In Global Stories

Earthquake Zone

I got the opportunity to go with my pastor and three others to serve in the earthquake zone just in time for the one-year anniversary of the quake.

It was a somber time, hearing from many still lost in hopelessness and despair; in seeing how little has changed in a year (some have only just recently moved out of tents into container homes). We talked with the former mayor of one of the smaller towns affected and when one of our team members mentioned they felt hope even in the midst of the sadness around, he flat out said, “What hope? There is no hope here.”

At the same time, we heard from those who came to faith during this past year in response to the love showed to them by the local church and in them we saw glimmers of true hope—a hope not in the physical reality but deeply rooted in the spiritual reality. I’m continuing to pray that God shines upon this region with real hope even in the midst of the great brokenness and despair.

There is such a rich spiritual heritage here. God really is uncovering some of the ancient spiritual foundations of this place—I do have hope for the new believers as they grow in their faith to be a witness of His unchanging nature in the midst of the continued uncertainty around—the Hope that cannot be shaken.

A New Country

I got to travel to another country to meet some workers working with very unreached parts of the greater region (even training workers from surrounding countries to reach further into Central Asia!)

With the uncertainty of visas here, I have been looking at options for other areas if I need to move from here after my time is over.

It was encouraging to meet with some workers who are starting a school to train Chinese workers to reach this part of the world!

I read up on the history and learned more while I was visiting and I was amazed at how rich their culture and history is (they were the 2nd country in the world to officially accept Christianity as a nation after Armenia in 400AD). In the capital, I even got to see the seminary where Stalin studied to be a priest before being rejected and choosing a different unfortunate path.

Outreach & Language

One guy started coming to our church through our bi-weekly “Games Night” where we hang out and chat. I was able to be one of the people who engaged with him and got to share about how Jesus is so different and how He is what makes our faith worth it—there is no one else like Him in love, kindness, and compassion. I asked if I could pray for him and afterward he said he felt so much peace. He continued talking to other believers over the next few weeks including a pastor, and after 2 months, before he went back to his own country, he decided to give his life to Jesus! So exciting!

I had two different people contact me through a language exchange site who ended up coming to our games night at church and really enjoyed it—one is in the military airforce training and brought two of his friends with him! Pray for God to work in their hearts—hoping they will continue to come and experience community here.

It’s currently Ramadan in this part of the world—please pray for those around to encounter the truth during this season of fasting and praying!

I’ve been trying to improve my language reading skills, and am currently reading a productivity book called “Indistractable” in my new language (a few chapters a week). I’m also reading the Old Testament (I’m in Numbers and 2 Kings at the moment). It’s slow going but I’m starting to read faster and be able to tolerate longer periods of reading, so I think it’s slowly working. I’m also listening to a podcast from a local psychologist and I’m surprised that I’m starting to slowly understand! Please pray for my speaking which is still my weakest language area.

What’s God Been Saying?

I’ve been feeling the need to be more intentional in rest, especially on my Sabbaths—I’ve been getting tired easily with all the things going on around.

Silence is a great way to refocus on His Presence – I need this reminder more and more in this season. REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you incorporate silence and stillness to focus on God in your weekly schedule? Does your busyness draw you to more stillness or to busy-working?

Please Pray:

The start of so many testimonies of people who came to faith is through praying with sincerity one of the daily prayers – “Show me the right path” – this was the start of even my own mother’s journey to faith. Pray for seeking hearts.

Pray for friends who are starting to come to games night at our church and for other new friends I’ve started meeting with.

I am up to renew my visa (it’s already been almost a year since I arrived!). Please pray for all the paperwork and for a good outcome, the language school I am in does not have enough students for classes I need to take—praying for God to work this out as my visa is attached to the school.

Pray for the earthquake zone—pray for hope to be restored as people come to know the Hope that cannot be shaken.

Zulfe