For the majority of the Western world, May 26 – June 25 will come and go this year without a second thought. But for over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, these next 30 days mark the most significant time of the year.
Missions is not just a topic that is referenced in specific places in the Bible, but instead is a theme can be found from Genesis all the way to Revelation. “Since creation, God has been interested in redeeming all peoples to himself.” From God’s first command of Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), God has intended for the earth to be filled with worshippers.
Life on the field can be challenging, exhausting, and difficult. In the midst of that, many missionaries feel forgotten by their church and friends back home. The Great Commission is not a solo task. Even the work of individual missionaries is not solo work. We are all called to engage. Sending is the role that some will play. It is the work of a community of believers.
American Dream, Support Raising, Church: these are a few of the many obstacles that young adults experience in going overseas long-term. These were also my obstacles, but when I was 23, I did not know that I had obstacles. In fact, the term “obstacle” was unfamiliar to me. However, through a series of experiences overseas, this term revealed itself to me in a way that I was not prepared for.
Home Stays are one of the most powerful tools our program offers to cultivate a love for Muslims in the hearts of our students. There is an amazing transformation that takes place in your heart when you are given the incredible gift of hospitality at the hands of people most often described in our media as terrorists. The hospitality of this culture is indescribable.
Sam grew up as a self-proclaimed redneck mountain man. In the hills of West Virginia, he was always outside learning about the land. While studying agriculture and irrigation in his college years, Sam was drawn to Cafe 1040's mentorship program and spent a semester in North Africa, where he clearly felt God calling him into missions. But he wasn’t sure where. Or how.
As an organization that desires to see all people groups reached with the gospel of Jesus, we want to empower the next generation of missionaries to go and tell the story of Jesus in some of the least-reached places.
We, along with the rest of the missions world, have noticed a disturbing trend: the general absence of men on the mission field.
Long skirts with tennis shoes, shaggy, unkept hair, khaki cargo pants, don’t act like you’ve never pictured a missionary this way before.
We’ve all fallen prey to this stereotype. For so long, “missions” was just a department in the church where people who can’t fit in with their own culture try out a new one.
In early November we took our students to a city about 3 hours outside of base town. There we met Magdi, who was our tour guide and gracious host. He's an upper caste Hindu, with strong family affiliation. Our first night with Magdi and his family, one of our students was able to share his personal testimony. Unexpectedly Magdi began sharing about dreams he has personally had about JESUS.
Before this trip I always knew this verse and knew what it meant, but I had never truly experienced it. I had never really suffered. But since I have been in South Asia I have lost two people who I deeply loved back at home. I don't know if I could put into words how much losing them hurts and I probably won't ever be able to. But something amazing happened when I was grieving.
Here’s a question society loves to answer for us. Just google it. There are pages of ways to not be forgotten and advice on forming your personal brand. It’s at the heart of most marketing. Buy this product and you will be known for this or work at this company and people will think you are that. As humans, we are created with an innate desire for purpose, for an identity. Throughout life we find it in different places: as a professional, parent, student, athlete.
As I sat across from Zara, my mind was flooded with thoughts. I’m face-to-face, deep in conversation with a young Muslim lady about what it means to follow Christ. My husband and I had moved our lives to the Middle East to have opportunities like this and now, here I was getting the opportunity in a tiny mountain town in the United States.
When I was in Asia, I got hit by two buses. The details are mostly irrelevant, though everyone wants to hear them. A careless bus driver and a poorly timed left-hand turn catapulted my motorbike into the front of an oncoming bus. For a terrifying moment, I ricocheted between two forces strong enough to crush me. Neither of them stopped.
“The sun is always shining, it’s just above the clouds sometimes.” This thought struck home after five days of backpacking through miserable, stormy, overcast weather. The life lessons abounded – no matter how stormy or dark things look, the Son of God is still there, even when we can’t see or feel Him.
At Cafe 1040, we identify five major barriers that keep people from transplanting their lives to international locations for the sake of the gospel. Some people see all five barriers at play in their lives, while others identify with one or two. A guest contributor at Desiring God wrote a fantastic article that identifies one of these barriers and how it can be overcome. She even qualifies it as "the biggest barrier to students going to the mission field."
Remember the really famous 'Hilltop' Coca-Cola ad from the '70s about buying the world a Coke? It was a little before my time, but it's one of the most famous ads of all time. It was also the closing scene of the series Mad Men, if that's more your style. The song in the ad also talks about wanting to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. Definitely from the '70s!