This passage from Acts chapter 4 has been on my mind since Easter as I've seen and heard about increasing opposition to Christianity here. I can't share a lot of the details of what this opposition looks like but I can tell you that, like the early Christians in Acts, the church here in East Asia will "continue to speak God's word with all boldness". Our Sovereign Lord is aware of all persecution experienced by His church. In fact, there are many examples throughout history of God using persecution to grow the church and I believe this is one of those times. Every time Christians are persecuted for their faith they have an opportunity to imitate Christ's suffering during his earthly ministry and demonstrate the joy that a relationship with him brings. Ultimately those who oppose God who "made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them" "plot in vain". God will be known and worshiped in East Asia.
Recently we have been using a new tool to help us share the gospel and have spiritual conversations with friends. From their website -
"Story of the Soul is an outreach experience that seeks to bridge these gaps for the modern East Asian student. In this outreach, we seek to explore universal themes (such as forgiveness, beauty, or disappointment) through film, music, literature, art, and popular culture. As we introduce and discuss these themes, the goal is to build bridges from students’ individual stories to the story of the Gospel. During each event, we interact with media pieces such as movie clips and songs, and spend significant time discussing them in small groups. We discuss the common heart-longings represented by these media pieces and relate them to the message of Jesus."
Our team has hosted two of the events (pictured above) and they have been very encouraging. Students have opened up and shared about personal disappointment and pressure from societal standards of beauty. Their worldviews often don't have a satisfying way to address the pain that disappointment and beauty bring, but the gospel does. Would you pray with me that these students would see that God offers them a hope that can withstand any disappointment? That what they strive after when they try to measure up to cultural standards of beauty is a love that God freely offers?