Jesus told his disciples:
“For here the saying holds true. ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.’” (John 4:37-38)
“You’re not the first Christians I met. I’ve met some recently and they told me their story too!”
“I’ve never met a Christian before”
“No, thank you. I’m not very religious and I’m not interested”
“This Jesus… he’s not too bad!”
“Hey, folks from the church! Can you pray for me and my friends?”
“I want to believe… maybe someday I will become Christian too!”
(real quotes from people we’ve met in person over the past couple of months)
Since our last update, we have been “sowing” our prayers and striving to love people we’ve met. We’ve been able to connect with people, who are more open to knowing Jesus mainly through the work of Christians they had previously met, as well as meeting people who’ve never really heard about God or met a Christian before.
Our church has been engaged in making disciples of Jesus by putting in the behind-the-scenes work of prayer as we have connected with people “on the ground”.
A snapshot of how I’ve seen that “striving” and “sowing”:
!gnite Conference (27-28 June)
At our annual missions conference, we went outside of our “typical” church conference schedule and literally went outside of the conference building. With our church’s size of less than 30 people, we can be really mobile and nimble. So all of us drove over to Geylang, a neighborhood containing the country’s red light district, and visited Tamar Village. Tamar Village is the ministry we’ve been partnering with to reach more people in the red light district, starting with the local Singaporean street ladies.
We watched a documentary describing the need for the Gospel in Geylang, learned from the staff who have been working to serve the Geylang community for 5+ years, and sowed in a lot of prayers.
It was a powerful time of praying because our whole church was gathered in Geylang, able to actually see where and to who we would send out our missions team the next day.
Local Missions Trip (28 June – 4 July)
The missions team’s week spent at Tamar Village was marked by prayer. Something our team noticed right away and consistently is how the staff and volunteers have a huge heart for the people in Geylang – and their work in serving the people is driven by prayer. What did we do during our time as a team? Literally, and almost exclusively – we prayed. No joke and no exaggeration.
We prayed continually – sometimes just praying indoors and other times praying while walking the streets and meeting with the men and women of the red light district.
One remarkable moment was when our team met some other Christians at a prayer gathering – pretty average folk – who have also been praying to see the Gospel transform lives in Geylang. The remarkable part? These folks have been praying for DECADES. We realized that the kind and depth of connection we made as a team in just a few days with some of the brothel owners and sex workers had never been done before! And this was really due to the decades of prayer invested by these faithful men and women. This is where we continue the work of sowing as we reap where we did not sow ourselves.
OCR (early August)
Learning from these lessons from our missions project, our church rekindled our prayers. We were about to welcome in new University students as classes started up and with over 300,000 college students in Singapore, of which nearly 20% are international, we had the urgency to pray that this next generation of students’ lives would be transformed by the Gospel.
So, what did we do during our annual week of welcoming in new students (our church calls this “Operation Campus Reach” or “OCR” for short)? Our small OCR team prayed as we shared the Gospel and met people. Praying for these relationships to continue – but more importantly, that the students would grow into a relationship with Jesus.
(some church members with new students, seeing some of the sights in downtown Singapore)
Tomorrow, we kick off new LIFE Groups. LIFE Groups are smaller biblical communities committed to living out the Gospel by understanding the Word of God, obeying God, and making more disciples.
This is unique for us because previously, our church has been in a pattern of meeting only on Sundays for times of Bible study, discussion, fellowship, worship, and hearing Bible teachings. Since May, we’ve steadily transitioned into meeting mid-week for our LIFE Groups so that we can meet right near our workplaces, encourage one another in the midst of a workweek and invite our classmates and coworkers too!
What to do now?
Jesus told his disciples:
2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go…” (Luke 10:2-3, NLT)
Jesus had his disciples pray that God would send more disciples to reach out to more people, then Jesus sent those very same praying disciples.
Pray as we continue making disciples!