The God of the Nations

So, count the cost brothers and sisters. This is not an invitation to an easy life. For 2000 years, thousands and thousands of missionaries, the unnamed-no biographies written about them, just unnamed people of whom the world is not worthy, have counted the cost and put their lives at risk and reached the lost with the only message of salvation. -John Piper

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I was talking to a new friend last night about my heart for evangelism, internationals and for missions. She looked at me and said, “You’re heart is there. Go for it.” So simple if I hadn’t just sat through a service that spoke to my heart about letting go of everything and allowing the Lord to lead my life.

You see, I’ve been bouncing around America getting to see some amazing people, but also hoping that the Lord would just open a door to go back on the mission field to the unreached. If that’s in a church in America focusing on women’s discipleship and evangelism, or training students in the UK, or working at a Refugee center, I’m ready. I have been frantically searching online for missions organizations that work with Muslims/Arabs, considered applying for jobs in Seattle and the UK, and I even talked with a Missions team in Popenguine, Senegal. I have been so ready to be doing something for the kingdom that involves internationals. And that’s where the Lord checked my heart.

Mary, surrender it all to me. You can’t manipulate yourself into my will. Trust that I’ll lead you. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to… the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

I feel like this has been a sweet reminder that when I’m being anxious, that is a work of the flesh. It opposes peace. Peace comes from having trust in a trustworthy God. Anxiousness comes from trying to find rest in what I can do, what job I can find, who I can network with. He is trustworthy. I can follow Him and know that He will lead me in His calling for my life. I can have joy knowing that He is faithful not only to me, but to the nations that don’t yet know Him. He is working; He doesn’t need us but He sure does delight in using us.

I wrestled with the Lord a little bit last night thinking, “Okay God, is this burden I have for the nations normal? I feel like a freak. Is this me that made this up? Is this idolatry towards global missions in my heart? Is this your vision that you casted for me that I get to be a part of?”

This morning I shared a little bit about what God did in Senegal this past year at a church in Cleveland, Tennessee. [Y’all, bless my heart. Public speaking without having 3 cups of coffee is so not my thing.] I shared two verses that have been giving me hope. Here’s one of those verses from Revelation 21 about the New Heaven and the New Earth.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.. meaning Heaven isn’t full of people who look and sound like me. It isn’t going to be full of people who speak English. There will be people there who have never heard of Starbucks. There will be people who have seen and experienced very different things on this Earth than westerners. The nations will be represented in Heaven because God created each and every one of them and loves them. There is hope for the unreached, the lost, the hard hearted, the church goer who has played the good Christian role their whole lives without truly having life-altering faith in Christ. There is hope for each and every one. And all of us will be there because Christ died for our sins. We have faith in Him because someone shared the great news with us. Faith comes through hearing. I want challenge you with this, “The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” -Carl F.H. Henry. Are we praying, supporting or going? Are we a part of this? Is the gospel good news to us? Do we know what the gospel is? Is this just our mindset on global missions or do we even apply it to the lost in our area?

One of the sweet things the Lord has reminded me of this morning was that it doesn’t matter where we are physically. The lost are everywhere. And one of the sweet things He showed me was that I live in a country full of internationals. The two bus boys at a restaurant I ate at were from Tanzania and Nigeria. As I was walking out of the restaurant, I hear in a very distinctly Irish accent, “So, have you ever preached in Northern Ireland?” I whipped my head around so fast that I wasn’t quite sure that my body could catch up and exclaimed, “Whaaaaaaaat!?”

Three nations represented in little ol’ Cleveland within 3 minutes. Seriously, the Lord confirmed that He does want me to have a heart for the nations. He wants me praying for the Muslims at the Mosques in Senegal. He wants me supporting people going to the hard to reach nations. But He also has me here for a season too. There are so many different nationalities here that I can’t ignore the need here just because I want to go. I am “going” it just looks different than the Irish countryside I’d hoped for. 😉

The Lord was so sweet this morning to remind me that missions here matters. He just happened to use two bus boys and a group of Irish believers to catch my attention.

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I need You, I want You, I choose You

As we are preparing to depart for our mid-year conference in Europe, my heart is heavy. We’ve never left Senegal before. We’ve never not seen our friends here. What’s it going to be like when we for certain leave in July?

Yesterday Katie and I met with a sweet friend, DiaDia. We have shared the message of hope and love with her numerous times before. But yesterday was different. I know that I am not guaranteed another day in Senegal let alone this world. The sense of urgency was there to tell DiaDia that Jesus is God, He died for our sins, He is the ultimate sacrifice and we must turn to Him in repentance and receive Him as our Savior and Lord to become children of God. My heart longs to see sweet DiaDia come to know the God of the universe.

My heart broke when she walked away still not having received Jesus as her savior. My heart broke when she cried because we were leaving for two weeks. My heart breaks knowing that in a few short months, I might be saying goodbye to DiaDia forever. I trust God with her, but my heart breaks that she is in bondage of self-works and striving for the acceptance of God when it is so freely given.

I am comforted by God’s immense love for me and all the people He is calling to himself. I am thankful that God has promised me an eternity with Him because of what Jesus did, not anything that I can do.

Please, continue praying for Senegal during this election period. Please be praying the Gospel would go forth and for our sweet friends like DiaDia to come to know the amazing grace He has lavished upon us.

“And All the World Will Praise Your Great Name”

After throwing our Halloween party tonight and getting the opportunity to share with 6 Muslim friends about how Jesus has changed my life, I’m resting in the hope that all the world will praise His great name. I am praying that my friends here will know the God of the universe as Lord, King, Comforter, Friend, and Savior of the world. I pray that they will know the full extent of God’s love for them, that Christ meets us where we are and doesn’t need us to clean ourselves up in order to approach Him.

I ask that those of you who have given your lives to God and put your faith and trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross, that you’d listen to this song and praise God for what He’s done in your life. Please pray these lyrics for the six women that came to tonight’s party. Pray that the lost are saved, that they find their way at the proclamation of Christ, that they will know God’s forgiveness, that they would see the sacrifice Jesus made was the only way to God. Pray that healing would occur in these precious women’s lives. Pray for the sick students that couldn’t come tonight. Praise Jesus! 😉