How Do We Fight Discouragement?
By David Armstrong
Hearing only half of the news can be discouraging. I experience that discouragement in reading about all the fighting, refugees, and problems in the Middle East. Tragic, painful, and seemingly hopeless—until you hear the other half.
Amazing things are taking place with God’s Kingdom in the Middle East and other places right now. Not only are individuals coming to Jesus, but there are whole church-planting movements such as have never been seen before in predominantly Muslim countries.
I just completed the 15-week Perspectives on the Worldwide Christian Movement course. If you haven’t taken that class I highly recommend it. Go to their website to find a church hosting the class near you. I was greatly encouraged by case studies about how the mission world has changed and what God has been doing in our world in the last few decades. I was also reminded that God is sending people to our neighborhoods to hear the gospel, not just sending people “over there” to share the gospel.
We experienced this first hand. Elvir was the first person to welcome us to our neighborhood. His son Asad watered our garden for us when we traveled last summer. These two are among some 60,000 Muslim Bosnians who live in St. Louis and South County, most of whom came to the US 15-20 years ago, fleeing genocide.
Though there are handful of Bosnian believers in the world, there are no Bosnian churches where the gospel is expressed in ways typical Bosnians can understand, in forms they would be comfortable with, and using the language that is part of their very being.
I discovered in conversations with Bosnians in St. Louis that they do not see themselves like Muslims in the Middle East. They are Muslim because they are Bosnian. They can’t imagine being Bosnian and not being Muslim. Want to share the gospel with them? As is so often the case, friendship is the place to begin, and prayer is the medium to see God work and open meaningful conversations.
Need some encouragement? Feel like you are left with a one-sided, negative view of world events from your usual news sources? Seek out the other side, the stories of what God is doing that most media outlets will never share with you.