Teams. Hosting teams is a big piece of this ministry. It has been great having open borders again for teams to come and invest in the work while also having the opportunity to be further equipped in their own lives. Teams come with three objectives: 1. Engage in the local work as there are many activities and opportunities where more labourers are needed to make things happen, 2. Grow in confidence and competence with who God has created you to be. We get to design specific opportunities so that each person can engage their gift-mix and be further trained. 3. Cross-cultural opportunity provides an opening to develop different perspective, respect and appreciation for others, as well as the opportunity for God to challenge others to go for the sake of the gospel.
This week I was able to receive the report that a young man, we are calling Matt, who met people from a recent team that engaged him with questions about life and faith. From there, Matt accepted an invitation to Late Night Coffee where he was able to sit with a fellow Swedish guy, Peter, and share more about life. A couple of weeks later, Matt and Peter met to talk more. Matt was very appreciative to have people enter his life and listen to him. He was thankful that people seemed to genuinely care for him. Now Matt has started more conversations about who is the Jesus and why do people follow Him. Back in the states, the team members were impacted by how God used a variety of activities to live out their faith in a way that helped them love and serve the neighbourhood. Some of started prayer walks in their neighborhood and others are thinking more creatively how to intentionally engage people on their local university campus.
Remember Barbara? The young woman we are calling Barbara is still interested in Jesus. It has been a gift to get to talk to her in between her work schedule and discuss more why Jesus came and the differences between how different cultures express and practice Christianity. She is a firecracker and I am excited for the chance to see how God is at work in her life. Please continue to pray for her to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. She will spend the next two months in Syria visiting family. I am hoping we find ways to stay connected.
New church start-up. Getting to work with Timothy and Lydia (not their real names), continues to be a gift. There are certainly different challenges for people coming form other lands to integrate well in a new country. Then to encounter Jesus and change religions opens up another level of challenges for them. Getting to study the bible with someone who was once a slave in north west Africa who now follows Jesus is amazing. Having the opportunity to encourage these brothers and sisters and see healthy community form for them is a great gift to be part of.
Another praise report is that my research proposal was accepted by CIU (Columbia International University) and I will begin this project of investigating how migrants have integrated into christian community in Sweden. The research will be mostly based in interviews. I will get to meet and engage many who have moved here over the past ten years and learn from their experiences. The hope is that what we learn could help shape discipleship training, leadership development and how we even think of missions today. Please continue to pray for this process and how God can use it to help us with this work.
Being available is a gift that I do not take lightly. Thank you for continuing to support me in staying on the field full-time so that I can be about His business. Although the generosity of one-time gifts these past few years has kept the account I am responsible in good standing, there is the need for regular-committed giving for the long term work. In order for me to live without roommates (so that I can continue to host teams and others with short-term need) and stay in the work full-time, I will need to raise $2000 in monthly giving. So many of you are already extremely generous in how you support me and I am extremely grateful. But now I ask will you to pray for this need to be met. And if you are discipling someone who needs a missionary to support, will you put us in touch? Or if I can attend a home group or share with your church, just say the word and I can video in!
Celebrate that seeds are being planted. Other seeds are growing. And still other seeds are waiting for their season. But we press on knowing that we do not labor in vain!