Jesus Christ’s command to “go and make disciples of all nations” is one that is familiar to His followers. The Great Commission is a driving force for our church planters across the globe.
But David had not been trained as a church planter or Bible study leader. In fact, this young man from Bulgaria was just in the process of discipleship himself, going through Bible studies at his church. However, David did not let that stop him from obeying the Great Commission’s call.
David’s discipleship studies at the church were interrupted when he received a temporary job opportunity in Spain. He wanted to continue to know God more, so he packed the series of study booklets and Scripture materials to take along, intending to study by himself.
When he arrived in Spain, though, David found that he desperately wanted others to know the life-changing truth of God’s Word. So, he made photocopies of all of the materials and began studying the Bible with non-believers around him! A friend from David’s home church in Bulgaria hopes to come to Spain to help pastor and nurture the group, facilitating further discipleship.
As new believers soak up the truths of God’s Word and learn how to be Christ-like, to serve, to forgive, and to live daily in the presence of their Savior, more disciples are made and the Gospel continues to spread to the ends of the earth.
David’s story is a good reminder that we are all in the process of discipleship, working to know God more and align ourselves with His plan. Every day provides new opportunities to share the Gospel. We never know exactly what God has in store for us, but we must always be ready for the moment He tells us to move.
“Small things can make a difference,” says Mark, one of our church planters in Serbia. In fact, it is often when seemingly small needs are met that God opens the door for lives to be renewed through Him.
As the winter season set in, Mark’s small church in a poor area decided to host an event for the local children. Donated winter clothing was gifted to many kids in the hope that they would be provided for during the frigid weather.
The event was a chance for the church to socialize with the community and draw families into a building they might otherwise avoid. Mark was able to connect with several families. He began to make home visits, hoping to build relationships and bring families into the fellowship.
Mark quickly realized that many of these families were living in dire conditions. Almost all of the people he encountered were without electricity, living by candlelight, often in sub-zero temperatures. Mark was extremely concerned about the circumstances of these new friends and decided to do something about it. With the help of other churches, he was able to provide basic necessities like light bulbs, batteries and other winter provisions.
“By doing this small thing, I found open doors,” he tells. Not only has he been able to meet material needs, but God has opened the door for spiritual progress in the lives of many. Mark now has the opportunity to regularly visit homes and share Christ with entire families. Already, many of these families have expressed a desire to be part of, and even host, home groups.
Mark continues to be in awe of how God works. He notes, “Time and time again, we see that small things will make a difference in furthering the Kingdom of God.”
“Before I came to Christ, my life was okay on the surface. It seemed like I needed nothing. But deep down I knew my life was not what I wanted it to be,” Pastor Lak Soeuy in Cambodia remarks.
He came from a family that practiced Buddhism. “I tried to follow Buddha’s teaching and do good,” he says. “But what I tried to do in Buddhism still did not change my life.” Things got even worse when he began practicing witchcraft and sorcery.
Pastor Lak lost grandparents during Pol Pot’s reign of terror, executions and starvation. His family was able to escape to a United Nations refugee camp in Thailand, where he first heard about Jesus Christ. But he did not understand. As Cambodia prepared for its first elections in 1992, Pastor Lak’s family returned, and he received a Christian booklet from someone. The words touched his heart as he read, but he still didn’t understand.
A few years later, a Cambodian friend came to visit and explained how Jesus Christ died to redeem us from the power of sin. “So I prayed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” Pastor Lak tells. “My life has totally changed since I made that decision. I feel I have a purpose and direction in my life now.”
God called him to the ministry of preaching the Gospel, and many people have received the Lord as their Savior through his ministry. After attending seminary, Pastor Lak was sent out to start a new church in Takeo Province. Now, this church body is self-sustaining, and they look after poor widows, children and families as well.
In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves as coordinator for our partner ministries throughout Takeo Province, which is the equivalent of a state in the U.S. This involves working with local churches to train individuals how to start new churches and lead Bible studies to disciple believers. Pastor Lak also handles the logistics of providing the Scriptures and Bible study materials needed for these ministries.
Pastor Lak’s decision to follow the Lord not only changed the direction of his life, but changed the lives of so many others as well! God is using him mightily to make a broad and lasting impact in Cambodia.
Linda from China was 29 years old when she gave birth to her daughter. The little one’s arrival brought complete joy to the household. Family was on hand to celebrate and care for both mother and child.
For a few short weeks, Linda’s life was blissful. But, her happy home quickly turned chaotic. Her precious baby girl began crying often, day and night. Linda soon found herself exhausted and heartbroken for her daughter.
More than once, Linda and her husband brought their baby to the hospital, only to be sent home when the doctors deemed her completely healthy. At her wits’ end, Linda prayed to the many idols in her home. When this yielded no results, she went to the hospital again. And, again, the doctors could find nothing wrong with Linda’s daughter.
While Linda was speaking with the doctor, the baby slept peacefully in her arms. This prompted her doctor to suggest that perhaps something in the home was causing the baby distress.
Baffled, Linda and her husband did the only thing they could – they went to stay with Linda’s parents. In the new environment, their baby girl resumed her happy, relaxed demeanor. It was the first night in weeks that Linda slept.
Hearing of Linda’s struggles, a cousin called to offer love, support, and something new and wonderful – the Gospel. During the phone call with her cousin, Linda’s heart began to change. As truth was spoken to her wounded spirit, she felt a hunger to know Jesus. Within the span of a single phone call, Linda had renounced her old religion, repented of her sins, and accepted the salvation of Jesus.
That same day, Linda and her mother-in-law removed all of the idols from her house. The family moved back in and began a new life and new journey of faith. Not once since Linda and her family removed the idols has her daughter suffered from the bouts of crying. Linda’s little girl serves as a testament to the entire family that her faith is anchored in a God of grace and tremendous love.