“… in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:15)
I’m recently back from Thailand and Mongolia. Two of the UFM couples I had the privilege of spending time with there, are pressing on in their third decade overseas, as confident today as when they first set out, that God uses ordinary people to do his extraordinary things. It was a joy to see the impact when God helps his people to shine in a place for many years.
Returning from living in an Asian city to a small English market town was a shock for me and the family! Alongside late summer evenings, and huge aisles in the shops, full of bakery and dairy products, we were struck by being able to look up at night and see, not a grey, dull smog, but a sky of stars. The longer we look, the more we see.
As Johnny & Ann look back over many years in Thailand, they can share countless stories of little seeds sown that God made grow. The more they reflect, the more stars they see! There’s the young student of 15 years ago, just elected to parliament to shine for Christ there. Or his contemporary, appointed head of the Thai Christian Student movement (think UCCF in Thailand). Or the Afghan refugees who, via Norway & Pakistan, saw Christians shine like stars and now shine themselves. Praise God!
To keep shining, you’ve got to keep speaking
Mark and Gill were facing a long train journey to their home city in Mongolia, when they came across a fellow Brit looking not a little lost.
It would have been easy to smile and walk on, but God prompted them to speak.
As the conversation unfolded, they shared the gospel. And that was that, they thought. Years later, one of their supporters was at a baptism service in the UK. A young woman shared her testimony of first hearing something of Christ on a railway platform en-route to Mongolia! What an encouragement … if we want to keep shining, we’ve got to keep speaking of our Saviour. Let’s pray for all in the UFM family of mission workers, churches and supporters, that we’d go on doing that!
Shining more brightly than you think
Whether serving Jesus at home or abroad, most of us have wondered if we can really make a difference. It’s a question Emily Foreman asks in her story of sacrifice in mission in Africa, We Died Before We Came Here. She writes: “A single light bulb in the lighting aisle at the hardware store makes very little impact, but the same bulb lit in a place of utter darkness makes a huge impact.”
Friends, take heart! As you follow Jesus and speak for him, you might be shining more brightly than you think.