CAM 03: Phnom Pehn, Cambodia

CAM 03: 3-11 Sept 2016

My team of five other members and myself landed in Cambodia on the 3rd of September 2016, which marked the beginning of a series of events that would leave an indelible mark on many of our hearts. Upon arrival, my team and I quickly took in the sights and smells of this new land before meeting the core leaders of a local church that Cornerstone is connected to for a prayer meeting. The prayer meeting saw a team of Cambodians eager to see God rain down upon their land. This got me excited about what would happen over the next few days; I was certainly not disappointed!

 

Our team of six people broke into two groups and went to different areas over the next few days; half of the team went to Solomon Independent School, and the other half went to visit Daughters of Cambodia.

 

Stella Kwan, a teacher on the Singapore team, was part of the group that went to Solomon Independent School. For three days, the team taught the students and trained the teachers. They also introduced Physical Education (PE) to them, which brought great delight to the little children. Being a seasoned school teacher herself, Stella was able to bring valuable insight as to how the school could be better structured so as to provide greater quality education to the children. While her contributions to the school were evident, Stella insisted that she was at the receiving end of the blessing. She recounts that “Phnom Penh has been a place of blessing; from having a cup of coffee while looking out into the green field, to hearing the sound of children strolling into class with their energized smiles.  The children in Solomon Independent School are so naive and innocent, and are a grateful lot. They exuded a sense of contentment that was unfortunately uncommon in many Singaporean kids. I really enjoyed my time there with God in the midst of nature and also with the people of Cambodia, especially the children.”

 

While basking in the wonderful time shared with the children, the seasoned teacher was also able to quickly recognise the needs of the school and how Cornerstone Singapore could better assist them in the coming days. Stella noted that “while the Solomon International School has lots to offer, there seem to be many apparent and great needs too. For instance, while the teachers are doing their best to educate the students, they received little training, lacking the required expertise and knowledge as to how best to nurture the children using the existing resources. The brief time that I had with them made me aware of the need for a trainer to be on site during their school term for an extended period of time so as to better assist and support them in their teaching.” The work done in the past few days had undoubtedly improved the standard of teaching but we believe that more can be done and are excited to see how God will use this school in the coming days to touch the community.

 

Meanwhile, the other team visited Daughters of Cambodia, a ministry devoted to supporting those trapped in the sex industry of Cambodia, empowering them to walk free and start a new life. Those who were saved from the sex industry were given employment opportunities in their non profit businesses. Some of which included working in a factory that designed bags and handcrafts, and a café. I had the privilege of being a part of this team and to say the very least, it was one of the absolute highlights of the trip. For about four hours at a time, we would sit around and have the staff and volunteers come in one after another to share their prayer needs and praying with them. During the brief 10-15 minutes we had with each of them, Holy Spirit led the prayer, allowing us to minister to their hearts.

 

I was so excited when I heard what we were going to do because I have always wanted to release the heart of God to people accurately and see God move in the lives of the people around me on a consistent basis. However, when we finally got down to doing so, I had many fears about how it will turn out. And for as long as I felt the pressure to hear accurately from God, I simply could not do so, and it really frustrated me. Thankfully, I was soon reminded that the whole purpose of this ministry time is not about me releasing accurate words of prophecy, but about the people being ministered to and touched by the love of God. I have learned that at the end of the day, the goal is love and not performance.

 

That reminder radically changed my entire approach to the ministry time. Instead of focusing on receiving a word, my focus shifted to loving and caring for each person the same way I thought Jesus would. I began giving my fullest attention to each person I was talking to, and prayed for each of them by name. I realized that as when I chose to love and fully care for the person in front of me, the words naturally flowed. It seemed as though the temperature of love that I set in my heart was an ideal condition for God to put a small piece His heart in mine. Soon, I witnessed God touching the hearts of the people we were ministering to and healing their bodies.

 

One lady was healed from pain that she experienced in her ears for two weeks! Before prayer, she said that her ears would hurt whenever the wind brushed against her and that she would feel light headed and weak. After the prayer, she joyfully remarked that the pain had completely left her, no longer feeling light headed but she felt strength come into her! Seeing her face light up with such joy when she realized what God had done for her made me so happy! Another staff excitedly exclaimed that he got healed of a pain in his back that had been there for a long time. Many of the girls we ministered to shared with tears in their eyes about how the words that the team released spoke so much to them as it was the very thing their hearts were worried and concerned about. This experience taught me that love is really the foundation of the prophetic ministry; when we love, we will be able to move in sync with the God who loves, releasing the heart and power of God to the people around.

 

Jasmin Zhan, who was also part of the team who went to the Daughters of Cambodia ministry, felt that the time spent there was the most significant part of the trip for her. She recounted that “we prophesied, released inner healing, deliverance and the beauty of Jesus into their hearts. I was impacted by the hunger of the people who desired to hear from God with such simple hearts. It was an open heaven experience for me where impressions and visions from God just came one after another for His beloved children. I could not hold back the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I released God’s heart. I am thankful to God for being able to be His vessel that channels His love to my fellow brothers and sisters. This trip has taught me to put my confidence in God and not be afraid to walk in the supernatural.

 

I am glad to share that through this trip, Jasmin was not the only one who had overcome the fear of walking in the supernatural. In fact, over 40 missionaries were trained and equipped to walk in the prophetic and to release the supernatural in their various spheres of life. My team and I spent the rest of our time in Cambodia with a group of missionaries from various ministries as we sat under the teaching of Pastor Dian who gave an in depth lesson about the prophetic and spiritual warfare. Through several sessions, many learnt about hearing God consistently and releasing the heart and power of God to the people around. The missionaries in attendance shared how grateful they were to have attended the training, and one of the attendees remarked that it was a wonderful, powerful and helpful session. During one of the sessions, all the participants were randomly grouped with people that they did not know and were asked to prophesy over each other. Many, including myself, received words of encouragement and were touched by God’s love. So many of us left the few days of training not just encouraged, but further equipped to do the work of the ministry.

 

We ended the trip back where we started – with the local church where Pastor Dian preached at the main service, where once again, many were encouraged and strengthened by the word.

 

Those few days in Cambodia seemed to have done so much in our hearts; learning more about the prophetic, breaking fear and other limitations that previously held many of us back from stepping out.  There is so much that could be shared but suffice to say, I am so thankful to have gone for the trip and am tremendously blessed to have experienced and learnt what I did in my brief time there. Once again, what started as a desire bless the land of Cambodia turned out to have blessed me tremendously instead. God is just so good!

 

Compiled & written by

Cheryl Lek, Cambodia

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Dinner with our COVP missionary, Josephine!

 

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Training with missionaries in Cambodia

 

 

 

 

The Practice of Missions

 

 

Missions is an exciting activity full of new things to learn.  In this section we will consider some attitudes and practices that will help us when it comes to learning and succeeding on our mission trips and beyond.

 

 

A)  Cross-cultural Wisdom

 

When ministering in a cross-cultural context, a great deal of wisdom is needed.  Always keep in mind that you are not in your homeland but will see new and surprising things.  Sensitivity when responding to these situations is of the utmost importance.  Be especially prepared for surprises if you are heading to a nation that is considerably less developed than your own.  Do not expect all countries to be as nice and organized as your own.  We must learn to flexible.  Remember, you are visiting their home, and as such you must be willing to adapt and change.  A few areas where this flexibility are needed are the following:  :

 

1)  Scheduling

 

We must learn to be flexible when it comes to scheduling and programs.  Coming from a first-world, highly organized world, we all expect things to be done in a certain way. However, on the mission field, you must be ready to change plans at a moment’s notice.  It is important and appropriate for us to thoroughly plan our trip, but we must be willing to adjust these plans to fit the situations that will arise while we are travelling.

 

2)  Food and living conditions

 

We also must realize that the food and living conditions may not be up to our usual standard.

 

Matthew 6:25.  Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Jesus gives us a good reminder that our lives are not about what we eat or drink, what we wear or where we live.  We may have to put up with inconveniences while on the mission field, but never allow a complaining or grumbling spirit to take place in your heart.  Having to sleep on an uncomfortable bed, bathing in difficult conditions, and eating food we don’t like for a few days is an extremely small price to pay for the privilege of sharing God’s love with others.

 

3)  Mindsets and habits

 

Be careful to never insult the country or culture that you are visiting.  Though we may see things that we don’t think are right, realize that there are things you don’t understand and be slow to criticize.  You may make a comment in jest or without thinking, without any intent to insult someone, yet it could really hurt the people who hear it.

 

4)  Comparisons

 

Also, have wisdom when talking about how your country compares to the country you are visiting.  Don’t point out everything that the country you are in is missing, compared to your own.  Don’t remind the people you are visiting of everything they are missing, but find ways to compliment what they have.

 

5)  Language

 

Finally, be considerate of the fact that others may be comfortable conversing among themselves in languages that you don’t understand.  Don’t expect the locals to always converse in a language you understand for your sake.  In many other countries, people are not at all comfortable speaking in English, and will speak in their native tongue whenever possible.  Don’t expect a group of people to change their tongue for you.

B)  Humility

 

Humility is perhaps the key in cross-cultural missions and sensitivity, so this point works closely with the last.  When on the mission field, always keep the mindset of humility.

 

Philippians 2:3-5.  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.


We are commanded in verse three to esteem, or consider, others better than ourselves.  In other words, we should never think of ourselves as superior to others, but must always have the attitude and mindset where we consider them better than ourselves.  This same mind was in Christ Jesus.  Though He was from heaven, He became a man and suffered in our place.

 

This humble mindset is so important in missions.  It is absolutely vital that we don’t think the fact that we come from a more advanced country automatically means we know more than the people with which we are working.  We must have a humble mindset and recognize we do not know everything.

 

Even in situations where we do see something in a local church or place that we know is wrong and we feel we can help fix it, we should come in with an attitude of humility, realizing there may be certain situations and cultural backgrounds that we can’t possibly be aware of.  Rather than telling the pastors or leaders what they must change, we should humbly offer suggestions (and even do this sparingly).  Of course, the longer you have been in a place and the more you know it’s culture, the more confident you can be in your assessments.  But on a short-term mission trip, especially if it’s your first, second, or third time visiting a country, there will be countless things you’re unaware of that will affect your analysis of a situation.

 

One other great benefit of humility in missions is that humility will help bring about unity within our own mission team.  If we each consider our own mission team members better than ourselves and put their needs and desires above our own, we will find blessed unity and fruitfulness on our trips.

 

C)  Continuing Missions

 

One more aspect of missions we will consider is this; after your short-term mission trip is over, you will be back in your home once again!  And even as we prepare ourselves to go, we should also prepare that the trip will be finishing.

 

The truth is that on your trip you will likely see many things that shock you.  You may see people living in conditions you never imagined possible, things that previously you had only seen on TV.  And it’s possible that when you then go back to the “real world,” you will have trouble adjusting your expectations.

 

Thing to remember is this; although you will have been profoundly changed by your experience on your mission trip, don’t expect that everything around you also will have changed.  Keep correct expectations.  You should live as a changed person, but don’t try to force your new views or insight on to others.

 

If you are profoundly touched and changed on your mission trip, rather than growing discouraged when you get back home and realize that others don’t see things how you do, look for constructive ways that you can help the people in the nation you have been to.  Talk to your leaders about ways that you can continue to be a blessing to that nation, and when the opportunity arises look for chances to return there again!  Don’t give up and decide to turn away when you return, but look for ways that you can take the change that has taken place inside of you and channel it into good for others.

 

Though you are going only on a short-term mission trip, remember that mission is a continual process!  Throughout our lives we should be intricately involved in missions, through going, praying, and giving.  Look for ways to continually be involved in missions, and you can be a blessing to the nations.

 


“Dos” and “Don’ts” on the Mission Field

 

Ø  Do pray daily in preparation for your trip, and spend time in prayer each day while on the missions trip.  Also, look for ways to join other team members in daily devotions while on the field.

 

Ø  Do be prepared to give your testimony at all times.  On the mission field the unexpected often happens, so you should be ready to share and speak at a moment’s notice.

 

Ø  Don’t give money directly to any of the locals on the mission field.  In certain circumstances they may ask and their need may seem overwhelming, but let them know you are not able to give them on the spot.  If they have a legitimate need and you would like to help, let them know you will discuss with your team leader and pastors and will see if any help can be arranged, but don’t make any promises.  Giving money directly before all considerations are made can cause many problems in the place you are visiting (jealousy, dependency, deceit, etc.).

 

Ø  Do be careful about giving your contact information away.  If you want to exchange email addresses or Facebook accounts with people you have come to know, that is fine, but don’t quickly give away things like your phone number and physical address to people you do not know well (or even your email address to people you don’t know at all).  Only give away such details if you are sure the person is approved by the local pastor and your team leader.

 

Ø  Don’t criticize the culture of the nation you are visiting.  Even making jokes that seem innocent to you can greatly harm the feelings of those you are visiting.

 

Ø  Do remember that the people you are visiting are hosting you, and as such you should be as gracious with them as possible, always grateful for what they are doing.

 

Ø  Do try to eat whatever food is given to you, and never complain about the food.

 

Ø  Do exercise caution in drinking the water.  In most cases, it’s a good idea to only drink bottled drinks or drinks where the water has been boiled.

The Tool of Missions

 

 

 

Part 2 of  3 of Cornerstone Couriers Missions Training

 

 


When God sends us out to do missions, He never does so unequipped.  Just like He equipped Moses when he sent him to deliver his people from Egyptian slavery, so He will equip us when we go out in His will.  Those whom God calls He provides with the tools we need for success.

 

Having realized this, we must also acknowledge our part in this equipping process.  God often equips us through our preparation.  We have a part to in accepting His equipping process, and making ourselves fit for the Master’s use.  He equips those He sends, but He chooses those who have done their part in preparing for His call.

 

There are several tools that we use when doing missions.  In this lesson we will focus on the practical aspects of three of these tools: evangelism, praying for people, and the gifts of the Spirit.

 

 

A)  Evangelism

 

Evangelism is a vital tool when doing missions.  The whole point of missions is to “make disciples”, and the first step in making disciples is to lead people to salvation.

 

1)  How do I share the Gospel?

Romans 1:16.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

 

There is no hard and fast rule on how to share the gospel. There is only one Gospel but there are many ways we can deliver it. There are countless tools available to equip you in sharing the gospel, such as the four spiritual laws, the four Roman verses, various pictorial diagrams and more. In this segment, we will look at two ways to share the gospel:

 

a)      Personal Testimony

 

Giving your personal testimony is one of the best ways to share the gospel. It is personal and resonates within your being, giving your sharing greater depth and exuberating more obvious passion.

 

However, there are some points to bear in mind when sharing your personal testimony:

 

i) KISS – keep it short and sweet. The best way to keep it as concise as possible is to prepare it in advance. Your testimony is the handiest form of evangelism. Preparing and rehearsing it in advance helps you to keep focus on the main points and not blabber on and on when you’re giving your actual testimony.

 

ii) Don’t spend too much time on telling your audience how bad you were in the past. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” Yes, we get it. You were a wretch. You don’t need to divulge too much detail on what you did, just give me the gist of it.

 

iii) Stay focused on the change that God did in your life.  For example, tell how He transformed your life. After all, this is the most important part.

 

b)      4 Roman Verses

 

The four verses from Romans below aptly show that we are a sinner doomed to hell, but that through faith in Christ we can have eternal life. It is a very simple tool, and easy to remember.

 

i)        Romans 3:23For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

ii)      Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

iii)    Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

iv)    Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”

 

After sharing the gospel, what is next? The ultimate goal is to give them the opportunity to respond to what they have just had and receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives. In the next segment, we will look at how to lead someone to receive Christ.

 

2)  Leading someone to Jesus Christ

 

After sharing the gospel, we need to pop the question on whether the person would like to receive Jesus Christ into his life.

 

If he said “Yes,” what should we do? Simple, lead them in the sinners’ prayer. The sinners’ prayer comes in any form and length. However, it should contain the following points:

 

i)        Acknowledge that you are sinner.

ii)      Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead for you.

iii)    Confess that Jesus is the Lord of your life.

 

That’s right, it’s as simple as ABC. After you’ve led them in the sinners’ prayer, pray for them and ask God to seal the decision.

 

 

B)  Praying for People

 

Another important task you will likely have on your mission trip is the opportunity to pray for and with others.  You will be able to lift other’s needs and requests to God and will often see Him answer in extraordinary ways.

 

James 5:16.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

As we pray for others we will see the hand of God move.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman has tremendous power!  Praying for one another is a vital way of showing real love, care, and concern for the person.

 

Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the seven foundational doctrines of the Church:

 

Hebrews 6:1-2.  Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

The laying on of hands is a foundational doctrine and thus is something that all believers should be able to function in.  When we lay hands on others we are believing God to impart some spiritual blessing to the person.

 

We will now consider several tips when praying for others and laying on of hands:

 

1)  In general, it is best to place your hand on the head of the person you are praying for.  Especially if you are praying for someone of the opposite gender, it is best to stay on the forehead.  In appropriate situations when the person has a specific sickness, you may want to touch the part of their body that has the illness when praying for healing.

 

2)  Pray at a reasonable volume.  If it is a noisy meeting you may at times feel to shout, but be sensitive.  You don’t want to pray so loud that you scare or intimidate the person to such a degree that they cannot receive the blessing God wants to give them.

 

3)  Never push others while praying for them, hoping they fall to the floor.  You should lay your hands gently on the person.  Remember, pushing someone to the floor does NOT mean you are more spiritual or full of the power of the Spirit.  If someone is slain in the Spirit that is fine, but it should never be because of pushing.

 

4)  Don’t rush into your prayers if you’re unsure of what to say.  Spend a moment or two in silent prayer with the person, or praying in tongues.  Then when you feel a prompting of what to pray for, proceed.  Don’t try to go through people “assembly-line” style, but genuinely bring the need of each person to the throne of grace.

 

5)  If you feel a word of encouragement or edification for the person, do be bold to share it.  However, don’t feel the need to work something up and have a word for each person – if you feel it is from the Holy Spirit share it, but don’t create it on your own.  Also, make sure you don’t give any major words of instruction or correction without speaking to the person’s pastor first and getting their confirmation.

 

5)  Above all, prepare beforehand.  Pray for long periods before and during your mission trip so that when you have the opportunity to pray for others, you have something to give.

 

C)  Ministering in the Gifts of the Spirit

The last tool we will consider in this section is the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Those believers who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit can also receive the gifts of the Spirit, and these gifts are invaluable while doing missions.

 

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are vital, for they take our ministry out of the realm of the natural and plausible into the realm of the supernatural and impossible.  In missions, we often see that it is when the gifts are present that the breakthrough comes and people respond to God.  The gifts are never an end in themselves, but are a means to the end of getting people to draw closer to God.

 

Spend time before your mission trip in prayer, asking God that you would be able to flow in the gifts of the Spirit.  Ask Him if there are any one, two, or three gifts that He specifically wants to give you.  Then seek those gifts earnestly.

 

It takes a boldness to believe God for these gifts.  Don’t be timid and keep to yourself, but step out in faith and act on the promptings that the Holy Spirit places inside of you.

 

The gifts of the Spirit are listed for us by the Apostle Paul:

 

1 Corinthians 12:8-10.  for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

 

The nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, with brief explanation of each, are the following:

 

1)  Word of Wisdom

This is a specific word from God that gives instruction on what is the right decision for a specific circumstance or situation.

 

2)  Word of Knowledge

This gift reveals supernaturally to us an event from the past, present, or future.  It gives us knowledge of something we would not have otherwise had.

 

3)  Discerning of spirits

The gift of the discerning of spirits used to determine the source or origin of a specific spiritual manifestation.  The person with the gift can identify whether the manifestation is coming from God, the flesh, or the enemy.

 

 

4)  Faith

The gift of faith is the impartation of God to accomplish His purposes in a specific situation or circumstance.  All born-again believers have the fruit of faith, as it is faith in Christ that brings us salvation.  The gift of faith is something different, however, and is always given for a specific reason, to bring about something we could not do through natural means.

 

5)  Gifts of healing

This gift is the anointing of God to heal every manner of disease, ailment and sickness that exists.  Notice it is plural – “gifts” of healing.  There are particular gifts given to heal particular sicknesses and diseases.

 

6)  Working of miracles

The gift of bringing miracles to any aspect of someone’s life that needs a manifestation of God’s supernatural power.  This is limited only to the realms of healing.

 

7)  Prophecy

The gift of prophecy is speaking for God and declaring His message, and is a divinely inspired utterance.  It is a word from God usually given in the language of the congregation.  This is a vital gift that we are to earnestly desire (1 Corinthians 14:1).  Having the gift of prophecy does not mean you have the office of a prophet, but it does mean you have the ability to speak for God.  The three basic purposes of the gift of prophecy are edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Corinthians 14:3).

 

8)  Tongues

The gift of tongues is used to bring edification to the church.  It is distinct from our personal prayer language of speaking in tongues, that comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Our personal speaking in tongues is for our own edification, whereas the gift of tongues brings a message to the church.  The gift of tongues is a Holy Spirit-birthed message given in a language that is foreign to the speaker.  This gift is almost always followed by the next gift, the interpretation of tongues (except in situations where the speaker speaks in a language he does not know but the congregation does know).

 

9)  Interpretation of tongues

The gift of interpretation of tongues is the supernatural understanding and interpretation of a message given in a foreign tongue.  The interpretation of tongues brings explanation to the gift of tongues.

The Cry of Missions

Part 1 of  3 of Cornerstone Couriers Missions Training


Missions is a mandate from God and is very much on His heart.  God desires all men in every nation to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), and wants His people to carry His message of salvation to everyone, everywhere.  As His followers we must break out of our comfort zones and carry His message to the world.

 

Missions can be defined as joyfully advancing God’s Kingdom by making disciples of all nations until Jesus returns.  Traditionally, missions has been understood as being spreading the Gospel outside of our home nation, in a cross-cultural context.  That will be the focus of this teaching, though of course we are all called to live our lives on a Gospel mission in our own country even before we go overseas.

 

If missions is the heart cry of God, it should be our cry as well.  The nations are waiting to be saved, so let’s ask God to open our ears to their heart cry.

 

 

A)  The Great Commission

We see how missions is the cry of God in the very last instructions Jesus gave His disciples before ascending to heaven.  These instructions are known as the Great Commission:

 

Matthew 28:19-20.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

Jesus told His followers to make disciples of “all the nations.”  They were not only to focus on their surrounding area but the nations of the world.  Remember, this was the very last instruction Jesus gave to them, so it must be of utmost importance.  He desires to see the nations of the world saved.

 

During this same set of instructions Jesus also told the disciples to be His witnesses in, “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).”  Jerusalem was the disciples’ immediate area, Judea and Samaria were the areas next to them, and the ends of the earth were the foreign nations all around.  Jesus was concerned with each of these places.  And for the disciples to obey Jesus’ command, they needed to be concerned with them as well.

 

In our modern context, this means that all disciples of Christ should be actively involved in foreign missions.  A few will be called to move overseas for a long-term commitment; many will be called to travel overseas on a short-term basis; and all are called to support overseas’ missions and the advancement of the Gospel.  All disciples should constantly evaluate how they can spend their time, prayers, and finances to support overseas missions.  We must reach our Jerusalem, but we can’t be so focused on Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria that we forget the “ends of the earth.”  A faithful disciple of Christ will be impacting all of these areas.  It is the only way to obey the Great Commission.

 

This call and desire for the nations has always been in the heart of God and can be seen even in the life of Abraham, the father of our faith (Romans 4:16).

 

Genesis 22:18.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.

 

God always desired to bless all the nations of the world through Abraham and his seed.  As Christians, we are now the seed of Abraham and the chosen people, and have inherited this call to bless all the nations.  Missions is one of the primary ways in which we do this.

 

 

B)  Every Tribe, Tongue, and Language

 

Heaven is not going to be a monochromatic place, dominated by just one, two, or three races.  It is going to be full of people from every tribe, every tongue, and every language!

 

Revelation 5:9.  And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Those in heaven sing of how God has redeemed them from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.  The Greek word for nation here is “ethnos”.  This word does not speak primarily of political nations (of which there are 196 at latest count), but rather of ethnic groups, or individual language groups (of which there are thousands).  Thus from each of the thousands of ethnic groups that exist in the world, God will redeem a people for Himself.

Jesus also spoke of the Gospel going to all the “ethnos” of the world, shortly before He was crucified.

 

Matthew 24:14.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Jesus declared that before He could come back and the end would come, the Gospel must go to every ethnic group in the world.  Thus it behoves us as His followers to find ways to spread the Gospel to every unreached people group.  This is a vital function of missions.

 

What we must realize is that Jesus died for every person in every tribe and desires all to come to His knowledge.  We sometimes think that certain nations or groups of people are meant to be Christians, and others are not.  But this is not so!  No matter the race, language, skin color, or cultural characteristics, God wants every tribe to be full of people following Him.

 

In heaven, there will be those from every tribe worshipping God.  He will be victorious and His Gospel will reach all the nations of the world.  The only question is this; will we be a part of it?  Will we join Him on His saving quest?  May we each answer, “yes” to that question.

C)  Winning the Savior’s Reward

 

Isaiah 53 speaks prophetically of the suffering of Christ.  Towards the end of the chapter a very interesting insight is given.

 

Isaiah 53:11.  He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

Why was Jesus willing to go through so much suffering?  Because He knew that He would see the labor of His soul, and it would satisfy Him.  Jesus suffered so that He might gain a reward, and that reward is the salvation of many.  He endured the cross for the “joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2),” and that joy is His people redeemed from every nation!

 

As such, we have the tremendous privilege of laboring in order to bring Jesus His reward.  We can win for the Savior His reward for His suffering.  This was actually the rallying cry of the Moravians, the great German missionaries from the 1700’s.  The story of how this cry came about is below:

 

In the 1700’s, the Moravians from the little town of Hernnhut Germany, known to be the “fathers of modern missions”, sent their brave missionaries to the ends of the earth.  On one occasion, as a young Moravian missionary on board a ship was leaving for the mission fields never to return again, his fiancé cried out as to why he was doing this, to which the young man replied: “That the Lamb who was slain may receive the reward of His suffering.”  And this became the battle cry of the Moravians.

 

This is really the highest motivation for missions; that we are willing to even lay down our lives so that the Lamb of God may receive the reward that is due to Him.  To Him be all the praise and glory.