We have just completed our Changemakers series at Connection Pointe, where we heard so many stories of God’s work around the world. There is much to be thankful for as the Lord brings people into His Kingdom.
This week and next you will hear two more stories of God’s work around the world being done through two of our church members, Shane Christopher and Chuck Rapp. They both serve with OMS and they travel regularly to other continents to provide teaching and leadership to pastors and church planters. Next time you see them, take the opportunity to thank them for their faithful and effective ministry.
The Realities of Being Global | Shane Christopher
As we sit in our homes, contemplating what to do for dinner, the hard realities of being a church leader in remote areas of the world escape us. It is not a disinterest in others but the realization their plight does not traverse the miles or make it on the news.
One such story is of a man I met five years ago in the Philippines. He was newer to his role as a church planter and felt a bit overwhelmed. He had studied in Bible College and had the qualifications to be a pastor. JT was married and living in a more remote area of the east coast of Luzon. As a church planter he had some resources, but felt unworthy of his role. People would ask JT tough questions and he often did not have an answer ready. As he and I talked late one night he was encouraged in knowing it was all right not to know everything and that admitting it to others was not a sign of being unqualified.
JT soon started to take the time with others to learn the answers together. This type of transparency allowed JT to form a church. Over the next few years I would receive motivational messages from JT and saw him when I visited the Philippines.
This past June I received a different type of message from JT, asking for prayers. As we talked I learned their house church building had been destroyed in October 2018 by Typhoon Rosita. Since then they have struggled for a place to meet. With twenty-seven adults (plus children) it was difficult to find a place large enough. The one blessing was a member donated a piece of land for them to build on.
JT had reached out for prayer and guidance on how they could afford to build a church on the land. As an American it would have been easy to start asking for the funds from people I knew, but God put it on my heart to process ideas with JT. Through this we came to realize the church could raise support from their friends and families working in foreign countries. Soon they had an appeal letter and were in prayer for God to provide.
Over the past few months I have been encouraged as JT has sent me pictures and stories of the church working together to clear the land and begin the foundation. They still have much left to do and funds to raise, but through this they are becoming a stronger and more united church. I praise God for the blessing of knowing their story and being a small part of encouraging them. I cannot wait to visit next!