Global Missions

The Laborer and the Harvest

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:35-38, NKJV

When discussing the measure of a kingdom, Pastor Calisto explained that the Kingdom of God and God’s influence is not limited to demography or geography. As we see in the Bible, Jesus proclaimed the Good News and healed diseases and infirmity in all the cities, villages and synagogues. His work was not limited to the synagogues. Similarly, as co-laborers with God, we should proclaim the Good News and minister healing not just within church buildings, but in our cities, villages, and workplaces.

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A Professional in the Marketplace

Whenever I used to read this verse in Matthew, I dutifully asked God to send laborers. I prayed and gave generously towards ministries that increased the number of believers because in my mind, the solution was in numbers: the church and those in ministry are to lead people to Christ so we can have more people preaching the Good News. As a professional in the marketplace, I – myself, did not actively participate in the harvest. To me, my work was secular and my involvement in the church was spiritual. I worked to make a salary in order to support spiritual work.

Another way to put it is that I had adopted a dualistic view of Christianity; I was a part time Christian practicing my faith on the weekends. However, as ambassadors of Christ, Christians are always on duty. What does this look like? From Matthew 9:35-38, we learn that Jesus was moved with compassion for the throngs of people he met because they were weary, confused, aimless, harassed, distressed, dejected, helpless and scattered abroad like sheep without a shepherd. These adjectives are not limited to the people of Jesus’ day; they also describe the status of people at our workplaces.

Compassion and Action

I cannot help but recount the number of times I turned a blind eye to the plight of my colleagues. My mistake was that I did not see my job as my calling and my workplace as God’s field. This was also evident in my attitude towards my work: One day I was asked to give a five-minute exhortation in church. I remember spending hours praying and studying the Word of God. I prayed that the congregants would be ministered to. However, when it came to my job, I only managed a short one-minute prayer before going to work. I rarely prayed for my colleagues and never asked for a harvest of souls in my workplace. However, I can only imagine the kind of transformation that will occur if I approach work in the same manner as a church speaking engagement.

Convicted by the passage in Matthew 9:35-38, I conducted a heart check, reviewed my priorities, repented for my hardened heart, and prayed for realignment to God’s heart. An effective follower of Christ must be moved with compassion and as such, I prayed that He would give me compassion for my colleagues. This compassion is not just about the heart; it also demands actions. As such, my priority has shifted from working to finance ministries executed by others to me being the one to actively minister to my colleagues, pointing people to Christ.  

Jesus asked his disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the field. God has answered this prayer! He has sent you and me into a myriad of sectors: into the fields of economics, education, politics, transportation, hospitality, media, entertainment, the arts, sciences, in the home, into church ministry, and so on... ALL these fields belong to Him! Out of compassion for those in our sphere of influence, He has specifically and intentionally placed you where you are to preach the good news and minister freedom.

So what do we do?

As professionals, we need to realize that we are full time Christians and co-laborers with Christ. – that our work is a calling and our workplace is a field with plentiful harvest. We need to understand that we are part of God’s Kingdom and we must submit to his agenda. When we consider our jobs, it should not only be about earning a good salary to live a comfortable lifestyle. Romans 14:15 states that the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! Wherever we are, people should be set free and walk in right standing with God. However, this can only be made manifest if we change our attitudes towards work by praying and being led by the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we will become effective and fruitful laborers implementing Kingdom agenda.

 Would you take a minute to consider the state of your heart? The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.

Veronica is part of our first Nairobi Cohort. She works in administration at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). She studied Literature and Linguistics at the University of Nairobi Kikuyu campus and serves at her church in youth ministry, evangelism and discipleship. Veronica promotes marketplace ministries and shares the Gospel, particularly among women and the youth.

Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours: Reflection from GCG

By Esther Chengo

Global Cohort Gathering (GCG) 

Every year, cohort members from different countries gather for a global leadership retreat, where they participate in trainings and also get to be mentored and network amongst each other. The 2019 GCG was held in Los Angeles, and the theme was ‘Catalyst for Gospel Action’. Cohort members looked through the lens of Christian leaders and professionals who are implementing the hope and truth of the Gospel in some of the massive and well-known areas of their cities. 


Reflections 

Participating in the 2019 GCG was quite a wholesome learning experience for me. Listening to speakers such as Bethany Hoang talking about God’s passion for justice and for the vulnerable, and His invitation to join Him in the same space as He brings wholeness and restoration. 

As part of the program, we got to visit a mission in Skid Row, Downtown LA and do a prayer walk in the district. This was my first time to interact with homeless people living in tents on paved streets.

As part of the program, we got to visit a mission in Skid Row, Downtown LA and do a prayer walk in the district. This was my first time to interact with homeless people living in tents on paved streets. 

As we walked down the street from the Mission, we passed a set of tents, where in one tent, I heard a spirited shouting match between a lady and a man, with the lady pleading for the man to stop. 

While still taking this in, at the street corner, we walked straight into a birthday party! There was a young lady, turning 30, and she was dressed in a pink dress and a tiara, surrounded by her family, listening to music and dancing. When they saw our group, they asked us what we were doing, and we mentioned we were having a prayer walk in the area. So, they asked us to pray for them, and our team leader directly asked me to pray for the birthday girl. Incidentally, having turned 30 just weeks before, I felt that God couldn’t have mistakenly chosen me to be the one to pray. I thought about my realities, I thought about hers. Being 30 and probably wondering what the decade ahead would bring. And I prayed for her. 

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We continued with our prayer walk. Most of the people I saw in or around the tents were senior citizens. No young children were in sight that day. Some were sleeping in their tents, others were seated on mats outside their tents, others were listening to music, others were having a meal, others were deep in conversation, while others sat and stared into oblivion. The prayers continued. 

After a couple of blocks, we got to a street corner, and I saw my first ever soup kitchen. There was a church that was distributing food, and I took note of this particular elderly lady. She wore a tea-length dress that had seemingly seen better days. She was pushing a hand cart with one hand and with the other, she held onto her jacket potato meal. The hand cart probably held all her possessions, as she seemed to have a tight grip and sharp eye. 

She walked slowly toward our group, and stopped right next to us. And she asked if she could sing us a song! I looked her in the face, and immediately faltered. Half of her face, from her eyes to her shin, had been scalded. Yet, the beauty of her smile caused the rest to fade away. And she sang a song about how Jesus loves her. Could have been the renown “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me…” but I was moved. How could she sing about God’s love, yet her only assured meal was the one in her hand? How could she sing about God’s love, yet she has probably been judged by those she met even before she opened her mouth to speak? How could she sing of God’s love, yet her tomorrow was so unsure? How could she sing of God’s love, yet her family had probably deserted her? Where did her confidence come from? How could she sing the Lord’s song in a Strange Land?

As I asked myself these questions, before I knew what was happening, this lady opened up her arms and drew me in for a hug! It was so spontaneous, it could only have come from the heart! She then hugged two other people in the team, and turned and continued pushing her hand cart, as she walked away limping. I could only think about when her last hug had been, and when her next would be. And the prayers continued.

I see no better way to end this reflection, than to quote from one of the GCG theme songs that Sharon Ma led us in: 

“Heal my heart and make it clean, Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
Show me how to love like You have loved me;
Break my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause;
As I walk from earth into eternity.”
— Hosanna, Hillsong

Esther Chengo is our Nairobi Project Coordinator and works at HESABIKA.

Durian and the Gospel: Stinky Stench or Appealing Aroma?

By Sarah R.

Have you ever visited Asia and seen the “No Durian” signs in hotels and airports? Or have you had the chance to taste this “King of Fruits”, as it’s belovedly called here in Malaysia? It seems for those of us living in lands where this spiky fruit grows high up on trees, and falls to the ground only between 12midnight - 4am, one either clearly has an aversion to the smell and taste, or an addiction, never getting enough. In our own family of 7, we have 3 hard core durian “LOVERS”, and 4 that would prefer the fruit to be kept outside of the house when it’s consumed. One could go as far as to say that the aroma of durian is either an aroma that brings life, or an aroma that brings death.   

When we first left our hometown for a predominantly Muslim, metropolitan city in Asia 15 years ago, a friend prayed that we would “spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him” among those we befriended and did business with. Our friend was referring to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ amongst those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?”

As we assist Resource Global this year in exploring what God may have for the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we are praying that future cohort members would carry the aroma of Christ amongst the leaders and influencers of this diverse and strategically poised land.  Recently in a conversation with a top Malaysian marketplace leader here who has worked high up in one of the most prestigious and powerful companies of this country, he made the comment that too often “faith and work initiatives in Malaysia can use the lingo of conquering the marketplace for Christ.” He went on to share how he feels this perspective could be a mistake.  Instead of aiming for conquest, should we instead ask for God to make us an aroma?

In this very religious country, what is needed is not necessarily simply preaching of the gospel but living out the gospel in our daily lives, before our co-workers, neighbors and friends.  It means showing with our actions, more than with our words, the love of One whose love never fails. It means having the aroma spread out in unexpected ways, pointing to an integrity, a sense of character, small choices that speak loudly.  To some the gospel will always be a stench, perhaps like durian is to those who don’t like durian.  But to others, the gospel shown and “smelt” through devoted lives, will be the aroma of life.

Sarah and Jesse R. are our City Directors in Malaysia to see if we can start a Resource Global Cohort in 2020 or 2021.