reaching out

‘GOD’S SMUGGLER’ BROTHER ANDREW PASSES TO HIS REWARD

(September 29, 2022) Mark Ellis honours this late servant of God.

The legendary Dutch-born Bible smuggler, Andrew van der Bijl, fondly known as Brother Andrew, who used his VW Beetle to deliver Bibles into closed communist countries at the height of the Cold War, is now with his Saviour. He was 94.

In 1967, he published God’s Smuggler, which tells the story of his conversion to Christ and adventures as a Bible-smuggler behind the Iron Curtain. When he crossed heavily-guarded checkpoints into closed countries, he was known for praying, ‘Lord you made blind eyes see. Now I pray, make seeing eyes blind.’

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WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE?

(September 19, 2022) Sabrina McGuire, 14-year-old daughter of missionaries to Romania, shares her first mission camp experiences…

The title above is a question I’ve asked myself many times before… and recently found some answers.

I had a great opportunity to go to a YWAM Christian camp where there were teachings on spiritual warfare, prophecy and many other subjects. Great teachings… but yet my heart  hungered for more. I never truly knew how to really practise Christianity in the real world… and I wanted to!

Blessing people
Fortunately we campers were told that our second week of camp was a mission trip to different locations in Romania. During that week we did volunteer work for churches, kids and food bases… and it proved to be a great way of blessing people as well as being blessed ourselves.

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KEEP YOUR COOL!

(September 17, 2022) Richard Winter reminds us that, like Timothy, we too have an obligation to finish the race.

Keep your cool is great advice for all of us in trying moments, testing times, troubling escapades, upsetting incidents… and when we just don’t know if we’ll get through, if we’ll make it.

It’s our modern phraseology for the great advice the apostle Paul gave young Timothy in respect of fulfilling his ministry obligations: ‘… keep your head in all situations…’ (2 Timothy 4:5a).

I would draw your attention to 2 Timothy 4:5-8 in full… ‘But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.’

Remember Graduation Day when you have finished your educational journey? In the above verses Paul is talking about his own soon-to-be graduation day and exhorting his young son-in-the-faith regarding his future one. He highlights what Timothy  must be about, especially in view of the fact he must soon take his mentor’s place. And that must have been a frightening prospect to the young man.

Note a reality here: All of us, followers and servants of Jesus, must pass on eventually to our own graduation day, and leave kingdom work to others. That is what we have before us in this passage.

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HITTING THE MISSION FIELD RUNNING – IN HIS SEVENTIES!

(August 12, 2022) Michael Ashcraft brings an encouraging example-for-all story…

Full of youthful energy and untiring passion, German Gastellum wanted a bigger ministry challenge to pour his indefatigable self into – the mission field of Villa del Rosario, Colombia, just across the border from socialism-scourged Venezuela.

Chasing souls with vigour in his 70s
He was a spry 72 then! Yes, you read that right. Seventy-two years old! That’s when he started. Now, he is 75!

‘God gives me the strength through the Holy Spirit,’ he told God Reports at a June Bible conference in Tucson. ‘And the body is healthy. I have been through sicknesses and covid and all that, and I have survived that because of the high defences I have. One, I have spiritual defences; I have prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost working in me, and then I have normal defences and they’re kind of synchronised.’

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SET YOUR HEART ON THINGS ABOVE

(August 5, 2022) Carol Round encourages us to think deeper about life…

‘O Lord,’ I cried out, ‘be with him in this heat. And Lord, if he doesn’t know you personally, please place someone in his path who can lead him to you.’

My prayers were for a man who was striding across the bank’s parking lot toward a large grocery store.

What stirred my heart to pray for him was the heavy backpack he was toting and the sweat pouring down his face. In my heart, I was almost certain he was homeless.

As I drove away from the bank, I thought about the backpack weighing him down in the triple-digit heat. Was he toting all his worldly possessions with him? What was his story? Why was he out in the daytime heat? Where was he headed?

Where our heart leads us
Our hearts can lead us astray when we value worldly things over a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so easy to be seduced by today’s latest gadgets which can distract us from a simple life lived for Him.

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CONFUSED MUSLIM LADY’S ‘CHANCE ENCOUNTERS’ WITH WITNESSING CHRISTIANS

(February 11, 2022) Jalen Jenkins shares a good news story…

Raised in England in a Muslim family, Laila Nassali was bewildered by the number of religions and different doctrines.

‘It was so confusing for me,’ Laila says on her YouTube video channel. ‘God is not a God of confusion, so why are there so many different religions out there? If he’s the one true God, why are there so many religions saying he’s this or he’s that? It looked like a confusing puzzle that I would never be able to solve.’

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Like so many, she gave up on trying to compare, contrast and determine the truth. Instead, she started to live for personal pleasure and be happy-go-lucky like so many fellow university students appeared to be having fun.

Feeling trapped
‘I was literally just living my best life, and that led me to a lot of sin,’ she says. ‘I was trapped in the flesh. I didn’t believe in God, period.’

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GRATEFUL FOR 2021 SUCCESSFUL OUTREACHING, BUT MOVING AHEAD INTO 2022 WITH VISION

(January 05, 2022) David McGuire brings a colourful, picturesque report from Romania…

Those engaged in overseas missions ‘send in’ reports to headquarters back home, to supporting churches, friends or contacts. This is often pages of typed information.

Rather than a lot of text, I thought I’d like Connecting with You readers to know visually what’s been happening here by way of photos. After all, there’s an old saying: A picture is worth a thousand words.

In short, despite ongoing troubles around the world last year we have continued to reach out to children, build houses for gypsies, and meet other needy people… where they’re at here. These following pictures speak for themselves!

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Mesmerised children

Christmas presents joy
Over 2000 presents
, received from four sources of the body of Christ, were distributed giving great joy for so many kids as well as adults.

Some presents left over from home distribution were perfect for kids who beg in supermarket carparks, as below…

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

(November 23, 2021) Maureen McQuillan has a different slant to reaching out…

Not the A Night to Remember movie about the Titanic tragedy, rather an unusual summer evening when Robert had been invited to minister at a European church outside of Melbourne. Maybe I should call this article A Night of Surprises, or… Suffering.

We have great articles this month reminding us to reach out to people, even strangers, and bless them whether they know Jesus or not. And taking opportunities to witness him, the only light in this dark world.

Such reaching out to bless someone closeby – that ‘love thy neighbour’ matter Jesus highlighted (Matthew 22:39) – reminds me of how our Christian neighbours bless us meaningfully. They kindly bring our bins up, even taking them down if see Robert struggling with them.

And I’d like to remind us that reaching out isn’t always about ‘spiritual matters’… it includes being practical and doing so even if it’s inconvenient, embarrassing. So let me share about such an opportunity to bless a stranger… from a different point of view.

Sinister
That particular Sunday evening was many years ago and coming out our frontdoor, my first surprise was seeing Robert looking down at the patio at a strange, cultic-like object, made of Wicca-type sticks! Who had left them? Robert picked them up carefully and suggested we pray again before setting off.

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EFFECTIVE GOD-GIVEN DAYS

(October 25, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share an encouragement…

We had a tear in our eyes when reading a comment by Henry Winkler last month. Renowned for his iconic role as the Fonz in the hit TV series Happy Days, after years as Arthur Fonzarelli, he questioned whether his career effectively used his ‘God-given talents.’

According to www.movieguide.org, having been trained as a classical actor, he had always meant to be a ‘serious’ actor – doing drama, not comedy.

‘Occasionally I would wonder: Was playing the character of Fonzie doing anybody any good? I’d been raised in the Jewish faith and still felt a real peace and closeness to God when I worshipped in a synagogue,’ he said. ‘Was I doing what I was really meant to do? Was I using my God-given talents in the best possible way?

One day an answer came in the most unexpected way. Back in the 80s Henry Winkler had been chairperson of an annual event called the Special Arts Festival held at the Music Center in Los Angeles. Children came there with mental and physical handicaps come to perform in their own amateur theatrics, to show their talents, and exhibit their artwork.

‘Children are there from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and as I walked through the crowds, I’d do a lot of hugging. I’d hold the hand of a little girl in a wheelchair. I’d joke with a young boy without a leg,’ he said. 

‘Fonzie!’
In a  www.guideposts.org 1985 article, Henri Winkler said he remembered one interaction with one of the children that confirmed for him that faith and entertainment were not separate. He wrote: Several years ago there was such a racket that it was amazing I heard the voice at all. ‘Fonzie,’ someone said. A small, shy voice in all the hubbub. ‘Fonzie!

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NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN ENCOUNTER

(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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