FROM THE DESK OF: the Director of Mobilization
My brain is still a bit fuzzy from jet lag this morning, as I recently returned from two weeks in Southeast Asia. For those weeks, I was honored to spend time with athletes finishing their training for the SEA Games in Singapore next month — the end of two year’s of hard work and sacrifice. They live away from their families. without much of a choice when selected to join these sports teams, and they feel immense pressure to perform well at the Games. Athletes in Action one of our partners in sports missions, sent 22 staff members and volunteers to provide spiritual training during the past four months. Athletes, coaches, and administrators were encouraged to consider life beyond sport, and particularly, to consider their soul. What is your identity and worth beyond sport performance and success?
When you do not speak the local language, things can either be very simple or very complicated. Complicated, because charades and hand signals can only get you so far before you are unable to communicate with any real effectiveness. But also simple, because without words what we are left with is the smile on our face and the prayers in our heart. During my trip I was reading Timothy Keller’s book, Prayer, and it really helped me to give my moments, between waking in the morning and going to sleep at night, to prayer. God’s work in Southeast Asia is not dependent on my presence there, and it is not dependent on my words when I am there. But prayer is the key that unlocks the Kingdom, and so for two weeks it was a gift to walk on that soil, and see those faces, and breathe deep of that place — and it was a gift, too, to learn how to walk and talk with God during those moments, and to ask Him to keep doing what He has always been doing. Namely, seeking and saving the lost.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
There is no better news. God sent His Son to save a lost world, and He also sends us to now bring that Good News to the lost — whether in the USA or in Southeast Asia. I am glad to be home, and I am also glad for the memories of my trip, but I am extra glad for the lesson God saw fit to teach me on the other side of the world: prayer is the thing. Will you join us in praying for God to do miraculous things in Southeast Asia and the other restricted-access countries where we work?
For the Win[dow].
Erin Meek, Director of Mobilization
VERSE OF THE WEEK: John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
COUNTRY OF THE WEEK: Japan
In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty of Kanagawa with the US in 1854 and began to intensively modernize and industrialize. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Japan became a regional power that was able to defeat the forces of both China and Russia. It occupied Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and southern Sakhalin Island. In 1931-32 Japan occupied Manchuria, and in 1937 it launched a full-scale invasion of China. Japan attacked US forces in 1941 - triggering America's entry into World War II - and soon occupied much of East and Southeast Asia. After its defeat in World War II, Japan recovered to become an economic power and an ally of the US. While the emperor retains his throne as a symbol of national unity, elected politicians hold actual decision-making power. Following three decades of unprecedented growth, Japan's economy experienced a major slowdown starting in the 1990s, but the country remains an economic power. In March 2011, Japan's strongest-ever earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami, devastated the northeast part of Honshu island, killed thousands, and damaged several nuclear power plants. The catastrophe hobbled the country's economy and its energy infrastructure, and tested its ability to deal with humanitarian disasters. Prime Minister Shinzo ABE was reelected to office in December 2012, and has since embarked on ambitious economic and security reforms to improve Japan’s economy and increase the country’s international standing. (CIA World Factbook)
- Pray for the unity of God's Spirit to demolish barriers dividing the 120 different denominations.
- Pray for drifting, over-worked, and anxious youth to find freedom in Christ.
- Pray for Japanese Christians abroad to return with a burden for discipleship and evangelism.
- Pray for the Uttermost workers in the field.
- Pray for the US office.