THERE ARE LESS THAN 5 KNOWN FOLLOWERS OF JESUS IN OUR NORTH AFRICAN CITY OF 200,000 PEOPLE.
In this environment and reality, our students are truly learning what it looks like to take the story of Jesus where it has never been told.
Part of our overseas mentorship trains young adults how to have their own worship gatherings in closed countries as it is illegal for Christians to gather and worship in many parts of the world, including our bases in North Africa and Southeast Asia.
We want to teach our students how to sustain their faith in community and in a closed country, so that when they do go long-term, they will have experience in how to do this.
FOR THE PAST MONTH, THE STUDENTS CALL THESE GATHERINGS PARTIES.
They make sure to walk only in two’s or three’s and to stagger their arrival and departure times from where we meet. They also learn how to talk to each other using safe language as well as how to sing without making too much noise–usually in a whisper.
We teach them to take their cell phones out of the room, to close the blinds, and to cover up the doors with blankets or with a mattress. They gather around a table and listen to a podcast softly playing or one or two students will read from the Bible.
We tell them to have card and board games on the table in case someone comes in and asks, “What’s going on?” We call our worship gatherings parties and so we want it to look like a party.
It can be hard to re-train our minds to connect with God in a way so different from what we’re used to. But, it’s powerful. These students are learning how to seek God together.
These experiences offer an insight into what life could look like to be the one to take the story of Jesus where it has never been told. This is why we do what we do. Few people may ever know, but we’re okay being in the secret.