by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Only recently have I thought about the similarity between New Testament accounts of Jesus sending out his disciples to nearby villages announcing the Kingdom of God and present day missionary activity. (See Luke 10:1-23) The idea came this past Sunday when I attended a lunch meeting where members of a summer short-term team to Asia made their report to some of the congregation. And one of them might have said, “…even the demons submitted to us in Jesus’ name!” (vs.17) Exciting stuff!
This is an unusual team, maybe even unique. Mostly young, vigorous senior citizens (one member admitted to being 76) this group has been spending a month each summer for fourteen years, sent out by one of my supporting churches. It began almost twenty years ago when many members of this congregation signed a declaration that they would pray, give and go until the Lord raised up a church reproducing movement, taking this faraway, ethnic group out of the ‘unreached’ column.
This past summer was especially noteworthy. Let me summarize just a few of the details:
Our team worked with believers representing four Asian nations and spent time in ministry in three countries. In one capital city, they worked alongside churches that have joined in the challenge of reaching unbelievers in nearby and remote villages while carrying out ministry to city dwellers.
They spent a week at a children’s camp joining national believers and working with kids who speak little to no English.
A team from another country joined our folks for part of the time, adding the challenge of yet one more language within the team itself. This small group, coming from their homeland where the Church is under extreme pressure, even persecution, included a couple and their two young children. All four of them were eager workers, devoted to the Savior who sent them out. And this, of course, made the team dynamics all the more exciting and challenging.
Individual and small group counseling was part of the ministry. A woman, preparing to commit suicide, heard of the visitors and decided to see what it was all about. She encountered Jesus and decided to follow him rather than take her life.
A young boy admitted to having to deal with great fear. He could not even look in a mirror because he would see demons hovering near him; he was this sensitive to the dark forces of evil so prevalent in this region. Before the counseling session was over, he had put his faith in Jesus and reported that he was no longer afraid.
Representatives from a network of churches in one country met with our team to discuss how their fellowships could do ministry in Jesus’ Name among this unreached people group. Only twenty years ago, none of their churches existed and none of these folks had heard about Jesus.
Of course, I was glad to learn that a significant part of the month was spent in children’s ministry and that, this year, there were children on their team, making a difference in a very complex situation right along with their parents. Although no children were present at that luncheon meeting, I’m sure Sunday school teachers or parents who were there will relay this exciting report to their kids.
Just as I hope you will find it possible to relay to children near you something of this modern day, New Testament–like team and their adventures. You might start out with the story in Luke 10 because near the end Jesus makes a startling admission (verses 17-20). Then, full of joy, he praises the Heavenly Father, revealing a truth close to his heart that we would do well to respect.
“I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10:21