Belief In Action
Examples of putting your belief into action.
The Lord began laying a burden on my heart to reach individuals within immigrant language groups living in our communities.
I shared this concern with Kert, missions director at my home church. In closing, I said (confessed), "Perhaps the place I need to begin is to reach out to the Russian family living across the street from me." Kert responded, "You will be interested to know that there are about 150 Russians currently attending our church. One Russian brother, Peter, is starting a new church. He wants to develop an English-speaking church, rooted in Russian culture, focused on addressing the needs of those who are between cultures, allowing young people to use their talents and gifts without changing their identity."
THE FIRST VISIT
Attending Peter's Church.
A cross-cultural worship experience.
December 6, 2015, my wife and I attended Peter's church where we were graciously welcomed by the pastor and his congregation. It was their second Sunday to meet in their new facility. The foyer with its coffee bar was filled with happy chatter. We were ushered into their worship center that could accommodate 250 people. About 125 worshippers, led by an excellent worship team, enthusiastically participated. Pastor Peter's message dealt with the subject of water baptism. Then, eleven young people were baptized. After changing into dry clothing, the baptismal candidates stood across the front of the church, receiving bouquets and congratulations from their families in traditional eastern European fashion.
At the close of the service, I asked Pastor Peter if he would be open to an invitation to our home for a meal. He responded, "You know I am Russian. I still go to homes." Driving away from the church, I commented to my wife, "Pastor's statement is perhaps the most significant thing we have learned about this cultural church. Hospitality is a top priority!"
A few days later, my Russian neighbor was working on his car. I spoke to him about the new Russian church and invited him to attend with his family. Then, thinking of Pastor Peter's emphasis on hospitality, I invited his family to our home for a meal. They accepted and brought the traditional hostess gift of chocolates. It was a wonderful evening. We learned that they had grown up in a Communist family and had been in the US for 20 years. I shared my conversion experience with them. The father said that he believed there was a God, but that no one had ever talked to him about religion.
Two weeks later, my Russian friend and his parents attended Peter's church. They had been my neighbors for six years before I successfully presented the gospel to them. I regret that it took me that long to understand the value of hospitality within their culture.
What prompted me to take action? I believed that Jesus' command to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19) included my Russian neighbors. Why did it take me so long to go across the cul-de-sac? Before I went, I was merely affirming biblical truth. Now my actions, prompted by Scripture and cultural information, demonstrate that I truly believe what Jesus said.
Do you believe? If you do, begin by intentionally reaching out to those in your community who are different than you, immigrants who speak a different language. By God's grace, may we all believe, take action and see the hand of God at work in the lives of our new American neighbors.
Explaining “Saint” on the way to St. Louis
Travel and Talk
One of the easiest ways to engage in relationships with “new” Americans is through our local universities. International students often feel like fish out of water here in the States. Most have left tight-knit communities and are looking for friendships. Many students just want to get a taste of what American life is like.
This academic year we have served as the host family for Abdul*, a very kind and conscientious young Muslim man. Our entire family has enjoyed sharing meals, playing games together, taking him around our city and the surrounding area. We have also discussed everything from family life to food and world problems.
Abdul had a break from school at Easter, so on Good Friday we drove him to explore St. Louis. My wife and I had prayed for the right time to share with Abdul why these celebrations are significant for us. Halfway into our trip Abdul, having seen several city names that start with the word “Saint”, asked what this meant.
His question opened a conversation in which I shared the truth about the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. I explained that God’s love was the motivation for Christ giving His life ! I let him know that we believe assurance for eternal life comes through Christ alone.
What other opportunity would Abdul have to hear about Jesus and the Gospel message? Abdul confirmed that this was the first time he understood.
After I finished sharing with Abdul, he said, “I asked many people why we have school holiday, and no one could explain Good Friday and Easter to me. Thank you for sharing!”
This experience was a reminder to me that Jesus wants people to know about Himself even more than we do. If you take steps to build relationships and pray for the Spirit’s guidance, He will give you opportunities to share His vast love for people like Abdul.
The conversations with Abdul will continue!
* Pseudo name.
CUBANS FOR CHRIST
Showing an Interest
After forming a friendship with a Cuban couple living next door, I invited them to attend "Step of Faith," an Hispanic church that meets in our church's chapel on weekends.
They have two little boys so I mentioned Sunday school for the children. Slavi, who is part Russian, said finding time was the problem as he has his own business. I was able to mention how God made our bodies to need a day of rest—1 day in 7.
Please pray with me that they will visit this church and find Jesus real. I plan to continue friendship, follow up on the invitation, and pray for this family.
More examples coming soon.
Share your Story
If you've had the opportunity to share the gospel with a new American, we'd love to hear your story.
Please use the form below to let us know!