I have moved—our old house is being torn down this week as part of a city-wide earthquake preparedness initiative—although apparently 80% of buildings in the city need to be rebuilt to withstand the big quake expected. Praise the Lord we found a new place in a super convenient location!
My new room is pictured here.
Trip to the East
Last month I went to meet some of my teammates who live in other parts of the country for a short weekend camping trip. On the way I got to go to a city famous for its heat (it was around 47C most of the time). It’s so hot, in this city, that locals have actually taken rifles and shot at the☀️!
I also got to pass through Paul’s (of the Bible) hometown! The main road through the city is where many famous people including Paul actually walked.
This past month I’ve continued meeting with friends and making new ones—making a point to meet up with more experienced workers as well as young local believers to hear their stories, hear what Jesus means to them, and ask them how they think people like me might be helpful to the church here, rather than a hindrance.
I finished my first language intermediate class, although unfortunately due to the lack of visas being given to people at the moment, I’m back on a waiting list for the next class to start (we need a minimum of 5 people, and we can’t even get that at the moment).
What’s God Been Saying?
As I’ve been talking more to local believers and workers, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the challenges facing believers and the work of the Gospel here (division, apathy, fear, intimidation).
I keep feeling God leading me back to the passage He gave me when I moved here in April from 1 Cor 14:24-25 (talking about prophecy and spiritual gifts) – then the unbeliever comes into your midst and “the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”
I realized there is no substitute for Jesus. We can use all our nicely thought-out methods to try and explain the Gospel, we can even try to argue with people about the truth, but in the end, the beauty of Jesus speaks for itself! If people can come into a place where the church is gathered to TRULY seek Jesus alone, Jesus will show up, and people will be able to actually taste and see that the Lord is good. Who needs to twist someone’s arm when the person truly encounters the living Presence of Jesus filling the room?
Who will be afraid to leave everything and follow wholeheartedly regardless of persecution or social shame when they’ve actually found the Pearl of Great Price? What is there to be afraid of when they’ve encountered Perfect Love Himself? How can we remain apathetic after meeting with the Fairest of Ten Thousand? How can we maintain division when we are all completely surrendered to the Saviour?
It’s a sticky complicated situation in many places here. Still, God has continued to draw me back to prayer and seeking Him, removing these issues from my own heart first (seeking approval of others, pride, apathy, fear, etc.). It feels like He is purifying my own faith before trying to share it with others.
I literally walked into the ONLY Chinese grocery store in the city (45 min from my house) and in talking with the Chinese cashier found out we were both believers. She ended up praying for me right at the till and saying she felt like God was asking me to spend more time in prayer—how many more signs do I need?! 🤣
I’ve started fasting on Mondays (just until dinner)—if any of you guys would like to join me in the discipline of fasting it would be great to have people to journey with and share what God might be saying to us. Let me know if you do.
How captivated am I currently with the Beauty of Jesus? Have my eyes become dull and blind to the radiance of His beauty? How is this beauty affecting my daily habits?
2 Corinthians 4:6
“For it is God, having said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” who shone in our hearts for the radiance of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
- Please pray for a deeper encounter with Jesus in my personal life, spiritual disciplines, and conversations with others
- Pray for grace to continue to grow in personal (and corporate) prayer
- Pray for the people I’m journeying with—for more divine appointments and for Spirit-led conversations
- Pray for physical energy—just staying alive in this city can be quite stressful with legal rules changing suddenly all the time (it took me 5 hours just to go legally register my new address on 2 separate days) and I’ve been quite tired as a result. I haven’t been sleeping that well in the last while either so I’m quite tired a lot during the day
- Pray for language acquisition—for greater focus and faster acquisition (I’m going fast, but I still have a long way to go and it can be grueling at times)
- Pray for this Nation. It still hits me from time to time how many people 18 million looks like in just this one city—and the fact that almost every face I see on the street doesn’t know anything about His beauty.
Bless you guys—Zulfe