tomorrow.’

But praise God in the morning, l felt different! I had called out to God and he had heard me! (more…)

OVERWHELMED BY GOD’S STRONG LOVE

(March 11, 2021) Amber Varela, studying at Lighthouse Christian Academy, Los Angeles, brings shares a ReachOut testimony...

On 24-hour shifts, rifle-ready Lee Yih would peer across the border into East Germany, guarding against Soviet troops that never came. On his days off, the U.S. Army soldier fought with his wife and got stoned.

‘I was really aliened, Lee says. ‘I was just a loser, just not functioning in life.’

Before he lost his way in life, Lee Yih says he was born with great ambitions to be rich – a stark contrast to growing up as the offspring of a date rape in a single parent home. Being Asian, he felt like an outcast among all-white classmates in Mount Joy, Iowa.

Feeling lonely, unloved
‘I hated to be Chinese. I told my mom I wanted to be white. In the town where I grew, there were no other Chinese people and I wanted so much to fit in. Basically, I had no identity.’ His mother bristled at his rebellious rejection of Asian culture, so she shipped him off to Taiwan to learn Chinese when he was 15 years old.

‘I got worse problems because where once I felt so Chinese in Iowa and so foreign and not fitting in, now I was really not fitting in because I’m in China and so American!’ he recounts.

Then a friend invited him to a Christian camp. ‘I got snookered into going to a Baptist youth camp,’ he remembers. (more…)