Many countries around the world are considered “closed” to the saving message of Jesus Christ, especially in the Middle East and some parts of Asia. In some of these nations there are harsh penalties for sharing the Gospel. But there is no such thing as a “closed” country to the Lord. Revelation 3:7 says of the Lord: “who opens and no one will shut.” The following story is a good illustration of this.
A man, a Christian Missionary, stood in a juvenile prison in one of these hostile Central Asian countries. It had taken a special favor to get him there. When entering the prison his phone and his passport had been taken from him. In the room with him was the army Major of this prison and also the Major in charge of all prisons in the nation. The man was totally at the mercy of these authorities. In this country, there is a specific law that says the Gospel must not be shared with anyone under the age of 18. In the room were 35 juvenile offenders, all under the age of 18!
The missionary thought quickly. He could share a watered down, generalized, “safe” message about making right choices and that there will be better days to come, so hold on, etc. But when he looked into the eyes of these teenagers and saw “35 broken, distant, lost pairs of eyes, I couldn’t ignore their hopeless stares.”
So he began to share his own story, of the wrong choices he had made as a teenager, of the trouble he had gotten into and how lost he had become. The boys began to listen and even the guards moved closer to hear. “So I continued, and talked about how in the bleakest moments of my life Jesus had brought light into my darkness, joy where there had been only sadness, forgiveness where there had been regret and hope where there had been despair. I offered them all the opportunity to allow Jesus to bring the same transformation to their life that He had brought to mine.”
When the man left, his phone and passport were returned to him and there were no reprimands from the authorities, even though the missionary had just violated their law. He got into the car and the Major of all the prisons got in with him. The Major asked if his story was real. The man replied “yes” and the Major then said that he was a Muslim but was open and searching. He then asked if he would consider helping with all the 18 to 20 year old soldiers across the nation. “Nobody cares for them,” he said. “I like what you stand for. Would you care for them?”
What had begun as an open door to a single prison has now been widened to encompass every army barrack with 18 to 20 year olds, because “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26b)
God is indeed building His Church and He invites us to be a part of it. Your Church can take part both by sending missionaries and supporting those who go. In this way, an entire congregation can share God’s heart for the salvation of the whole world.
*Story extracted from Youth For Christ International World Changers news letter, dated March, 2 2013.