Friday, May 27, 2011

Training along the old Silk Roads

Asia and the Middle East are worlds both dark and enchanting. Mysterious in their worship, severe in their beliefs the people who live in this region of the world remain some of the least reached in the world. Although the southern Silk Road has made trade possible in the region for more than 2,000 years, ideas of faith do not trade as easily as spices and silks.

Our family landed in this upside-down world nearly seven months ago buoyed up by excitement and encouragement of you at home. We had God’s call and were sure of His plan. It was our desire and vision to train up nationals from Ch*na to follow Jesus on the Silk Road, making disciples, strategically placing them in city after city all the way Back to Jerusalem. What a vision! How can one, NOT want to be a part of that? Seven months in, this still remains our greatest desire.

The old Silk Roads cut right through the heart of the 10/40 window.

The Back to Jerusalem (BTJ) movement was born out of God’s grace and brutal persecution. The Ch*nese house church has been prepared to face persecution in ways that are only learned by surviving the fire. They can go into places that westerners are not permitted and willingly trade all they have and all they have ever know in exchange for His glory. They are gracious in their losses, heroic in their submission. We eagerly anticipate our first group of students. However, after seven months of fervently praying for that first class, we have found that perhaps our vision was just a little…TOO little. Our plan was to work in one training center here in Chiang Mai and by God’s grace equip up to 60 students a year to follow their hearts, and follow our God into the darkness for His glory. This is a good plan, but sometimes good can be the enemy of great. How much more can the Master of the Universe accomplish with willing lumps of clay?

In the recent weeks, God has opened doors that we could have never foreseen had we not been living on the ground here. Kelly has been asked to teach the e3 curriculum in other BTJ training centers located in Bangkok and NE India. He has also been invited to work with e3 in strategically training nationals in Bangladesh. As such, instead of only working in one training center with students from one country, he will be privileged to be working with 3 BTJ training centers as well as training nationals from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Burma and Thailand. All of these students, in each of these locations, will be trained to reach the unreached living along the southern silk road, setting up future training centers, multiplying church planters and laying the foundation for church planting movements. As we consider the possibilities and implications of this we are so humbled at our own “little-ness.” Even so as I write this update, I can almost hear Jesus whispering through his laughter, “Oh, you of little faith!”

The gospel is being carried forth, light shining out of cracked clay pots…the ultimate proof of Christ’s death and resurrection!

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