It was 60 years ago. It was in the remote mountains of western China. It was about the Lisu people.
This is the setting of the book: Stones of Fire. Following the story of one young Lisu girl and her husband through marriage and parenthood, it brings out again and again the moral through the following statement: Principle shot through with passion, passion held by principle. Picture it like a wall of principle with an arrow thrust through it but held in place.
Isabel Kuhn and her husband, and a number of other missionaries went to Lisu land as missionaries from as far back as the teens of the twentieth century. They worked hard to spread the gospel in the mountains and valleys of Lisu land. The Lisu people were animists, unbelievers in God. But these missionaries brought the message of salvation to these unbelievers. Their hard work resulted in numerous baptisms through the years.
Today this country is closed to foreign missionaries. But because of the hard work of the Kuhns and other missionaries, 80% of the Lisu people in this country today are Christians. Because of the sacrificing labor of missionaries who took advantage of the window of opportunity to reach that people group…
There was a day when the Lisu tribe was unreached, but not today. There are many people groups today that remain unreached just as the Lisu were before the missionaries came to their mountains. A few are restricted and hard to access. However there are many people groups today for whom the window of opportunity is open, just as it was open for the Lisu people 60 years ago.
We have begun a new year. Consider for a moment the possibility that God may be calling you to go and work in an unreached people group… This year may be the window of opportunity for that people group. If He calls, will you go?
“Oh yeah, you got one alright.” The father said as he took the pole and started reeling in the line. I was sitting on the bench on the wooden dock standing over the water of the bay. A man was fishing behind me on the shore with his daughter of perhaps 8 years old. She had her own little pole and had hooked a fish.
The father reeled and reeled and soon the fished popped out of the water. He unhooked it and kept it.
This got me to thinking… There’s a saying that goes like this: Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
There is a spiritual lesson to this. We can fish all our life and gain many souls for Jesus. But if we teach them how to fish, then they will be able to go out and gain many more souls for Christ.
Jesus has called us to be fishers of men. He needs us not only to fish, but also to teach others how to fish. The more people we train to fish for souls, the sooner He can come back to this earth.
“I’m not interested. Thank you!” A sweet asian lady said at the door. She wasn’t interested in my books. She didn’t want anything that had anything to do with Christianity. I guessed that she was probably a Buddist, or perhaps another eastern religion.
“Ok. That’s fine. Would you be interested in helping us with a donation to help us through school?”
“Ok. Let me see what I have.” She replied, closing the door and disappearing into the house. She returned with $10.
The wires in my head started connecting the dots. This was my first canvassing trip, yet I had just discovered a strange dicotomy. Most of the people I visited weren’t interested in buying books, and most of them simply weren’t interested in even listening to what I had to say or helping with anything. Some would help and get books, and some were really interested and wanted one or more books as soon as they saw them. But the majority of people I met just weren’t interested at all.
America is a Christian nation… At least we think of ourselves as a Christian nation. But what were Christ’s values? Jesus was generous, considerate, kind, tender hearted, loving everyone he met. The people I met at the door were so much different! Most of them wouldn’t even give me time to finish my canvass. Being a Christian means being like Christ.
If I were to say that the Buddist lady was more like Jesus than most of the Christians I met, I might take some flak from the Christian world. But isn’t it true? It is what I experienced. And it’s not just one Asian lady that I met. I met several, and the experience was nearly always the same. But this is because helping and doing good to others is part of what these Asian religions believe in. What about Christianity? Isn’t this what we believe? Is it what we do?
Will you join me in taking the name of Christian seriously? Will you join me in making it a point to be Christlike even when you don’t have time? even when you don’t feel like it? even when every part of you screams no? Will you do it not because you will earn your way to heaven, but because its what Jesus did? Will you join me?
It’s been 6 years since I first became involved in overseas missions. I have no regrets for doing so. I’ve found many blessings and I’ve grown in many ways.
These years I’ve spent differently than most young people do. From age 20 to 25 is when most young people are in college or university studying hard and trying to figure out what they want to do with their life. But for me, I decided to spend those years, the spryest of my youth, differently. I spent them in gaining experience overseas, in learning by practical experience, growing by doing. I spent those years in the foreign mission field, doing whatever God set before me. I learned as much as I could, and did as much as I could. I felt the call to missions, and not only that, but to involve others in mission. The work is more than I could do, so I worked and still work, to spread the word of the need among the people of God. I didn’t spend every one of those years overseas, but I spent every one of those years involved in overseas missions in some way, mostly recruiting missionaries and working to spread awareness.
As the years have gone by, I have realized that my youthful vigor is being spent. I have at times stretched myself beyond what I thought I could do. I have seen God use me, such an impure vessel as I am, in His work in wonderous ways. As the years have gone by I realize that in some ways, my youth is going by as well. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I still have many years that I can serve for God. It’s just that I have to be more careful not to push myself too much.
I have largely taken the position that I don’t need a college education to be useful in God’s work, and to find opportunities to be used. I have found this to be true in my experience. I have found so much work to be done that I can’t do it all; I can’t even do a little of it. What I can do is less than a drop in the bucket. The opportunities out there are far more plenteous in comparison to the workers available. However I realized recently in my own experience that considering what I was doing, namely management, that I could be much more effective if I knew more about what I was doing. I’ve never thought it was bad to go to college, but it has been a little shift for me to decide to go to college.
I have no regrets in spending my spryest young years in the mission field instead of college. One of the main reasons I did so is because that is the way that God led. He clearly led me to the mission field, and led me to be involved in missions when I wasn’t actually there. Now He has clearly led me to college. And I know that wherever He calls me, He will always give me the strength to do whatever He calls me to do. I have no regrets in spending my all for Him.
“So close!” My house mate cried out as he fell. Just mastering the unicycle, his words could have been easily misunderstood.
Again he was off on the wheel, taking off across the grass. “So close!” he shouted again as he fell.
But it was a bit of a joke. He was falling on purpose. Some of the others had tried to ride the unicycle, but they couldn’t ride as well and fell right away. Then the joke started when my housemate tried to fall just like the others… It was so close. He almost got it right! Again he tried, he almost fell right, it was so close again.
If this sounds pretty light hearted, it is. But how many of us, God’s professing people, go after the ways of the world, trying to fall just like them? How many of us are obsessed with trying to fall just like those in the world? Why do we think it’s cool? Do we take seriously God’s call to follow him? Or are we light heartedly making fun and following the worldlings as they go in circles?
I believe God has a higher plan for us. A much higher plan! He has an infinite plan. He desires us to follow him implicitly, doing everything just as Jesus did, for He is our Example. If we would do this, what a representation of Him that would be!