It has been such a joy and delight to have my friend Rev Edward Ayub visit with us this week. As he welcomed me into his home last year I now have the privilege of welcoming him in mine. Last night the Missions Committee here at CPC hosted a supper and gave Ayub an opportunity share what the Lord is doing in Bangladesh and from the many reports I've heard all who attended were encouraged and challenged in their faith. Ayub spoke of persecution, but did so with a smile on his face. It's evident that he, along with the Apostle Paul, believes he's been granted the privilege to "suffer for his (Jesus') sake."
It was March of 2015 that Darrin Nold and I traveled over to visit with Ayub and others in the Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. It was a truly fabulous time ... worshiping with brothers and sisters there, celebrating at the baptism of new believers, eating with them, touring the training facility, getting a feel for the Muslim dominated culture, feeling overwhelmed at the task of doing ministry in a nation of 156,000,000 unbelievers, yet seeing God's hand clearly at work. Despite the email evidence that guaranteed I wouldn't be called up to teach during our visit, I did end up teaching 10-12 hours worth of material from the Sermon on the Mount ... with very minimal preparation and resources, having to teach through a first-time rookie interpreter! And in the midst of teaching I discovered that out of the 15 I was teaching, 3 in the class were Muslims. I was obviously fearful, anxious, and nervous about the whole deal but somehow, only by His grace, God gave me the strength to do it.
I asked Ayub how the people from that group are doing ... especially curious about a married Muslim couple. I was delighted to learn that both husband and wife have received Christ, been baptized, and are now working on a church planting team south of Dhaka (the capital city). How amazing is our God! How incredible that Community Church in Moody has played even a tiny role in seeing a couple of Muslims be converted and join a church planting team in order to further proclaim Christ among the unbelievers there in Bangladesh. How encouraging to know that God can use us anytime, anywhere, anyway He wants, even when we're weren't prepared. I doubt the couple would even remember me ... but they'll never forget meeting Jesus Christ. The impact of the Gospel is real.
While going half-way around the world to teach unbelieving Muslims is rather romantic and we think "surely, the Lord will bless this great mission!" ... we must know that it's the exact same power God gives us as we speak to our neighbor ... co-worker ... classmate ... friend ... teammate ... etc. God surrounds us everyday with people who desperately need to hear about Jesus Christ, just as desperately as do the people of Bangladesh. May God give us the faith, boldness, and desire to proclaim the Gospel every day.