We are in the Advent season now, officially looking forward to Christmas. However I still find myself looking backward at my recent trip to visit our church’s families in Spain and the Middle East. I am very grateful to John Brunton and our Global Partners team along with a great team of people from our church. The purposes of this trip were to learn firsthand about the ministries of Dan and Eva Anderson and our Global Partners in the Middle East, by our very presence to let these dear families see that GPBC loves them and that they are not “out of sight out of mind,” to encourage them directly wherever we could, to provide counsel if needed, and find out if there were some ways we could improve our support of them. I think the traveling team and the families we visited would agree that we accomplished all of those purposes.
Each of our hosts wanted us to experience the historic sites of their country so we were treated to some absolutely amazing places and things. For example, the Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain was built in the lifetime of Jesus. It stands about four stories tall and was built of stones hewn by hand so precisely that no mortar was needed in its construction. Yet it has stood for 2000 years through wind and storm and earthquake. And all of this without power tools! It’s astounding what those people we often think of as “primitive” could do.
Here’s three quick, preliminary, and non-startling observations:
- Jesus’ purposes and His work are not thwarted by culture or country. In both places we visited, Spain (a “Christian” country) and the Middle East (in a “Muslim” country), people are coming to faith in Jesus and Christians are growing to become more like Him. In fact, the work of the Spirit seems uniquely customized to the country, culture, tribe, family, and circumstance of each person’s heart.
- We have some quality people in Madrid and the Middle East on our behalf. I am proud that the Anderson’s and our Global Partners in the Middle East represent us and Jesus there. They are committed, strategic, and effective in their service for the kingdom. They are meeting the immediate, sometimes survival needs of desperate people, building relationships of spiritual benefit, and breaking the stereotypes that Muslims have been taught about Christians and Christianity.
- We here at home, at GPBC, need to think and act more like the Anderson’s and our Global Partners in the Middle East and the rest of our Global Partners. We need to be more committed, more strategic, and more effective in our efforts to meet the needs of the desperate people around us, build relationships of spiritual benefit, and break the stereotypes that our culture has of Christians and Christianity.