TSC continues to love on people in the war-torn country of Kosovo. The majority of the people are atheist or Muslims historically, but are very open to the Gospel if someone will love on them and share Jesus with them. What's also exciting is that Pastor Eric from our Columbia Campus will be leading this mission trip to Kosovo!
|Kosovo - TBD|
|Team Leader:||Pastor Eric Nichols|
WHERE'S THE LEDGE?
Written By Wes Willett
1 Cor 13:1
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
So there we were, on the mission field in Albania. God was moving in one of the most powerful displays of His gospel I'd ever seen. Six people had already come to know Christ earlier in the week; we had our eyes on a seventh, though! Her name was Yasha. She was a beautiful young girl that lived a few hours from where we were holding our meetings. One of the striking things about Yasha's situation, was that her Mother and sister were two of the first folks to receive Christ earlier that week, so of course our hearts and hopes were set high for Yasha to know the same Savior that her mother and sister now did.
As the week drug on, something interesting began to dawn on me. A gospel that seemed almost irresistible to Yasha's mother and sister, for some reason, lay out of reach for Yasha herself. She simply would not respond. She didn't respond to the first call, the second call or third and so on.
We were there for ten days and the gospel was given all week long.
As our team geared up for the last evenings small-group, our hearts were excited about the work God had done, but there was also a sense of urgency, knowing that 15 year old, Yasha, had resisted every attempt to reach her. It was the last night of the last meeting. Pastor Eric was speaking privately to our little group when Gracie(my daughter) interrupted him and blurted out, "I'm sorry for interrupting, but would you all pray for me? I believe God is telling me to talk to Yasha! I'm nervous," she said, with tears rimming her eyes.
Well, the part of the story that I've neglected to mention, is that Gracie and Yasha had become fast friends over the week we had spent in Albania. Wherever Gracie was, Yasha was...
This should have been a clue to me(but it wasn't). The ground work had been laid right in front of me, I just didn't see it yet. The ground work had been laid, but not by pastors and their acumen. The ground work had been laid by friendship; the simplicity of two young girls, an ocean apart, who found a friend in each other.
Wow...did I ever miss this one. There was an earnestness in Gracie's plea that was a jolt for me. Suddenly, all of my training, all of my theology began to melt right in front of my eyes, and left standing in its place, was the love my daughter felt for another girl, just like herself...her friend. While I had been busy that week, pouring over apologetics, trying my best to persuade Yasha, to explain to her the difference between our God(Jehovah) and all of the other Gods of the world, Gracie was making a friend. The irony of this story is almost humorous if it didn't cut so deep. I was actually worried about Gracie. It was my daughter's first international missions trip and I was a dad trying to protect her. I was afraid that she would come across someone of the Muslim religion that would tangle her up in her young faith. I was afraid that she would not be ready to handle a theological debate.
You see the difference? I was busy trying to "persuade" Yasha to God, while Gracie was loving a new friend right into the arms of the Savior. Do you see the cut now?
John 3:16 says:
For God so "loved" the world.
He didn't persuade the world. He didn't win them with a 5 point summery on soteriology. He won them by loving them. I was the sounding brass. God help me. The tinkling symbol...was me.
So, there we stood, a hand full of missionaries at the precipice of faith, and my own daughter walks up to the edge with obedience in her eyes. What's a dad to do? I prayed, and as I prayed for her, God revealed what was lacking in me. He showed me that I cannot walk out my daughter's calling for her. Lord knows I tried. Some callings are just not ours to walk. Gracie had to own obedience just like we all do. Frankly, He showed me that I was in the way, that I needed to step aside, and let His daughter step up to that ledge and leap with everything she's got, so she can know the joy of a never failing embrace, an embrace stronger than my own, and the strength that can only come on the other side of a faith that has been tested.
We both grew a little that day. But me probably the most.
O yeah, do you know what Gracie said to, Yasha? She told Yasha that she would see her mom and sister again someday in heaven, but she didn't know if she would get to see her again. She told Yasha that she wanted to see her again, just like her family.
Yasha excepted Christ that night.
Where is the flaw in a Gospel like that? That's right, there isn't one. Gracie might not be a pastor, but through her, God reached one little girl that 3 pastors could not. We tried...
Where is the ledge of faith in your life? Who has God placed close to you that a pastor cannot reach?
If you need a clue, start where fear meets love, walk up to the edge, and jump like Gracie!