Mission field next to your door

Talking about Good News in Vienna
It is quite obvious for us that throughout the Bible God talks to us about mission. We are getting more acquainted with missions’ through the text of the New Testament. But at the same time we understand God’s care for mission from the pages of the Old Testament. I was gladly surprised to find places like that even in the book of Psalms. For example, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Ps.32:8) or “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?” (Ps.30:9). These quotations make us think about the meaning of our life. What is the sense of being a child of God, nation of God or Christian? We are called to life of mission! It looks like this is direction in which God is transforming His people. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.” “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (De.4:5-8)
My time in Austria was very productive in studying and outreach. I spent a day in Vienna sharing the Gospel with different people. Mostly I interacted with them by the means of a brochure in English produced by “Focus on the Family”. Some were open and some were not. I managed to distribute 12 brochures on family, crisis pregnancy, abortion and teen’s questions. In the process of conversations I talked to people about salvation in Jesus Christ.
Talking to teens in Vienna
I have also discovered that sometimes God is bringing the mission next to your own door. I prayed for God to provide me a unique opportunity to share the Good News of the Kingdom here in Austria. God is faithful and   he answers indeed when we ask according to His will. When I had time in Baden the Spirit of God led me in a special way to spend some time alone walking on the streets of Baden. I noticed one lady, who spoke some German to herself walking down the street. The first impression suggested that there was something wrong with her or she was trying to find something. I stopped walking and the lady started walking towards me trying to ask something in German. In turn I was trying to communicate with her in English. She was not able to understand much of it which is not a fault on my part. But she mentioned that she can speak Russian, Slovak, Czechs and Georgian. 
            We quickly and gladly broke out the conversation in Russian. It turned out that Klara (lady's name) is from Georgia (Republic of the former USSR), citizen of Slovakia now who is working in Baden, Austria. Her family is back in Slovakia - teenage daughter and husband. It is observed fact that many people from the countries of EU which belonged to so called “Socialism Camp” found a way to make an income in Germany and Austria. But I was really shocked having known the number of such people here. There are about 60,000 people from other countries working only in Austria. This is quite a mission next to your door. These people are struggling in many ways physically and emotionally. They need to be served.
            The conversation with Klara ended up by her receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ and praying sincere and open prayer of repentance at the downtown Baden. I have her contact and pray we will be able to find a Christian fellowship for her in Baden. I pray Christ will transform her life and her family. I would like to thank all who is supporting my time in Austria by means of prayer and in many other ways.
Klara and myself in Baden downtown


In the workshop of the Great Master

Christ in the House of His Parents, John Everett Millais
When you have a desire to create something it means that you have an idea of it already in your mind. It is also important to transfer your ideas to people who are involved in your project. Often it takes time for your people to grasp your ideas or your intentions. I suggest to walk into the Stradivarius workshop. "Stradivarius lowers a piece of wood into a tub with strongly smelling liquid. He is taking time to wait. Having taken it out, he looks at the piece with craving attention. He starts to recognize invisible earlier and clearly seen now very thin lines. His face is getting brighter. With love and care he caresses a damp piece of wood and starts moving to the workshop. Disciples have already gathered. His sons Omobono and Franchesko are among them, with gloomy, still sleepy faces. They speak about something in a low voice. Having heard their father’s wide and heavy strides, they lean over the desk and are trying to look at something very attentively as if they are studying it. Stradivarius enters the room very excited.
-         Here it is - that is what I need. This piece of wood will sing. You need to hear it, listen - it sings.
-          Franchesko, - he has called the elder son, - come here my boy – Do you hear it?
Franchesko with a hesitant look of a disciple approached the father. The grey haired elderly man has put a piece of wood on a shoulder as if he is holding a violin. He started to hit it very carefully with a bow, attentively listening to a sound and looking at son’s face."
   This story tells us that our Master has a plan, a design. You see, sometimes as disciples we have difficulty in understanding our Master. Sometimes we are not attentive enough. Sometimes we are not careful enough. Sometimes we are just board or stubborn. But the Master continues to work with us. He devotes his time because He has a plan. He has a design and wants it to be completed. His intention is to open it for his disciples. He knows how to do it. He also knows what is needed to be explained at first.
  Let us look at Jesus and consider the following two passages from the New Testament. Mtt. 15:21-28; Lk. 9:52-56
 "A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."  He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."  "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down."
  In this passage the way Jesus acts is very surprising to the eye of a quick reader of the Bible. How come that Jesus, Who always fed the hungry, healed the sick, showed mercy and care to everyone who asked for it at this point, in this case shows to be absolutely reluctant? Even His disciples reacted, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
  Jesus knew what his disciples needed. Jesus knows what we need also. They needed a lesson and He showed it to them. "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
   How come that this Jesus speaks to the women like that. It is hard to hear these words for our own ears. It was also hard for the disciples’ ears as well. And also, probably very painful for the woman.
  The woman does not lose hope, gives the interesting and very wise answer to Jesus. It may look like that Jesus looks at her and smiles before she is ready to give it. As a result she receives what she asked for.
  Disciples should have learned from Jesus’ lesson that Good News is for all people. Even very unimportant and neglected. We should learn this lesson also. Shall we? Another passage in Luke tells us how disciples learned the lesson.
"And sent messengers before his face and they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem And when his disciples James and John saw [this], they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save [them]. And they went to another village. And it came to pass, that as they were going in the way, a certain [man] said to him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (Lk.9:52-57)
  Does it sound similar to us? It seems like we do not understand … at times. We see that Jesus sets forth the goal of his ministry.For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save”.  Today, there are in the world:
  • 4100 nationalities practicing Islam and these is 900 million people
  • 2700 nationalities profess Buddhism, and these is 536 million people
  • 1000 nationalities professing Buddhists have not heard the Gospel
  • 32 % of the population on earth did not have a chance to hear the Message of the Good News
    When we look at the financial side of the matter across the USA which we have available today:
    • 96 % of the finances collected in churches go on their own needs
    • 3.5 % - spent on the evangelism to already reached nations
    • 0.5 % - spent to the nations without a church
    God’s desire is to gather atoned people for His Kingdom. The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of this.
    “ After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands”. (Rev.7:9)
    This a picture of what God sees. This is the way God calls us to step in on the Great Commission.
     Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ” (Mt.28:19)
      Now we begin to understand what God desires in this world, in His workshop. We understand the design, the plan and purpose of the Great Master. As disciples we need to watch what He does. He has it in  His mind and in His heart.
    1) Master has a plan in mind. As Stradivarius has already seen a singing violin so God sees the redemption of many nations through the people of Israel and the church.
    "The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran." (Gen.12:1-4)
    Jesus sends 70 disciples as if it has a parallel with the number of nations known at that time.
    “ After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” (Lk.10:1)
    2) Master gets us involved. As Stradivarius got disciples involved in his work, and God gets us to take part in His plan.
     When I do something with my daughter I get her involved into the activity which I have in mind … My daughter learns it in the process of working together.
     We are co-workers with God.  “For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.” (1Co.3:9)
    3) Master trusts His work to the disciples. One way or the other there will be a point in life when Master will have to turn some of the responsibilities into the hands of His disciples. He wants to be sure that his business, his skill will not be lost but instead will develop further. The Master thinks about it often. He lives for that. Sometimes He is concearned about His disciples. He is worried about His workshop, His church. He is sad to see sometimes:
    · A table without the reclining
    · A fig tree without fruits
    · Planting without a harvest
    · Harvest without workers 
    · the sheep which is lost
    Are we getting skilled with the Master’s design? It depends on how we know our Master. Let us read one more story.
    "Once a stranger has come to a workshop of the Master.
     - He understands something, - the master has thought. - though, it simply can be an  accident … it does not look like that. He was so confident, so sure on the violoncello which he wished to buy. The master was worried and timidly said; - This instrument is not on sale.
    It was designed for a quartet with the violin which the master was just finishing.
    - I will be very generous with payment. I hope this instrument is the best you have made.
     With a heavy heart the master sold the instrument. He did not like this stranger. Probably he is a collector of any kind, - thought the master. Really, it is better to sell the instrument to a musician for less so that the instrument would play and live. But the collection - dead business.
    However,  the money has made the business. The instrument was gone.
     Several months have passed.
    Stradivarius worked with enthusiasm and did not recall on the stranger anymore. And he probably he would forget about this meeting and the quartet, if once …
     Somehow, one night Stradivarius could not fall asleep. Turning from one side to another he suddenly remembered that he has forgotten to close a bottle with a varnish in which he has added some chemicals. The varnish could get spoiled.
    Having got up, the master went to a workshop. The key, the lock has easily turned, and the master saw the shadow of a stranger. The master has lifted a lamp, and in its light has shown the man who once bought a violoncello.
     - What do you do here Seigneur? - Asked Stradivarius
     The stranger’s name was Domeniko Sakkini. He used to be a cabinetmaker and has acquired the decent capital. But it did not bring him satisfaction. He was not pleased with it. He wanted to be famous. He was vainglorious. He explained that he bought that violoncello to disassemble and to understand the secrets of the master. He assembled it back but it did not sound as original anymore. Therefore he returned to find the secret.
      - There must be a secret, - said Sakkini. That is why I am here.
     - You, you scoundrel, you have spoiled my violoncello - how you dared?
     - No, I did not, you will glue it back together it will sound the same again.
     - It will never sound like it used to be. Stradivarius has taken a pause….
     - Well, okay, I will glue it back together it, it will sound as my best violin
     - You have the best violin? -  Surprisingly asked Domeniko
     - Yes,  the master has answered. Do you want it see it? Do you want me to show it to you? It is here and here. He pointed with his finger to his head and to his heart."

    To understand our Master and fulfill his design successfully we need to pray to have it in the heart and mind. Let the Lord bless us as we fulfill His desires!