Project Prayer: Ramadan 2016 - Day 24
Day 24: Counting the cost
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
Trekking into Indonesia. (Photo by Rendy Bayutrilaksono)
The Middle Eastern man sitting in front of me had tears in his eyes as he shared what he had lost. He had surrendered everything of value — in a worldly sense. He had given up his wife, children, parents, and family; his home and job; and his place in a Muslim culture and society.
But his tears were not for the loss, but for what he counted gain. He had Jesus.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21.
The tears in my brother’s eyes were one part joy and one part desire. He was asking me to pray for him so that he could lead other Muslims to Isa.
I was humbled by this request, which was made in Indonesia in 2007 but remains as close as this moment in my heart.
We have little or no idea what some people must give up to come to Christ. Many probably do not even realize what must be surrendered by those devoted to bringing the lost to our Good Shepherd.
A pastor friend (and member of Climbing For Christ) knows the count. He is part of three generations of missionaries, and he is preparing himself for the sending of the next generation — his daughter, son-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter. They will GO to a Muslim people.
He is “extremely grateful to God” even as “the tears are flowing rather freely.”
“I can hardly stand the thoughts of losing them from our lives,” he shared. “I know when we went to serve on the mission field we did this to our parents, but I didn’t realize how hard this would be from this end of it.”
Of course, those who are GO-ing must fight through the same emotions. But I know from experience that it is probably more difficult being left behind.
As with most jobs, there are risks involved in this Good News delivery business. GO-ing to the ends of the earth is, on the one hand, no different than going to work or school in your backyard.
Anthony Parker, in his story “In Harm’s Way: Reflections on Missionaries and Risk” for Evangelical Missions Quarterly (January 2016), discussed the risks of living. “All of us encounter risks every time we get out of bed in the morning,” he wrote. “In reality, we would encounter risks if we remained in bed all day. Risk is unavoidable, and those serving cross-culturally deal with many of the same risks as those who remain in their home cultures. Cancer may arise regardless of where one lives. Transportation always involves risk. Relationships are risky. Everyone lives with risk.”
There’s no denying it — or hiding from it.
Life is risk management in real time and I have come to recognize the need for proper preparation. In C4C, we call this effort at readiness preparing physically, mentally, and spiritually. The latter is particularly vital to the health and success of the sent one.
“Missionaries need to consecrate themselves, prepare for spiritual battle, and be supported by an army of prayer warriors who care for them and who minister to their spiritual and emotional battles,” Parker wrote in EMQ.
That’s one very important reason for this Project Prayer: Ramadan 2016. Not only are we praying for our Muslim friends and neighbors during this holy month, but we are lifting the workers who are or will be called to GO and preach the Gospel truth among those in Islam.
As we said from the outset: “30 days of prayer and preparation to preach the Good News to the Muslim world.” Thank you for sticking with us during this journey.
Climbing For Christ will be undertaking several Evangelic Expeditions to Muslim nations in the months ahead. We covet your prayers in advance of and, most especially, during these mission trips.
May we prepare ourselves properly for the work God has prepared in advance for us to do. May we be ready!
“It begins with spiritual preparation and prayer,” Parker wrote. “Do missionaries truly desire to follow Jesus wherever He leads? Do they have an intimate walk with God that enables them to hear God’s voice through scripture, the counsel of others, or the still, small voice of God in their hearts? Are they leading holy lives and putting on the spiritual armor that will protect them (Eph. 6:13-17)? Along with personal spiritual preparation, missionaries should seek to be adequately supported by a community of faith who will pray for and minister to them.”
That is one aspect of those called to be members of Climbing For Christ. It is our prayer that God puts a burden on the hearts of our members to PRAY, GIVE and GO. Pray on!
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” — Luke 14: 27-28 (ESV)
- Day 1: Introduction to 30 days of prayer and preparation to preach the Good News to the Muslim world.
- Day 2: Understanding Islam, part 1 —Allah and his prophet.
- Day 3: The honor/shame culture, part 1.
- Day 4: Sharing the Gospel, part 1 — Truth and love, no compromise.
- Day 5: The Muslim unengaged.
- Day 6: What’s so radical about loving Muslims?
- Day 7: Entering rooms in the House of Islam —Pakistan.
- Day 8: Entering rooms in the House of Islam — Nigeria.
- Day 9: Entering rooms in the House of Islam — Turkey.
- Day 10: Understanding Islam, part 2.
- Day 11: Sharing the Gospel, part 2 — Simply Jesus.
- Day 12: Overcoming obstacles, part 1 — Family, fear, community and tradition.
- Day 13: Something is happening! New ways for new movements.
- Day 14: Entering rooms in the House of Islam – East Africa.
- Day 15: Understanding Islam, part 3 — Beliefs and duties
- Day 16: Sharing the Gospel, part 3 — Persevering in prayer.
- Day 17: The honor/shame culture, part 2 — Who I am.
- Day 18: Overcoming obstacles, part 2 — A history of conflict and contempt.
- Day 19: Muslim extremists — praying for our enemies.
- Day 20: Entering rooms in the House of Islam —Indonesia.
- Day 21: The honor/shame culture, part 3 — For His purpose.
- Day 22: Sharing the Gospel with Muslims, part 4 — A growing opportunity.
- Day 23: A sacred stirring – Muslims coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers.
- Day 24: Counting the cost.