When I received a friend request from a man wearing a topi I was intrigued. I thought, Why would he be friending me? After checking out his profile to make sure he was a safe person I friended him. I always examine my friend requests before I accept them. I try to say yes as much as possible because I use my social media for ministry.
The next day he wrote on one of my posts to pray for his country. I asked for the name of this country, and he shared it with me. I wrote it down in my prayer journal and started praying the next day. That night I received the longest message in messenger telling me about his people group.
I learned that the there is 0% literacy among the women and that the men have less than 2%. They take care of cattle and cotton crops. They don’t have tv’s, radios, or Wi-Fi and no Bible is published yet in their language. I also learned that the women are not allowed to use cell phones or in their culture there is no need to do so. They are truly an oral culture.
He then asked me, “Will you disciple my wife in Bible storytelling?”
He shared that he prayed and asked God to give him someone that would teach his wife so she could disciple their women because he realized that if they don’t teach the women the Bible then their culture would never change.
I found myself asking God, “God is this my person of peace? Am I to do this?” and immediately I heard in my heart a resounding, “Yes!”
My response was, “Here I am, LORD!”
We set up a time to meet. Late at night for my husband Greg and me and early morning for them. Now three months later and sixteen Bible stories, this couple is like family to my husband and me. We cannot wait for our Zoom calls and are eager for messages about what is happening in their lives.
Somehow GOD in HIS sovereign will chose us to go to a place we never thought possible to make disciples through ZOOM of all things.
We use several different methods as we train: conversations, stories, questions, art, stick figure drawing, graphs, and PowerPoint slides.
Sometimes Greg and I are up early, and they are up late. We change the time based on the rhythm of our needs, but we remain faithful to giving the Word of God as accurately as we can orally so they can hear the Scriptures in their heart language.
Greg or I tell the Bible story and then our friend interprets it to his wife so she can hear it. Then she repeats the story back and he interprets it to us so we can tell if she understood correctly. She then meets with five to eight women from five different villages on Friday nights and tells them the Bible stories. They tell them back to her and she checks to make sure they know it. They then go home and tell people the Bible stories in their villages. The women then report back stories of what happened. It is a circle dance of listening, sharing, teaching, listening, sharing, teaching with questions mixed in to help us all understand.
The NARION theme for 2021 is Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be communicated to all nations.” (Mark 13:10).
Our theme is ALL NATIONS BY ALL MEANS!
As I prayed God put on my heart four words that we should remember.
The first word that God put on my heart is PANTA TA ETHNE! In the great commission God gave us the command to go to all nations by all means.
All Nations is the PANTA TA ETHNE. There are debates among theologians on whether this word represents the geography, the anthropology, the linguistic, or the Gentile. But in the scheme of things all agree we must go and if someone doesn’t know then we must find a way to get the Scriptures to them in their heart language.
According to the Joshua Project 41.8% of the world’s population in completely unreached with the message that God so loved them that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for them! And if you add up all of the columns except the significantly reached 77.4% of the world’s population needs more people that are willing to say, “Here I am!”
This bring us to our next word Hineni (Hnaynee) which means “HERE I AM!”
It appears 17 times in four books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Samuel, and Isaiah).
My friend that contacted me over social media was willing to use social media to reach out to the nations for help! He was willing to ask me if I was willing to say, “Here I am! I will go to the nations!” He was willing to ask me, when culture would say, a man should not ask a woman for help. He went ahead and asked. He recognized that God was urging him to do so, so he obeyed.
Hineni is about a call and response.
The CALLER…. GOD
God is seeking our full attention for His purpose.
The RESPONDER… us
We have a to make choice.
• Am I willing to sacrifice?
• Am I willing to obey the call?
There is great risk in saying, “HERE I AM!”
Think of Abraham with Isaac.
Think of Joseph searching out his brothers before they threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave.
Think of Moses facing his past as a murderer before he could lead the nation out of bondage in Egypt.
Here I am with ALL of ME!
Here I am ready to face whatever is before me!
Here I am to do whatever You lead me to!
Here I am to go wherever You tell me to go!
Into the unknown
Embraces needs of others
Dives into the deep
Is willing to do God’s circle dance
Our dear sister Nancy Wilson is a person who lived out Hineni! Nancy served as a Global Ambassador with CRU on the StoryRunners team. She traveled the globe as she surrendered to her Hineni. Nancy visited over 70 countries. She lived out “Here I am” for the nations. She used many methods to reach others. She was an incredible storyteller. She used her clothes as an opportunity to tell stories and draw people into conversations. She used prayer, events, books, and speeches. Nancy used everything at her disposal to reach the nations.
We want to take a moment to recognize her and say we miss her. We celebrate the life of our dear friend Nancy. Nancy lived out a beautiful circle dance for Jesus all over the world.
Which leads us to the next word.
Marharal. Marharal is the Circle dance!
It is what Miriam did when they crossed the Red Sea!
• The Circle dance celebrates our connection to God and to each other.
• The Circle dance is about movement.
• The Circle dance is about unity.
o In the Circle dance each person will move through the circle from person to person taking the next person’s place. Together moving in unity! You are never stationary and you are never alone!
• The Circle dance celebrates in community.
• The Circle dance is focused on God! He is at the center! The movement is not about the one moving, but the one with whom we encircle! We are all dancing for His glory and praise!
As I listened to this description at a wedding recently, I thought, “What a beautiful picture of ministry!”
We each play our part and we keep moving in unity as we seek to follow our “Here I am” LORD call.
We cannot do this alone! We must do this together and we must do it through many ways.
This leads me to our last word Multi-modal.
As we go to the nations with our ‘Here I am’ response and join the circle dance we must be willing to use whatever means possible to reach the unreached.
Multi-modal is using various methods, strategies, or modes of communication in order to increase meaning.
• Adaptive to the audience
• Uses the senses
It is Biblical…
• Miriam choreographed a group of women to sing, dance, and worship the LORD with hand drums.
• David Danced in the streets.
• Ahimaaz the son of Zadok ran to get a message to David.
• Isaiah used poetry to point us to the Messiah.
• Jeremiah smashed jars as visual aids to show the people God was going to smash them.
• Nehemiah shook his robes to show that this is what will happen to the ones that do not follow through with their word.
• Jesus used parables and questions. • Paul wrote letters.
In God’s call to the Nation’s, it is about using whatever method will help the person develop understanding and meaning when they hear the Word of GOD!
I love how God’s message has been communicated from so many different methods! It is never about the method! It is about JESUS and reaching the people with HIS message.
We are here today not to compete with one another, but to celebrate one another as we go to the nations in our unique, “Here I am” with whatever method, strategy, or mode that works to get people the gospel message!
We celebrate you and thank GOD for all you do!