I was recently sharing with someone about Mission ONE and specifically the work we do with our partners in Lebanon. This past year was hard for the entire world, but Lebanon seemed to have one significant obstacle after another. There was the economic collapse, followed by COVID, followed by the Beirut explosion, followed by the stepping down of most of the government leaders. It seemed like the hits just kept coming to that part of the world. And yet, when I think about that country, my mind does not automatically go to the tragedy, it goes straight to the hope that our partners bring to people with every interaction.
I often describe 2020 as a “flower growing out of concrete” kind of year. A year where everything seemed hard and dry and yet, if I was attentive enough, I could see the perseverance of a bloom just starting to peak its’ color through seemingly impossible circumstances. A woman in Pakistan having the ability to provide for her family during a pandemic because of skills she learned at a sewing center. An entire church being started in a community devasted by a blast because so many people came to know the Lord. A leader being equipped and ready to welcome refugees back into their communities and help them rebuild their lives and start businesses. Each story from our partners has been another flower bud fighting through the hard, inhospitable ground and creating Kingdom beauty in an otherwise concrete jungle.
As I walk into 2021, I’m listening to and learning from our partners more than I ever have before. I’m listening to their insights from scripture and their stories which bring scripture to life. I’m learning from them as they model for me courage and perseverance as they proclaim the gospel through words and actions every day. And I’m learning that we often make the mission of God more complicated than it needs to be. Many of the stories from our partners begin with the phrase, “we showed up in the midst of pain and people began asking questions about this Jesus we talk about.” Every time they show up, people experience the presence of Jesus and that community looks more like the Kingdom of God. Every word that is spoken, food that is distributed, or house that is repaired creates flourishing that testifies that Jesus is the Lord.
Working with the Global Church, I’m daily convicted, challenged, and encouraged. I want to know Jesus the way that they know Jesus. I want to have the courage to pray the way that they have the courage to pray. I want to see Jesus working in my community the way that they see Jesus at work in their communities. And I want to see the Kingdom beauty bursting through concrete the ways that I have seen it happen in our partner’s communities.
Prayers for 2021:
– Pray that our partners would experience rest and strength that can only come from being united with Christ,
– Pray for continued favor with governments to accomplish the Kingdom building projects our partners are endeavoring for 2021,
– Pray that our partners would continue to embody the gospel as they live and work in their communities,
– Pray that we would be encouraged and emboldened by their faith and stories to have eyes to see the Kingdom breaking through in our lives and communities.
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