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Making Disciples of Jesus | January 2019

Dear friends,

Imagine a country with (officially) zero churches and zero Christian citizens. The country’s laws permit the employment of foreign Christians, but don’t allow those foreign Christians to practice their faith openly. Citizens of the country can hear the gospel via satellite tv and the internet but have no access to what is absolutely essential in most people’s conversion – the opportunity to talk over questions with another person. The only way that can happen is if a non-citizen comes, overcomes the obstacles, and starts talking about peace with God through Jesus.

Several years ago, Jim and Shannon were appointed by World Outreach to go and make disciples of Jesus in such a country. As Jim completed his professional credentials in order to qualify for job openings, he and Shannon began World Outreach’s TAG internship in Detroit. There they met people who were immigrants from their target country. They soon became close friends – so close that when Jim accepted a job offer in their country, those neighbors made sure their relatives back home gave them the warmest of welcomes on arrival.

Over the next several years, Shannon developed deep friendships with the women of this extended family. She talked with them about Jesus, and shared stories about him from the Bible. Last Christmas, Shannon told the women that she had a special gift for each of them – the most valuable thing in her possession – and gave a (smuggled) Bible to each woman of the family, so that they could read the stories themselves. As the women read about this Immanuel revealed in the Bible, they sensed God speaking to them. And, earlier this year, the first of this group took the brave step of putting her faith in Christ. Soon, she was joined by another – two sisters in Christ, captured by His love for them!

Jim and Shannon’s neighbors are like millions of others around the world whose only hope to have their deepest questions answered is that some outsider will come to them. That outsider could be a Filipino Christian housekeeper, a Chinese Christian construction worker, or an EPC engineer/businessman/English teacher. It could be you.

Why not devote 2019 to putting yourself in a posture to hear God’s answer to the question, “What do you want me to do about people without access to the gospel?” Here are a few ways to start: watch this short video about the task that still remains; take the Perspectives course to understand God’s mission, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in world evangelization are today; or join the TAG internship, like Jim and Shannon, to take part in Kingdom living among those that don’t yet know the love of Christ. Make 2019 the year you find your part in declaring God’s glory among people walking in darkness!

Community Life

Perspectives

Learn about God’s mission, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in the world of evangelization are today – and how you can be a part of God’s story as he redeems people from the nations to himself.

T.A.G.

TAG is a 10 month missional community of believers living among Muslims in Dearborn, MI. Together, you will immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of your Dearborn neighborhood, learn how to build bridges with others, share Jesus stories, and start a house church. TAG’s goal is to equip you with the skills necessary to take the gospel of Christ to places where the church does not yet exist. 

Reaching the Unreached

There are 3 billion people who will live and die without hearing about the love of Christ; that’s 40% of the world. Learn more about the task that still remains by watching this short video. Consider sharing it with your friends, family, and congregation too.

The Reach with World Outreach | December 2018

Dear friends,

Are missionaries really necessary today? After all, as one YouTube video puts it: “Since the world is becoming a global village, Christmas is now celebrated in every part of the world!” But the worldwide spread of Christmas paraphernalia actually does little to communicate the Christmas message. As one of our WO colleagues writes:

“The only signs of Christmas in our town are the made-in-China, blow-up Santas that appear for sale in the street market in December (they’re cheap novelties that puzzle our neighbors), and the signs in some restaurant windows for Noel Specials.  If they notice it at all, our neighbors assume Christmas is some kind of Western New Year’s celebration. When I walk around my neighborhood on Christmas morning, there is nothing to indicate this day is different from any other work day, and certainly nothing that sets it apart as the day God was born into our world to save it.”

Even here at home, cultural unease often limits us to sharing the Christmas message only with people who already know it.  WO global worker, Susan, cries a little thinking back to the day she moved into a predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Detroit, to participate in World Outreach’s 9-month TAG (Training Apprentices to Go) internship. She remembers looking at the robed and veiled women in the park across the street and thinking, “They are so different. How could I ever become friends with a Muslim? I wouldn’t know where to start.” When asked why she’s crying, she says, “Because now those same veiled women are such dear friends, that I can hardly bear to leave them!”

As Susan pushed herself to spend time with Muslims, they changed from a scary, nameless crowd to distinct individuals she could love. The same thing happened to a small group of EPC folks who attended an Encounter World Outreach event to investigate missionary service with WO. One evening, the participants timidly went out Christmas caroling in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. They came back full of joy, and a Muslim neighbor posted this on Facebook:

“Hello Admin, perhaps a change of vibes would be appropriate with all the animosity going on lately. This video was captured at my humble home. It features a group of wonderful carolers spreading the joy of the holiday spirit. My family and I invited them in for some tea, and a fresh batch of cookies. An extraordinary exchange of love and respect took place. Conversing Muslim-Christian pairs filled the room. The difference of religion was overcome by a more common understanding, HUMANITY! I hope this sheds even the smallest glimpse of light in these dark times. A special thank you to everyone that was caroling that night. Thank you for stopping at our house. Thank you for spreading the love. Thank you for your presence. May Allah bless!”

Christmas reminds us that God so loved us that he came to us with good news, and that being a Christ-follower means doing the same. Next summer, WO is inviting up to 100 EPC high school students to spend a week with Muslims in Detroit, sharing good news with love and respect. It can be a life-changing experience. For information on how students from your church can be part of the 100, visit us at www.epcwo.org/summermissionjam.

Grace and peace to you, this Christmas season.

Phil Linton
EPC World Outreach Director

Summer Mission Jam

An entry mission and outreach equipping conference for High School youth groups among Muslim peoples, alongside a partnering EPC church. Taking place July 8-13, 2019 in Hamtramck, MI

Cross Conference

Cross Conference is a global missions conference for college students, focused on the reaching the unreached peoples of the world. If you are attending Cross Conference, EPC World Outreach wants to connect with you or your college group. Let us know if you plan on coming!

Urbana

This global missions conference is a great place for your college students to learn more about mission sand discern God’s call for his/her life. If you plan on going to Urbana, we invite you to join EPC World Outreach for a free lunch on Saturday, December 29th! We’d love to share with you about our missions opportunities.