What’s Your Village?

VillageLet’s go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also.
That is why I have come. (Mark 1:38)

Perhaps you know a missionary with a passion that inflames her heart. Or you have read stories of men and women who exhibit holy restlessness “until everyone knows someone who knows Jesus.”

Jim Elliot lived that way, finally dying on an Ecuador beach near a village at the hands of those who thought he was an enemy. In addition to the lives changed in Ecuador because of Elliot’s death, perhaps he is best described by some of his now famous quotes:

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.
I couldn’t have asked for more than God in deliberate grace has surprised me with!

Warren and Diane Willis lived that way in Mongolia, in plunging winter temperatures, when the country was barely emerging from the control of the Soviet Union, with only five known Christian believers in the entire country in 1993. Warren used rattling Russian trucks, with nonexistent springs or shock absorbers to take the JESUS® film to countryside villages where nomads traveled long miles to be introduced to the Jesus who spoke their own language. Today, through the efforts of Warren and Diane and hundreds of other passionate people who captured Jesus’ goal as their own, there is a strong, established and nationally led church in Mongolia.

Zeb and Irene were another such couple. Zeb first sensed God’s call as he read a National Geographic article about the Tuareg people. After nine years in Africa, Zeb and Irene finally arrived in Niger in 1945. For another six years, until the government granted permission to go to the Tuareg, the Zabriskies trekked from village to village in the Niger desert—often by camel or donkey—working, waiting, hoping for a breakthrough in the ministry to which they felt called. Today the Tuareg people (Sunni Muslims) remain highly resistant to the gospel, but a Zeb-like missionary, following a friendly relationship of three years, was recently able to lead three of these men to Christ.

I’m not a Jim, Warren, Diane, Zeb or Irene—and I suspect you’re not either—but there still are nearby “villages” to which we called to go as followers of Jesus. Your village may not be a spot on the map. Maybe it’s a group of people where God wants you to develop relationships. An acquaintance participates as a volunteer with the local symphony as a way to bring the aroma (and sound!) of Christ to that specific village where there are people with her own passion for music. When a couple here in town retired to a community, Kathy visited nearby condo units, inviting neighbors to a Bible discussion group. Today a thriving Bible exists in that village. One of my husband’s villages (he has several!) is the gym where he talks to staff and fellow exercisers. Or maybe your village is a skill or talent that needs to be developed, sharpened so you can be more the whole person God has created you to be.

God has arranged His church in such a way that all His work can be done in all His ways by all His people gifted with all His gifts.

 

To think about: What are your specific gifts, interests, hobbies? How can you become involved with people who enjoy similar activities? What talent do you have that you’ve dreamed about developing? “Go into all the world” is a command never rescinded.

 

 

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