“Hearing people from 10 different countries worshipping God together in their own languages… that must be a little glimpse of what it will be like to be in heaven…”
In January and February, we took a team to Spain and Turkey to lead worship for conferences of missionaries. The conference in Antalya, Turkey, was for all of Cru’s full-time missionaries in a 10-country region (called ‘PACT’, which means Persian, Armenian, Central Asian and Turkic countries).
The comment above was made by a woman (whose identity I can’t reveal for security reasons) who serves in Kyrgyzstan. She’s Kyrgyz; in fact, most of the people at the conference are NOT Americans serving overseas. They are nationals who came to Christ as part of Cru’s work in those countries, who then joined Cru themselves to be missionaries to reach their own people.
And then, she completed her thought by saying “…and I am not sure I want to go back to Hell next week”.
We incorporated musicians and songs from many of their countries in the worship times (we had to learn a LOT of music on the fly!) and got to help people worship in their own language with their own music.
But it was much more than that – we gave them a gift they’ve never had before. For the people there – who come from countries in the Arabic and Turkic worlds, where wars are being fought and public bombings are a weekly event, this was the biggest gathering of Christians they had ever seen.
They had literally NEVER gotten to worship like that before.
And the conference, at 300 people or so, was smaller than many of our church services that happen every week.
Because of heightened security at the conference (which was even higher than normal because of a public bombing in Istanbul just a couple of days beforehand), we couldn’t take any pictures, so there’s no way to show you how meaningful it was for them. (The ‘photo not available’ graphic above is intentional, not a website failure. I literally do not have pictures!)
Truthfully, I am still unpacking the implications of all of that. I think this may be the most significant event we have ever served at, given the gravity of the places where those people are serving and the struggles they face, and the value of experience we got to create for them.
Please know that your partnership with us in the gospel is changing lives and reaching into areas of the world that direly need it!
In Other News…
We’ve recently gotten some very good news regarding Sarah’s concussion. Her neuropsychologist feels like she has made great progress and she is being taken off meds and allowed to go back so some limited physical activity. It’s a great bit of progress and we’re hoping for more good news in the weeks to come. Join us in thanking God for healing!