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.”
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.
My heart broke. The sadness and hopelessness crept in. The reality of this country, this people, hit me again. This people group is 0.00% evangelized. There are no missionaries. There is no Bible translation in their heart language. Their children will never attend a VBS nor will the parents attend a small group or church service. They have apologetics against Jesus and no one is here to love them enough to speak the truth. They are a minority group here and have laws set against them, not including the reality that the government does not want foreigners interacting with them.
"I will see you in eternity!" Sel says to my team as we leave his house. There is a pit welling in my stomach as I write, knowing that Sel and I will never see each other again unless missionaries faithfully pursue him and his village (where currently there are no missionaries and it is 0% reached and evangelized).
I was 25 before I truly understood that God was not American. Two months later I boarded a plane to North Africa with Cafe 1040. I found Cafe 1040 while fasting in order to seek the Lord’s guidance on my next step of obedience and God providentially bringing me into the life of one of Cafe 1040’s staff.
As I climbed the ladder to the roof of the flat I would spend the next several months of my life in, I realized a gnawing dread was growing inside me. So, with heavy heart and burdened mind I turned to the LORD for understanding. What started as a simple prayer asking for wisdom swiftly turned into a struggle with God over the course and direction of my life.
Recently I had the most incredible opportunity to go visit a village in the middle of the mountains about four hours or so from where I live. It was the most beautiful place, full of orange trees and rolling hills, but the most beautiful part was that this village is made up of mostly believers! Isn't it crazy and so exciting to know there is a village in the middle of nowhere Thailand full of people who are following Jesus!?