Like the woman in the Gospel of Mark who touched Jesus and was delivered from her condition, every day around the world, CBM’s partners and Field Staff boldly serve at great cost in dangerous places. In places like the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, or in conflict-ridden Myanmar and India, or even in cities like San Salvador or Nairobi, where violent ethnic or religious gangs are tearing apart communities, Christian leaders are risk-takers for the kingdom.
Let me tell you about a risk I personally had to take this summer. In August, I stood at the border crossing between Rwanda and the D.R. Congo with two of my colleagues. The deadly Ebola virus had just reached the capital city of Goma, threatening the lives of everyone there. Yet, this was exactly where we had planned to be.
I had been asked to speak at the gathering of over 750 pastors and evangelists. I admit, I was nervous, but I knew that the Gospel calls us to take risks.
Were we willing to contravene the restrictions of the Canadian Government’s “do not travel” advisory? Should we disregard the concerns expressed by our own families, colleagues and even the media? After some deliberation, we decided that our Congolese partners who live with this risk every day, more than merited our visit. Yes, we could risk 21 days of quarantine upon our return. But it was worth it to be able to stand in solidarity with God’s people in Goma during their time of crisis. So, we went, and spent time in prayer, fellowship and planning with them as they discussed how to build God’s Church in their region.
These men and women are leading the Church in one of the most dangerous places in the world. The recent outbreak of Ebola has taken over 3,000 lives in that area. This comes on the heels of a long and horrifically violent civil war that took millions of lives, where rape was used as a weapon of war used to destroy communities and child-soldiers became commonplace.
How do you possibly build the Church in the face of such adversity?
Well, I learned from my Congolese brothers and sisters, that you do it with love, care, and sacrifice. As one of the speakers said, “We build the Church by taking risks.”
As I left the Congo, the thought that has pursued me since is this: What are we, God’s people, willing and able to do to help build his Church? What sacrifices do we make daily? While the Church in the Global South faces constant challenges, we cower at the smallest inconveniences.
Many years ago, I asked an African pastor who was ministering in a place where Christians were systematically persecuted and jailed for their faith, how we could pray for them. “Do we pray that the persecution will end?” I asked. “Please don’t pray for that Terry,” he replied. “The day
the persecution ends here is the day we begin to become lethargic like the Church in the West.” What an incredibly faith-filled response!
Will you join CBM as together we invest in pastors, evangelists and lay leaders who make daily sacrifices and take immense risks for the sake of the Gospel?
Will you give generously to help develop Christian leaders in the Global South, in places like India, Lebanon, D.R. Congo and Myanmar – by walking alongside these men and women who willingly pay a far greater price to build God’s Church in those places?
This Fall, I am inviting you to take a risk with me. Join me as we step out in faith together for the Gospel.
Warmly, in Christ’s mission,