Sunday, July 30, 2017

Real Persecution | Internship Stories


Pink and white airplane display still yards away, I faltered as I gazed at the pond surrounded by prayer stones emblazoned with regions and Bible verses.

Words reached my ears through Nik Ripken’s audio version of The Insanity of God.

He told. He’d heard persecution-familiar Asian believers crying, tearing their clothes, and speaking in loud voices. The believers had listened to Nik’s stories of Middle Eastern persecution, and they had committed: committed to wake up an hour earlier to pray for those facing “real persecution.”

I faltered. Wow, Lord.

This summer hadn’t brought me from Asian or Middle Eastern nations but from over six hundred miles “up north” to the hundred (plus) degree heat of Oklahoma that had more heat than just weather: a hub of “on-fire,” dedicated believers serving the Lord through an organization while representing numerous “on-fire” persecuted believers throughout the globe.

Coming for an eight-week internship, I didn’t realize how much I would come away with. Sitting across from multiple International Ministries workers, we talked about Bible smuggling and America’s cultural Christianity. Perched on the couch’s edge at my host family’s home, I heard stories about decades spent among Muslims. Pulling up the edge of a banner at a conference, we discussed methods of spreading His Word.

I’d seen the faithful service of co-workers in the office, some serving for over twenty years. I’d listened to the interworking of meetings discussing missiology. I’d heard about my persecuted family who were obedient even till death. I’d tasted and seen the work the Lord is doing globally, and I’d been convicted.

I faltered. Wow, Lord.

As Asian believers cried in prayer, I asked hard questions: what does it really mean to be a part of such a global family of Christ?

As I read my Bible and thought about believers dying to get the Word to others, I asked: who am I to keep asking the Lord to “fill me up” if I am not being “poured out” for the sake of the gospel?

Amar's eyes lit up as he talked about sharing the love of the Father even though he was a refugee. Hannah's passionate voice echoed as she urged believers in the west to simply read their Word of God. Lives filled up and poured out. Lives poured out and refilled.

I faltered. Wow, Lord.

Wow, Lord, You are working a plan so much bigger than any of us can see (Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 138:8; Job 42:2).
Wow, Lord, You’ve given us each a piece in your story (Ephesians 2:10).
Wow, Lord, open my eyes to the ministry that is here, in front of me as they are being faithful there, with what's in front of them.

Wow, Lord, grant us each strength to be faithful to obedience – to the daily surrenders of our everything for the greater reality that we—a global family—are joining in the work of Him who is everything.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

© 2017 Deborah Hope Shining
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