“If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up…” (Jeremiah 42:10, ESV)
The Bible is filled with stories of people who were given a choice to follow the Lord’s leading or go their own way. We all remember the story of Jonah and how his choice not to follow God’s call cost him a visit to an uncomfortable place. But we also read of others (and Jonah himself, eventually) who did obey the Lord and were used to draw people to Christ. The passage above tells of a time when the children of Israel were promised that if they stayed in the land of Israel, they would be blessed.
Just last month, I had the privilege of visiting our Central Asia conference centre to participate in the Persian New Year training conference we held for Persian believers and seekers. It was such a blessing to spend some quality time with people at different points of their spiritual journey. For some, it was their very first time to come and hear about who Jesus really is, while some had attended several times previously.
I want to share with you a testimony from a lady at the conference, whom we will call Martha. I had the opportunity to sit with her as she shared the wonderful story of her journey. “Let me start from the beginning,” she said. “Ten years ago, someone gave me a Bible and then I read a few pages and put it away. A few years later, my sister came to know God and she encouraged me to study the Bible to learn more about Jesus. I was then introduced to brother Tony.” She went on to say that she was really looking for a way to leave her unsafe country and she wanted Tony, our Persian ministry leader, to help her do so.
For several months, Tony talked with Martha over the phone, and eventually introduced her to someone in her own city who is a Christian. This person invited her to a small house church where she learned more about the truths of Scripture. She shared, “The change didn’t happen to me quickly. It took a while to change my heart. The house church and meeting the people there impacted my life.”
Eventually, Tony invited her to attend a conference and it was there that she gave her life to Christ! “I have peace in my heart since I came to Jesus. I am so thankful to God. I had a lot of difficulties and problems in my life before, but since I came to God, my life has now changed, and I have peace in my heart. I have found my real Heavenly Father and I am so glad that I feel him supporting me. A lot of people are looking for peace and I am happy now because I have that peace which comes from the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father.”
The most touching part for me was that Martha, who originally wanted to leave her country, now says, “My heart has been changed. I decided to stay in my country and share the gospel with other people.” She said “Yes” to the Holy Spirit calling her to stay in a challenging part of the world, face the possibility of persecution or personal harm, and invest her life in telling others about Jesus. Martha shared, “I believe if I share the gospel with someone, they can share the good news with others, who can share it with others and so on until everyone knows the truth.”
When asked what she is doing now, she replied, “Besides this conference, I continue to learn more about the Bible. I have attended some Discipleship Essentials training classes so that I can bring more people to Christ. Also, I have a friend with whom I am sharing the gospel. She is at the beginning of her journey and wants to know more. She is not a believer yet, but I hope one day to bring her to the Lord. I have brought her and her daughter to this conference. She talked with Tony this week and asked if she could come next time and bring her husband.”
Seeing the deep commitment that this woman has for the cause of Christ challenged me. In Canada, we do not face the same difficulty in openly sharing the gospel. The sacrifice is real for these people. There is real risk to being a Christian in this country. And yet believers like Martha are called to stay and share the gospel so that many more may know the hope of Christ.
This is just one of the many stories that I could tell of the great impact of the ministry of TWR Canada globally, and eternity will tell of more. It is through the generosity of people like you that we can reach thousands, like Martha and her friends, with the good news of hope in Christ through various forms of media, training and technology. Would you join with me by investing your God-given resources for his work through TWR Canada? I am grateful for your partnership in God’s work here on earth.
In service to Christ,
President, TWR Canada