Jesus’ Appearances in Missionary Work
With the annual ‘Easter/Resurrection Day behind us, it is good to remember that the Lord’s Day (Sunday) is a weekly reminder for us, too, that Jesus lives. It is easy to forget that vital point when we get caught up in all the holiday bliss. The fact that he lives still needs to be told outside of the sanctuary. Each of the gospels provide information of Jesus’ indoor and outdoor evangelism within Israel; each of them also explain in great detail his death and resurrection from the dead. In addition to the Gospel portraits, The Acts of the Apostles offer accounts of post-ascension appearances of the King of Kings: Stephen saw Jesus just before his stone-stricken death (7:56); but Christ appeared to Paul in a vision to inform Paul that he was not alone (18:9-10). Of course manifestations like these are helpful in missionary efforts. They certainly are encouraging to all those who learn of them. Each appearance proves that the Lord continues to labor in harvest fields around the world, even if/when we are unaware of his covert operations.
On account of these acts, short-term and long-term missionaries have reason to rejoice. I often hear of stories similar to the ones noted above. Several years ago I was in Ankara, Turkey preaching at a fellowship filled with missionaries. During the trip my host and I spent an evening with a number of the workers in that country. Always wanting information on what God is up to on foreign soil, I pulled one worker aside privately and inquired of him, ‘what are some of the supernatural things you have heard of recently there in Turkey?’ This question was a delicate matter. I was in a prominent international church, which often includes some missionary personnel sent out by denominations who yet teach ‘cessationism’: i.e., the idea that miracles ceased with the death of the last apostle. However, the man to whom I was speaking rattled off one story after another regarding appearances of the Lord to Muslim people in dreams and visions. Divine help, oh what a blessing!
I praised God at what I had heard because two decades prior, when I lived in Istanbul for 16 months, the overseer of our fellowship was a Turk who had been formerly a Muslim, until Jesus appeared to him in his small village home and told him to go and purchase a Bible and to read the Gospel of John. The gentleman had never met or seen a Christian. He definitely had no idea that a Christian bookstore was anywhere in the vicinity.
These notes are merely another form of encouragement to all WMF members who are involved with missions of any sort. My exhortation is simple: keep praying and believing. Press on; do not be discouraged. Do not let burdensome monetary concerns and health matters frustrate the grace of God now at work in you. Quite naturally one may think ‘it is easy to write these things when you are not facing my predicaments’. True, but Apostles and Pastors face various issues in their attempts to raise funds for missionary projects. Monies that are needed may or may not be available to them when the ‘need’ is greatest; traveling ministers too feel constrained by budgets often. Still, believers are commanded by God not to fret, and to remember that they are not alone. The Lord of Hosts is on their side, actively working behind the scenes and as stated in scripture, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Use your faith!
Director of International Missions
P.S. For correspondence specifically related to WMF missions, you may email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.