I have been in Southeast Asia for almost a month now and have seen such beautiful and confusing things. I expected that much. The surprise has been in the willingness of locals to befriend me and my teammates. We have friends that are children, elderly, single, and married. Friends that are students, workers, skaters (in between jobs?), and retired. People aren't really so different just because of a time zone.
GOD IS SO GOOD! He has already been teaching me so much about how much He loves the people of this nation. He was here way before me and will be here long after me! Most days I can see God all around Basetown--through the smiles of locals, in their loving actions, and in the breath-taking landscapes that my eyes have been graced with!
I am leaving a changed person. I am not the same from months ago, and I had God to thank for putting me through this program. Countless times He has given me peace about my future, and restored His love for the nations through me again and again. This program has fanned the flame on my heart for the people in the 10/40 window and the Muslim culture.
With the semester coming to a close and the end in sight, we have had multiple times of reflection. One of those times happened to be in the Sahara Desert. While we were there, we were instructed to reflect on our time here and to think of a word that summarizes our experience, and then write it in the sand. Overwhelmingly, I believe God was telling me my word was confidence.
Picture this. It's late at night and muffled voices began to enter one by one into a storage room of their neighbor's home. They enter this room held together under a single light and there is a sense of quietness held by each of their breaths as they enter together. Even with such silence, they do not seem scared.What these women, men and children are doing is illegal, but they know that. They've accepted it. In fact, some of their ancestor's greatest victories took place in punishment for what is taking place.
One of the ladies from the house church we were visiting shared that in her husband's village, believers have to meet at 1 a.m., go home at 4 a.m., sleep until 7 a.m., and then be up and making breakfast by 7:30am. This is because when the government walks around on Sunday mornings, everyone will be in their homes acting normal. After the government officials leave they sleep more.
“The focus shifted off of the things God gives me and instead, to learn how to delight in God for who He is and not what He can do for me. It felt so freeing. I experienced what God has for me and who He is. My view of God got so much bigger and I looked around at these people in this hard place. Throughout the entire semester, I thought, You are way bigger than I thought. I focused on His character and His heart. He started changing my heart to more align with his. He gave me desires and dreams. I experienced so much clarity, so much freedom, and very clear next steps.”
Cafe 1040's mission was formed around the reality that there are almost 3 billion people who have little to no access to the gospel. That’s 42% of the entire world’s population and the majority of these people groups all live in one area of the world – the 10/40 Window.
On June 9, we get to join together for the International Day for the Unreached.
This program has been so beneficial in teaching us very practical skills we can use for the rest of our lives. One of my favorite skills they have given us is the ability to not merely survive, but to thrive long-term overseas. So with that in mind, they are striving to remove any and all blades of grass that might lie between us and the hole that would prevent a successful putt. We have been told, “By the time you finish this program, you will be able to be dropped anywhere in the world and thrive.” Well I sure got my practice in that this past week!
It’s one thing to read online thousands of statistics about people across the world. It’s another thing to look that person in the eye as they hand you a meal they have been slaving over for the past three hours. It’s heartbreaking. It’s overwhelming. It’s unbearable. What am I to do in a situation like that? How can I make an eternal difference in three days?
We sang that song together and I got to explain to him the good news and why we believe that the name of Jesus Christ is so beautiful, wonderful, and powerful! It’s so amazing to me that God was already working in Sam’s heart before we even got there, and I know that He’s working in his heart right now.
Q: If you could summarize Cafe 1040 into one sentence, how would you summarize our program?
A: I learned that God has a heart for the nations and God has a heart for me and he wants to use me in His greater plan of spreading his glory to the nations.
Q: What would you tell someone who is considering Cafe 1040?
A: The summer going through the program was the most influential of my life. It completely changed the way I viewed God, the world and myself. I believe whole heartily you will leave a different person and when we allow God the opportunity to hear from Him, He shows up. This experience will change the way you experience your relationship with the Lord.
Ramadan is 30 days set aside every year for Muslims to fast from sun up to sun down. For some places in the world, this could mean over 18 hours of fasting each day. Fasting is one of the five pillars in Islam. It’s a time set aside to focus on prayer and the reading of the Qur’an in an effort to seek God.