Going on an overseas mission trip can often be a transforming and life changing experience; offering an opportunity to serve in a very different culture and environment, challenging our worldview and our perceptions of our role in the world. Taking people on a short-term mission trip experience can equip them and inspire them for a lifetime of service, or at the very least cause them to think critically about the consumerist ‘it’s all about me’ culture that we live in.Read more
PERSONAL INSECURITIES AND CONCERNS
When European students are asked to describe their feelings, they range from excitement to intimidation. No one really is very afraid of Brexit, as current events don’t yet allow the drawing of concrete conclusions. But our European friends have a strong sense of connection and belonging to Europe. They are used to being able to move within the EU and some of them have plans to establish an economically secure life away from their home country, especially if they are from eastern or southern Europe. For most of them, an English-speaking country is the first choice after studying here. And so the potential of having to change their initial plans drastically is confusing their future hopes.Read more
Jesus presented himself to the disciples. To Thomas he even said touch me – trust your senses and feel my wounds.
There is a tangibility about how the evangelists talk about the resurrection. It is weird and wonderful. Jesus can apparently walk through walls, and like Bilbo Baggins, appear and disappear at will. And yet, unlike Bilbo Jesus is not confined only to the written page. There is more to Him than that. He is a real presence, not only a mythical being: he is that but much more – a genuine physical being, with his hands and feet and head and side marked with wounds, where ‘sorrow and love flow mingled down.’Read more
“Europe is very different from Britain. For instance, their windows open inwards rather than outwards, and it is almost impossible to buy Monster Munch in Bulgaria. No wonder we could not get along.”
I found this quote while strolling through a bookshop in Cambridge. There is some truth in it. Even neighbouring European countries are surprisingly different. Though we consider each other as Westerners, and even more, as young Europeans who have a sense of being a European first before anything else, we do currently face challenges. It is not only Brexit; there seems to be something changing in Europe, but it hasn’t yet been decided which direction will prevail – separation or stronger connection. For now, many Europeans are still using their chance to study or work abroad. They come to Britain, to study the language or to make use of the great educational system, with some hoping to stay for good and start a successful career.
May God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine on us. So that Your way may be known on the earth, your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for you will judge the peoples with uprightness, and guide the nations on the earth. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us, so that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.Psalm 67
Church outside of China
Finally, how can the global church outside of China be part of this ISM vision in China? First and foremost, brothers and sisters could commit to praying for this.
Experienced ISM workers could be sent to China to support international churches or to come alongside local Chinese fellowships and campus ministries. Networking could be established between healthy national ISMs, pioneering ISMs outside of China, international churches within China, global sending organizations, and the nascent Chinese ISM movement.Read more
It should come as no surprise, but perhaps for many of us, it is. Certainly our behaviour suggests so. Consider the extraordinary events of Acts 8-11.
The Samaritans find faith in Jesus (resulting in an apostolic visit); then an Ethiopian finds faith (as a result of a Spirit-inspired diaconal encounter with Philip); then Cornelius, a roman solider, finds faith along with his household (during a Spirit-inspired apostolic visit); then the Greeks start to find faith in Antioch as the new diaspora of persecuted followers of The Way tell the story of Jesus.Read more
A French nun stood in front of the burning Cathedral and said that it was only a building; the church of God is people. In Sri Lanka a few days later over two hundred of those people died. As words came from politicians that Notre-Dame must be restored, millionaires rushed forward with offers of large sums of money. No millionaires rushed forward to support the suffering families of Sri Lankans or to rebuild their churches. From Sri Lanka there were only pictures of coffins being carried to graves and even the number of the dead was uncertain. The Western press had pictures and stories of tourists who had died, but the Sri Lanka Christians remained anonymous. Notre-Dame survived the fire. No lives were lost. Sentiment was high that this symbol of France, the testament to a nation’s lost faith, must be a continuing part of Paris life. In Sri Lanka perpetrators were pursued, security chiefs resigned, churches were closed and tourists warned away. Paris resumed normal life and the causes of the accident were sought. The Sri Lanka victims are still dead.Read more
In the last fifteen years, there has been significant development in diaspora missiology, which offers a biblical rationale and strategy for ISM, and gives us a framework for missions to, through, and beyond the diaspora.[i] Leiton Chinn writes compellingly about the biblical basis and strategic value of ISM as part of diaspora missions.[ii] Elsewhere he describes his own journey and that of some churches in the USA from not seeing or caring about international students to now noticing and actively reaching out to them.[iii] With the same zeal, he points to ISM in Asia as “a most strategic yet least expensive global mission opportunity.”[iv] Is this a journey on which the church in China has now embarked?Read more
Following Jesus is a call to betrayal. There can be no fudging this. As soon as we affirm that ‘Jesus is Lord!’ we have committed an act of betrayal. We are announcing that all other allegiances and narratives must now be forfeit to a greater and deeper vocation.Read more