Many times I have reminded fellow gospel messengers of the hope and confidence we have that God will finish His mission. My go-to text is Revelation 7:9 and the beautiful image of the great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language gathering around the throne in worship. The news these days often paints a completely different picture–one punctuated by images of terrorism, the refugee crisis, and so-called Islamic State.
You may wonder, what is the state of global missions and how should we reconcile the tension between these different images? As you read the stories from this Issue of One Ambition, I hope you will be encouraged by glimpses of how God is at work through the refugee crisis. I personally witnessed how God is using the devastation caused by ISIS for His Glory when I travelled to Northern Iraq in December, 2015.
It is also my prayer that your hope will be strengthened as together we endeavor to faithfully serve the one who has promised to remain with us ‘to the very end of the age’ and whose ways we can’t always understand.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
In His Mercy,
Do you hear the movement being played on the instruments of the nations as orchestrated by the Divine Maestro? Listen. It’s playing next door. In his address on Mars Hill, Paul was attempting to share the gospel with the Athenians. In the middle of his address, he made a brief but very important statement related to the sovereign will of God and the nations:
“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26—27).
What is clear from this passage is that the Creator is sovereign over His creation. All the nations of the world have a bloodline running back to Adam and Eve. God is Lord over the history and habitations of His people. The practical reality of these theological truths reveals the outworking of His salvation history among the peoples of the world as they migrate across the planet in search of a home. The book of Revelation reveals the fulfillment of His work as the faces of the nations are observed around the throne (Rev. 7:9).
From a sociological perspective, there are various push-pull factors in play as to why people migrate. Push factors move people out of their homelands. These are often negative and may include war, famine, persecution, poverty, and disasters. Pull factors draw people to other locations. Generally, these are more positive matters such as the hope for a better way of life, material wealth, better education, safety, and freedom. While these factors operate throughout the world, the reality is that a Divine Maestro is working through the good, bad, and ugly so that the nations of the world may find Him.
While it is easy to get lost in the numbers from across the globe, we must remember that each one represents someone created in the Image of God in need of salvation or to serve on mission with Him. In light of the work of the Divine Maestro, the church must ask how she should respond in the age of migration. This pressure point creates many challenges and opportunities.
Not only has the Lord told us to go into the entire world but He is also bringing the world to our neighbourhoods. Some of these represent the world’s unreached people groups. Reaching them with the gospel and partnering with them to carry this good news along their social networks across the globe is an opportunity for mission that the church must recognize and seize.
Used by Permission. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church, J.D. Payne, July 16, 2013, Thomas Nelson. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.
Have you heard what Pioneers is doing to help Syrian refugees?
Pioneers actually has several teams ministering to refugees throughout the Middle East. This infographic shares the results seen by one team that has been caring for refugees since 2013.
If you would like to get involved, we encourage you to pray about supporting our Love Moves Initiative.
In 2016, our mission remains the same: to glorify God among the unreached peoples by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches.
In 2016, we will see this taking place in many different ways.
Sometimes, we will celebrate the redemption of one individual. We will see the grace of God transforming a life through one step of obedience after another — as in the case of Bui, whose story is featured below.
At other times, we will witness a movement. We will observe the mobilization of Christ-centred workers, sharpening their focus on the unreached. Entire people groups that have been without the Word for centuries will receive it at last — as in the case of the Tarahumara, also featured in a video below.
So, at the beginning of 2016, we want to invite you to praise with us. To praise the Lord for His faithfulness displayed through the obedience of His people. To praise Him for His Mission that is going forward; and to thank Him for calling us to take part.
Click below to watch the story of Bui, a young lady who came to faith through the witness of Pioneers missionaries Bui lives in Northern Thailand, which is home to more than 7 million people with little or no access to the gospel. Please pray with us that there would be many more stories like Bui’s.
You can also learn about the Tarahumara, a people group in Mexico that has been unreached for hundreds of years. A team of Mexicans, Americans and Germans are living and working among them, sharing the gospel message in their native tongue. May many more people groups receive the Word and worship the One who loves them.
Victims of the fighting in Syria are fleeing extreme violence and destruction, leaving behind their lives, friends, and possessions. Over 4 million refugees have left Syria at present and more are leaving every day. Migrants desperately cross the Mediterranean from North Africa in hopes of reaching Italy or Spain. Others are being smuggled into Europe through Turkey and Greece. All over the world, people and nations are struggling to cope with the millions who have been displaced by war.
Many of these victims have experienced severe trauma – whether through violence, poor living conditions, persistent stress, or loss of friends and family. Whatever the circumstance, Pioneers is committed to engaging the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of victims of war. Pioneers Canada has missionaries on the ground in this conflicted region, working on Pioneers field teams with fellow missionaries from around the world to meet refugee needs through several high-impact ministries:
1) Women & Children’s Trauma Counseling – A safe place where women and children can express themselves, receive counseling for traumatic events, and and hope.
2) Children’s Sports Program – A sports ministry where children can go to escape the pressures of daily refugee life and simply “be kids.”
3) Arabic Media Outreach – Through tailored media content from our Arabic-language outreach website, we offer messages of hope and Jesus’ love to victims of war in the Arab world.
4) Learning Centre – Refugee children gain the opportunity to have some continuity in their lives by attending classes to learn Arabic, math, and other subjects.
5) Developing Refugee Ministries – Pioneers has teams in strategic areas like Greece, Turkey, and Hungary that are working to meet imminent and specific refugee needs.
6) Mobilizing New Missionaries – We are actively seeking new long term missionaries who are called to minister directly to these refugees in this crucial time.
A Pioneers Canada missionary on the front lines of this crisis wrote, ‘We have witnessed the arrival of refugees fleeing Syria because of ISIS. They are both Christians and Muslims. ‘Abu Mohammed’ fled his small village when ISIS demanded that they commit to a more strict Islamic law, die, or leave. With great sadness in his eyes he told us, “I have seen what my Muslim brothers are doing to each other. What is this faith? There must be more, where is the God of peace?” ’
Please pray for these refugees, that we will be able to a meet the real needs of real families whose lives have been ravaged by war and violence. Pray that they would know the true way of Peace through Jesus.