C and K are in a college city in East Asia that has over 160,000 students on 13-14 universities. C says, “We’ve recently completed our Christmas season full of parties and activities. We had around 150 students attend Christmas parties where the true Christmas story was shared. From that our team has been following up with interested students and has seen 16 place their faith in Christ. We’ve also been blessed with seeing a few of our students really step up and take the lead in helping younger Christians grow.”
C goes on to say, “We’re excited about the prospect of several students joining seeker studies and even the potential of these being led by some of our newer brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re also excited about getting to begin some mercy related projects with students, specifically getting to help an orphanage and children’s hospital. Some of our girls have already had the chance to participate in ministering with students in this way. We’d love prayers as we prepared to end our semester and send students home to potentially hostile environments. Pray that these students would be able to stand firm in face of pressure from friends and family who do not understand. Pray that the students would be bold and even share with their families at home.”
I am posting this from the Denver Christmas Conference. So this week we will have a guest writer: Keith Bubalo. The following are Keith words… unedited of course since he's my boss and I want to keep this WSN gig.
A cold New Year’s greetings from Orlando! It’s actually going to freeze here tonight, the coldest night since 2003. I know some of you hit that your first month on campus. I’ve been thinking of you often these past several weeks. I know the end of a semester brings a lot of fatigue. Combine that with the holidays, and sometimes this can be a pretty tough time of year for a leader and his/her team. I wanted to let you know that all of us in WSN are so proud of you, for how you take on challenges each and every day in proclaiming the great news about Jesus. This is no small thing you have entered into. As if the cultural, emotional, and physical struggles aren’t real enough, there is also the reality of a spiritual struggle that is going on all the time.
I was reading yesterday in Matthew 11 about John the Baptist. He was the new Elijah, preparing the way of the Lord. He ended up in jail, and was asking for a little confirmation about the identity and ultimate success of Jesus’ mission (and his own.). Jesus response was strong affirmation to John: the sick are being healed, the gospel is being proclaimed, it’s all happening just as it should…including the jail chapter of your life, John. So stand strong, don’t stumble and quit on Me now.
I don’t know what each of your personal or team experiences were this past semester. More than likely it was a mix of the stunning work of God, and some low points that had you asking “what are we doing here anyway?” Many days were perhaps just…tedium and persistence. Don’t worry. That’s all pretty normal, whether you are overseas or on campus in the US. I’ve had those thoughts for 28 years in ministry. So did John the Baptist apparently. So why should you not share a big piece of all the drama?
It’s all part of a vicious, intense struggle for the advance of the Kingdom of God in the lives of each person and in the ultimate transformation of the world around you. In fact, verse 12 seems to indicate a pitched battle is taking place, people shoving their way into the kingdom and others trying to keep people out. And guess who is right in the middle of this spiritual mosh pit with forces pulling in every direction? Yep, that would be you, oh Stint Team Leader. Take heart though, for He is greater than all the powers of darkness. Stand strong in that truth, His truth, as you consider your role in the next few months. Do not shrink back from all that God has put on your heart. And thank you again for accepting your role for this year.
If you’d like to stay up with what I’m hearing about God’s work with students around the world, or His work in my own life, you can catch me “On the Global Road”, where there’s always plenty of free coffee. And feel free to send me stories of how you see God at work. I’ll be glad to post it there.