Playing for Keeps – The Unwelcome Mat
Key Bible Verse: I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me. – Colossians 1:29
Bonus Reading: Colossians 1:28-29
[Continued from yesterday] Roger Malstead and I smuggled Scripture portions and a printing press into the Soviet Union. But we got caught and were interrogated for two days. Convinced that we were religious fanatics and not CIA operatives, they expelled us at the Austrian border.
What is God doing? I wondered. I climbed a tree to get alone and spent the day in prayer. God showed me that my vision was too small, that my job was to mobilize the church, starting in Europe. He showed me how: bring people together for a summer, for a year or two, and send them on outreaches. Then send them back to their home churches and spread the vision.
In 1961, short-term missions trips were virtually unheard of. But it worked. The first summer we recruited 200 volunteers. By the second summer, our group had grown to 2,000. I moved to London, where we assembled a fleet of 120 old trucks. We crossed the English Channel, split up into teams, and drove out to reach the unreached. Within a year of my arrest in the Soviet Union, we were sending the USSR Europeans who spoke fluent Russian and could accomplish more than I ever could. [Continued tomorrow]
—George Verwer in Amazing Faith
My Response: How might I have answered the “what is God doing?” question after an expulsion?
Thought to Apply: Jesus did not come to make us safe, but rather to make us disciples, citizens of God’s new age, a kingdom of surprise.—Stanley Hauerwas (educator)
Adapted from Amazing Faith (Moody, 2003)
Prayer for the Week: Lord, I want to fully follow You, even when it’s controversial or risky. Please give me the grit it takes.