Coming here, I had no real expectation as to what life would exactly be like. I share one bedroom with three other girls on a street where only one person understands our English charades. I live in an up-and-coming city—half-traditional, half-modern –but all full of culture.
It has been a little over a month since I arrived in this city. This month has been filled with many joys, many hardships, and many lessons. Each day, I am reminded of the very reason we are here as I see incense burning, altars to ancestors in every home, and various other rituals to receive good luck.
We have been going through a study called "Experiencing God" that has been teaching me what it looks like abide and seek intimacy with Him instead of only focusing on knowing His will for my life. It has also taught me that He is already at work - we have to believe that since the task is so overwhelming and we cannot fulfill it on our own. This study has been very convicting since most of the time I want to jump ahead to the conclusion instead of letting Him lead me in His timing!
Have you ever considered that God might have an end goal? Sometimes in life it helps to start with the end in mind. When you know the end goal, or the desired outcome, it is often easier to develop a plan that leads you down the right path. If your goal is “financial freedom”, the best way to start toward that goal is to clearly define the end result.
Meet Abigale – A Grad From South Asia
Q: What was your biggest obstacle that you had to overcome in missions before going through Cafe 1040's program?
A: I was lost because there were so many choices. Every agency has their different systems. I was really looking for the focus of the organization. I was careful to look at the mission’s values and what they believe about the Bible. I knew where I was in my faith and I knew what the Bible said and how the Holy Spirit would guide me to right organization. I looked a countless websites, blog posts, went to the Lord in prayer, along with my parents being involved in the process.
My heart will forever be gripped for the people in the 10/40 window. For me they are no longer numbers of unreached statistics on a page. They are names with faces—friends I know and love deeply. They are visibly broken and lost hearts professing in false idols or nothing at all. They are beautiful people that our Father desires to be his own again.
Q: Why did you choose Cafe 1040?
A: “After looking at Cafe 1040, I also explored some other organizations. It was really eye opening for me to see a mentorship is something people actually do. Honestly, the reason I picked Cafe 1040 is I felt heard, and understood and identified with by Cafe, more than other organizations that have similar program.”
From the beginning of the trip, we have been told repeatedly:
Life is not about doing things for God--even good things. It's about seeking and knowing Him.
So I've asked God to strip away my agenda, my life, my plans...I've essentially asked to die to self (we always underestimate prayers of this kind!). And He is answering.
Setting down my chopsticks after yet another dinner of chicken and rice, I looked up to see three rough, wrinkled fingers waving in my face. “Three… three”, she says in her best English. Although we couldn’t communicate verbally, I knew what she meant. She was planning for me and my team to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to go fishing with her family, a daily routine for most people in this remote fishing village. She seemed overwhelmed with excitement to be hosting three American girls in her home for the weekend to experience their culture first hand.
One night our team was praying in our apartment. We took a minute of silence to listen to whatever God was trying to tell us. I started feeling really convicted that I needed to share the gospel with my friend Samir. I had kind of written him off as uninterested. All he ever seemed to want to do is goof off.
What Keeps Us Going In This Work?
As we near the end of another year, it’s always encouraging to look back and see how God has worked. He has worked in the lives of students who are seeking to leverage their lives for the sake of people knowing His name. He has worked among locals across the 10/40 Window, calling them to Himself. We have seen individuals come to know Jesus for the first time. We have seen countless young adults say “yes” to whatever God has planned for them among the nations.
Hear how one of our Southeast Asia students sums up their time with Cafe 1040:
“Knowing how great God's love is for me leads me to a place of surrender.
Whatever you want God, I'll do. I just want to be where you are and do what you call me to do.
I trust that you will continue to give me the strength to obey what you lead me to do as I am motivated by your great love for me.
This is especially important for this line of work. If I falsely believe that God’s love for me is subjective on how many people I share with and lead to Him, then it is very easy for me to get burned out and to feel condemned if I'm not seeing those results I long for.
But if I rest in God's great unchanging unfailing love for me, it empowers and sustains me even when I have to walk through the hardest of circumstances.
Having a right understanding of God’s love is crucial and I am so thankful for the way he has continued to demonstrate his love for me these past few months."
We praise God for what He has accomplished in 2017. It is His work. He simply invites us to be a part of it. And what a privilege that invitation is to accept.
Want to join what God is doing in the 10/40 Window?
"I have been thinking about this boy. I think about him so often. I don't want to see him anymore though because I don't want to miss him again...it hurts too much. I don't think he's real. I have never met him. I don't know his name. I saw him in my dream. I just saw his eyes. When I saw his eyes I could see everything.