Keeping It Simple | the Reach March 2021

Dear friends,

I recently read a post on the art of leadership. One of the key takeaways for me was this: A good leader breaks down complex goals, issues, problems, etc, and helps people approach them by couching them in simple language or story. Jesus did this for us multiple times in the Gospels. For me the best examples are: the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, and his parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Son in Luke 15.

Next week our church is sending 16 of us to New Mexico on a short-term mission trip to the Navajo Nation. As mission trips go, this one seems fairly simple from the outside: Cut and deliver wood to the Navajo people for fuel and cooking. However, all mission trips have various layers and levels to them, and this one is no exception.

Since we are already considering a return trip to this area, this trip becomes an exploration of future possibilities: When it comes to the issue of poverty, the needs are endless. Do the people there need a well? Do they need more medical aid? Clothing? Other basic necessities?

Our trip is also a team venture: Great friendships can be built on a mission trip, so long as everyone keeps their ego in check, stays flexible and trusts the Lord to lead. This is a crucial facet of a trip.

We are hoping and praying for opportunities to meet and share Christ with the Navajo people. So our adventure is primarily spiritual and relational in nature. And when we open our hearts to love God’s children, we also open the door to whatever kinds of changes he wants to bring about in our own hearts so that we grow in Christ.

Yes, many layers and levels…but let’s do our best to keep things simple.

Here are my three goals for our group on this trip:

  1. Give all the credit to God
  2. Develop a heart for our neighbors across the world
  3. Develop a heart for our neighbors across the street

Give all the credit to God: Like I said, we keep our egos in check and make sure we are doing what we are doing in order to honor and glorify God, not ourselves. Corollary to this idea: Don’t mess up the work that the resident missionaries are already doing. It’s not about you; it’s not about our group. It is about helping cross-cultural workers do what God has called them to do.

Develop a heart for our neighbors across the world: It is easy not to care about people who live far away in another world. And yet the Uyghur people in northwest China are currently enduring a holocaust situation; the country of Myanmar is suffering yet another military junta; Christians around the world are being persecuted now more than ever in the history of the world. Hebrews 13:3 reminds us: Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. At the very least we are to remember and pray for our neighbors far away. And at most we do our best to go to them and love them in the name of Christ.

Develop a heart for our neighbors across the street: My sincere hope in taking people to Haiti, to North Macedonia, to New Mexico, or wherever, is for each of us to see the needs in our own community more clearly upon our return; and more importantly, to create ways to engage ourselves and our churches to meet the various kinds of needs we encounter. And most importantly, that we will help all our neighbors understand Goal #1God gets the credit for our work, for their lives, for salvation, for grace, for all that is good; for without him, his leadership, his Holy Spirit, his movement, we are lifeless and can do nothing. On the other hand, as the Gospel of John says: “… anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all he has done has been done through God” (John 3:21).

May the Lord lift the pandemic and, more importantly, open our eyes to our neighbors across the street and across the world.

Written by Brad, an EPC Pastor

Community Life

World Outreach Workshop

Develop a heart for the Muslim communities in your neighborhood and learn how you can share the love of Christ. Starting April 5, World Outreach is offering a workshop on connecting with your Muslim neighbors. To register or learn more, visit us online.

Pray for the Rohingya

Using these prayer cards, you can pray for the Rohingya in Bangladesh and Myanmar, that these unreached communities may know the love of Christ.

Minister to Rohingya

EPC World Outreach global workers minister and serve the Rohingya population in South Asia. Contributions to Field Project 611 go directly to serving this unreached people group, and showing the love of Christ. 

Bringing Jesus to Work | the Reach February 2021

Dear friends,

We live in a region of the world where less than 1% follow Jesus and hostility towards Christ has grown over the years. When we answered God’s call to move to this area, *Nick and I realized his business background could open doors for great kingdom impact. So, we started businesses. Our most recent business (a software development company) has made a great impact on our local community.  We run an authentic, profit-making business that follows local laws, provides employment in a safe environment, and gives us great opportunities to share Christ’s love. 
 
We’ve been able to create a culture of prayer and faith within the walls of our office through staff family retreats where Biblical lessons are taught, seminars where staff hear the Gospel, and Bible studies with those who are interested. The painstaking work of building a business with a solid reputation has borne fruit by giving us many strong relationships in our community, and we’ve used our profits to sponsor school scholarships, help defray medical expenses, and support a home that rescues girls from human trafficking. 
 
As we’ve followed the Lord here through the years, we have seen a few people come to faith in Jesus, and many others start a journey toward Him. Meiling, one of our staff members, is a good example of the latter.  With our encouragement, he has been reading the Bible for years. We (and other believers in the office) have shared God’s word and answered his many questions. Meiling says he is very close to following Jesus but … his family would oppose him and, in such a group-oriented culture, this is a huge decision. Meiling knows the gospel but isn’t quite ready to fully embrace Jesus because of the societal impact it will have on him. Please pray for Meiling.
 
Despite challenges over the years, God has been faithful and has given us a long-term perspective, and the encouragement of steadfast partners who faithfully give, pray, and visit us. Our business has been much more than a tool to live in our country; it has been a strategic vehicle to live out the principles of God’s kingdom and reach people with the love of Christ. 
 
There are many businesses around the world like ours that are looking for people to serve in this work, bringing joy and hope to places where Jesus is not yet known. Would you consider using your professional skills, along with your desire to see God’s name glorified where He is least known, by joining a business like this short or long term? A great place to start is where you are right now. Take up the Business As Mission challenge of intentionally bringing Jesus to work with you – showing and telling the gospel of God’s kingdom to your colleagues and clients.

*Names changed to for safety and security. 

By World Outreach global workers

Community Life

What is Business as Mission?

Curious what Business as Mission is all about? Read this introductory article on living out the commands of Jesus in your office, whether in your neighborhood or on the field.

Support IBAM Workers

If you would like to support WO IBAM workers as they share their faith and model life as disciples of Christ to their employees and customers as bi-vocational, business professionals, click here. To learn more about their ministry, email World Outreach!

World Outreach IBAM Project

Support World Outreach’s IBAM Project as we develop business services for WO church-planters, mobilize future global workers, and engage EPC business people as active Great Commission participants. Questions about WO’s International Business as Mission project? Contact John, IBAM Coordinator. 

Connect with World Outreach | January 2021

Dear friends,

 
 
 
As we being 2021, EPC World Outreach wanted to let you in on 3 opportunities to connect with us and pursue a call to missions – both abroad and in your own neighborhood.

Missions Cohort 

The EPC WO Missions Cohort is a space dedicated to engaging young adults that are interested in missions; Through mentoring, fellowship, and study together, this cohort pursues God’s leading and discerns the call towards the field. Cierra H., a member of the current Missions Cohort, has found her experience to be invaluable…

Community Life

About Unreached People Groups

To learn more about unreached people groups, visit peoplegroups.org. Their database hosts information about more than 11,000 people groups all over the world, including the resources available to them that share the Love of Christ.

EPC WO Prayer Cards

Click here to view prayer cards for each unreached people group EPC World Outreach is connected to and sharing the Gospel with, via Engage 2025 and ITEN. If you would like these cards to share with your congregation, simply email us and we’d be happy to send some your way.

Reaching the Unreached

A third of the world will live and die without hearing about the love of Christ. Learn more about the task that still remains by watching this short video. Consider sharing it with your friends, family, and congregation too.

Praise & Prayer Directory | December 2020

Dear friends,

 
 
 

Most of what we in EPC World Outreach planned to do in 2020, we didn’t. But everything God planned to do, he did.

After an initial period of postponing events and waiting for things to return to normal, we started scrapping our plans and trying things we had previously dismissed as impossible.  When Covid prevented WO workers in Asia and the Middle East from carrying out vital ministries, they rejoiced to find young Christian brothers and sisters stepping into the void and organizing themselves to deliver food and medicine. The WO candidate assessment and orientation program we were convinced could only be done face-to-face turned out to work pretty well (and in some ways even better) via Zoom. And for the first time candidates from outside the US were able to participate.

When WO trainers could not travel to a Southeast Asian country, they retooled their course to teach remotely with less lecture time and more student-driven learning and application. Within the following month, a third of the participants had already passed on what they had learned to 185 other leaders in their regions. Some of our workers feared a sharp drop-off when small group Bible studies were forced onto video platforms.  Instead, they were thrilled to find that members who had previously been timid and quiet (many of whom were brand-new Christians) seemed liberated by the new format and blossomed into very active and growing participants.

Looking back on 2020, we have so much to thank God for.  We’ve seen in many ways how his plans were better than ours.  Covid distancing forced many of us into more solitude, more quiet reflection, more listening to and enjoying our families.  It wasn’t what we were aiming for in our goals, but God aimed us there anyway, and we discovered how badly we needed it. Our thanks also go out to the financial supporters of our global workers.  Many prognosticators predicted that mission agencies’ contribution income would drop by 25% in 2020.  That was not our experience, as contributions remained steady.

Almost 30 years ago, Janet and I spent our first Christmas overseas, far from familiar surroundings and family. The OM ship, Logos, docked near the town where we were living, and invited us aboard.  There we met Akira, a Japanese Christian who told us about a young countryman of his who had come to know Christ after a childhood fever had left him totally paralyzed.  Limited to communicating by a system of blinks, he dictated poetry to his mother.  Akira paraphrased one of those poems for us, and my Christmas closing to you is his poem of praise to the One whose gifts to us are so often not what we would have chosen, but exactly what we need.

I’ve never sent a Christmas card,
   never said the Name
Of my Lord who gave up heaven
   and to a barnyard came

Yet my heart is filled with praise,
  on the Spirit’s wings it flies.
I have written, “Merry Christmas”
  on the inside of my eyes.

Written by Phil Linton, EPC WO Director

God’s Promise in to His People | November 2020

Dear friends,

 
 

Earlier this month, I received a cryptic text from our national translator, Jake, telling me he would be late for our scheduled call.  But it was only when I talked with him the following day that I discovered the grave danger he had been in. 

While he was at the local university visiting his brother, a medical student, three gunmen from a radical religious group attacked the campus and killed 22 students. Jake, his brother, and a number of other students hid in a basement room.  As a new father, Jake was acutely aware of his wife and child and their vulnerability if something happened to him. But he realized the students around him were trembling with fear and were without hope. So Jake stood up in the room and said he was going to pray for everyone’s safety (not in the usual Islamic way but extemporaneously in his own language). It was after that prayer he sent me his text.

About an hour later they were told that the area was secure.  As they left, many of the students thanked Jake for his prayer for safety. But Jake’s brother was angry at him for praying so boldly and visibly as a Christian. Jake was still shaken when he connected online with me the next day and asked for help to get out of the country. Why were we doing nothing for them except praying?!

I understood Jake’s anguish.  We do cry out to God daily asking him to give our teammates and their children a peaceful life (1 Timothy 2:2).  We pray for peace, but strangely God sometimes does not rescue his people out of dangerous places or conflict zones. Instead he sends them there! Yet He promises to always live with his people. I reminded Jake that God sent our son back into the country after he completed university in the States, and that we too have experienced the pain of losing more than twenty co-workers and friends due to the violence in this country. 

So, after some more talking and prayer online, Jake and I got back to the work at hand, which that day happened to be in Titus. A few days later the in-country team decided to meet weekly with their wives for worship, (alongside of the days the men meet for translation checking). In part they decided to follow the principle in Titus that older women should be teaching the younger women in matters of faith and practice. What a beautiful Bible application immediately in the lives of the translators! We praise God that the team is coming together even more than before in these difficult times.

Field story from two World Outreach workers on a Bible translation team. Names and locations have been changed for their safety. 

 

Community Life

Translation Project

If you would like to support the workers above in their ministry of Bible translation, we encourage you to give by clicking here. When filling out the donation form, make sure to do so indicating the Field Project Fund #296

In Search of the Source - Neil Anderson

For another look into the work of translating the Good News, read In Search of the Source: A First Encounter with God’s Word. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of Neil and Carol Anderson as they work to translate the Word into the language of the Folopa people of Papua New Guinea.

Why Bible Translation?

Curious why translation of the Bible is so important? Watch this two-minute video by Wycliffe to understand how crucial this work is, and the urgent need for it.