If you know me, you know that involving other people has always been my thing. It’s not just for others that I do this, but also for me. It’s been a draining time for me spiritually with the closing of our church where I actively served each week and then pouring out everything into directing VBS for the first time, I was running low. I was not daily reading my Bible like I had been before and I needed more than my willpower to get back on track.
In comes my favorite (and only Bible reading) app – YouVersion. I prefer physically holding books and writing on papers for notes but the convenience of doing both as I read through the Bible is easy and all in one place. Right now a few friends have joined me in the 2019 Mid-Year Challenge by going through the “Pray Your Way Around The World” by IMB (International Mission Board) 11-day devotional on YouVersion. I love doing video or text based Biblical devotionals online like this with friends I’ve made during my military moves around the world. Why? After each day, there is a space where we share thoughts, comments, and prayers with one another within our virtual small group as we go through the plan each day. I love this. THIS community combined with the Holy Spirit at work in us as we go through the material has really opened my eyes even further to our neighbors and their spiritual needs around the globe and we are only halfway through!
I wanted to share a bit of what I am learning with you. I decided to share each day about each region on Facebook because the materials created by IMB are too well done to keep to myself. I have been emailing these world resources to my children so that at some point during the day this summer they would read through it and tell me what they learned. It is a bit of homeschool and Biblical discipleship all in one. I love how IMB includes the different barriers each area faces to embracing the gospel message of Jesus Christ and specific ways in which we can pray for the people, those who serve there and those who WILL serve there (and maybe not even know it yet).
I definitely feel the call to examine ‘how I am sharing Jesus with those around me,’ where ever I am sent in the world. I tend to be vague about Christ around people I do not know unless I am in an area or an event where it is obviously Christian. I know I have a lot of room to grow here as I know I need to be ready at all times to make a defense of the hope that is within me. (1 Peter 3:15) I also know that I should not hide my light under a basket but put it up for all to see and use. (Matthew 5:14-16) However, I am also aware that I do nothing without the Holy Spirit’s working in the heart and minds of the people around me so that is why PRAYER and being attuned to and responsive to God is so crucial.
Let me share with you the postings (and resources) for each area/ each day thus far that I’ve added to the YouVersion devotional, “Pray Your Way Around the World” online:
“Picture your city. Now add millions of people who reside in anything from mansions to multistory gated communities to sprawling slums. Add mosques and temples. See the streets filled with men, women, and children all weaving through traffic. Add religious festivals, weddings, and holidays that fill the air with the sounds of celebration. Now imagine turning the power off and the city being plunged into complete darkness. Add in a few lights scattered throughout, and you see the spiritual image of cities full of people who are not followers of Christ. ” Excerpt from the Pray: South Asia Peoples guide found here.
This article published on the IMB.org website called “Salvation Bracelets in Africa? No, Thanks.” really opened my eyes to being more culturally aware. Especially as I prepare to head out to Cambodia again on mission in a few months, I am working on a (English language, mostly contemporary style Christian) worship set-lists. I want what we sing and focus on to be relevant to the youth in the culture we will serve there pointing them and encouraging them to Jesus Christ, the Only Way, the Only Truth and the Only Life.
North Africa & the Middle East (or MENA or Arab World)
Investopedia writes ” The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region encompassing approximately 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The MENA region accounts for approximately 6% of the world’s population, 60% of the world’s oil reserves and 45% of the world’s natural gas reserves. Due to the region’s substantial petroleum and natural gas reserves, MENA is an important source of global economic stability. “
Stay tuned as I share a summary of the rest of the areas around the globe as we complete our “Pray Your Way Around the World” devotional through YouVersion and IMB. Has your perspective and heart for the peoples of this world to know and share Christ expanded through your Bible reading and prayers? Mine has. Thanks for reading.