Monday, August 27, 2007

My pastor’s missionary trip...

Tonight at church our pastor spoke about a missionary trip he went on this summer. He was in the Pacific Rim area, and he told us the country he was working in. He is not allowed to say it very much, because the country he was in is 98% Muslim, and the missionaries and believers there would be persecuted for being Christians.

He showed us pictures of a worship ceremony he attended, and pictures of two men who had both lost family members because they were Christians. A man's father and another man's wife were both beheaded for being Christians. This country has mosques everywhere, and speakers to announce when it is one of the five times for Muslims to pray. He said there were more mosques in this country than the United States has gas stations, to give us an idea of how many there are... The men that my pastor was worshipping with met in secrecy, and they worshipped all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They only stopped to sleep, and would begin again at 5:30 in the morning. A 79 year old man drove on a motorcycle 8 hours each way to attend this gathering.

Our pastor showed us pictures of the men studying intently, craving teachings from the bible. It made me feel awful to think how I am guilty of wondering "When is this going to end, I need to get home to ..." after an hour and a half, while these men were risking their lives to study all day. One man cried because he thought he was the only believer from where he lived, and he had never heard a prayer spoken to God in his own language. When that weekend was over, the men would return to where they lived, and would not contact or see each other again indefinitely. We saw pictures of children standing outside a public school where children still had to pay to attend. Only families that could afford school were able to send their children.

Our pastor was impressed when he arrived that the maid service would iron all of the laundry, including underwear. He later was told the reason the maids iron everything is to kill the bugs that live in the water the clothes are washed in!

I cried tonight, I felt so ashamed to think of how much I take for granted because I live in the United States. I don't face death or persecution because I am a Christian, and neither do my loved ones. I can worship freely, I can go to church and worship with others, and enjoy the fellowship of other believers. Other believers are not so lucky. I own multiple bibles in various translations, while these people can not afford clean drinking water. If it wasn't for the grace of God, I would be living in that country...

Funny Story from Church!

Our church has a ministry called "Secret Sisters" where we are matched with another woman, and for a year we pray for that woman, and send little gifts to let the woman know she is being thought of... We reveal ourselves at the end of the year...

I made a gift bag of several books for my Secret Sister this morning, and left it on the table in the foyer so she would see it. I happened to see her later that afternoon walking out of church looking through her gift bag, and she pulled out one of Gibson's "Transformers" toys! Evidently, he had stuck the toy in the bag while it was in the van! It was all I could do not to grab it back from her, and she was looking at it like "Why on earth would I want this toy?!" I am sure we will have a good laugh over this at the end of the year... :)