Getting the message

With so many of our mission partners separated from their overseas communities for long months now, there can be concern about how vulnerable believers are managing without discipleship.

How did communities fare after the apostle Paul left them? After he shared good news, taught them, but eventually left. There’s no internet, no Biblegateway, no text messaging to see how they were doing. Just letters he sent once in a blue moon.

In all the work that we currently do, that’s always the nagging question.

Can we do enough for them so they can carry on for themselves when we’re gone? Can we be sure that they will continue to carefully nurse their tender faith? Will they hold steadfast? We give them milk but need to move them on to the spiritual food of meat and potatoes before we can leave… right?

I mean, what happens to the fellow who found faith from a tract carried by the wind? What about the lady who stumbled on a program on the radio and prayed? If no one’s there to follow up, will the cares of the world choke up their faith? Will the roots fail to find deep soil? Isn’t that the danger? That people’s faith might just fizzle out?

Yes, the odds do seemed stacked against them.

There’s a group of women in the refugee camp in South Sudan who caught the whisper of God’s name and believed. They gather to study the word together. Our colleague was there helping them navigate the Scriptures. But in the early days of the pandemic, when international borders started closing, our team had to leave the country.

“I can’t do much being far away,” said one of our colleagues. And she’s right. There’s no internet, no Zoom, no book study… She’s tried contacting them by phone but the connection is poor and only the men, it seem, have phones. They’ve tried their best connecting with them through their husbands. She eventually got a notification on her phone: a picture sent by a church leader.

The women are continuing to meet.

Even when the odds seemed stacked against you, God’s saying, “I’ve got this.” Those text messages from the field are such a great reminder.

Yes, Lord. We got the message… loud and clear. You’ve got this.

— Tohru Inoue