Redemption comes in many forms, but this Easter, WorldVenture is celebrating the redemptive stories found around the world, in celebration of what Christ accomplished on the cross.
Transformation in Quebec
David and Julie, a couple living in Quebec, met Rob and Martine Karch after receiving Christ. Since then, they’ve led many more couples to Christ as well.
Before God revealed Himself to us, our lives appeared from the outside to be okay. We did what we wanted. In fact, we did what we were taught: “Listen to your heart! Listen to your heart!” The problem was that the hunger in our heart was like a bottomless pit. It was insatiable. Nothing could fill it! Even as we accepted all kinds of lies and lived sinful lives, we convinced ourselves that everything was okay.
One day, everything around us began to crumble. God clearly revealed our wickedness. We lied. We were hypocrites. We betrayed each other. We were burned out. Our finances were a mess. We were depressed.
The most difficult thing to accept was that all of these things that were slowly killing us were the fruit of our own decisions. God did not desire any of this. After all, we were “free.” But of what? In reality, we had declared our independence from God Himself.
We cried out with repentant hearts. We cried to Him! With many tears we plead, “Lord, please show us the way to You! We’ve tried to live our own way and the results were disastrous for both of us!”
We began a year-long journey. We tried to understand. We tried to forgive each other. We cried out to God. Finally, we decided to get married. Through all of this, our prayer remained constant, “Show us the way to You, Oh God!”
Unbeknownst to us, God had surrounded us with Christians. In fact, this had been the case throughout our lives.
One day, our friend David went and knocked on the door of one of these Christians. He planned to ask this man to marry us. Not only did he and his wife invite us over for dinner, but that very night they explained the cross! The living God! The one we had been searching for all along: Jesus Christ!
That night, we left with Bibles in our hands and excitement in our hearts. We felt like the most beautiful of all treasures was in our possession: the gospel.
Now that we have this full assurance in our Lord, it is a privilege, an honor, to participate in His work. He renews our strength every day. “For it is God who produces in you both the desire and the ability to act, according to His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
God filled the bottomless pit within us and planted a rich green valley. It is awe-inspiring to see our lives as well as those close to us transformed by the gospel. When people show up who are thirsty for the Word, it is an incredible privilege to guide them toward God. What an encouragement it is to see men and women give their lives over to God, so that even others may hear the richness of the Gospel!
Before we joined the church and met the Karch family, we had no idea that our people, les québécois were so spiritually poor. We had no idea that missionaries would have it on their hearts to come and share the gospel with us. This fact opened our eyes to the urgency of the situation in Québec. Almost everyone here lives and dies in deception!
Before coming to Christ, we had a very specific image of what a “man of God” looked like. This man was a priest, dressed in a black robe, condemned to a life of singleness, living all alone in a rectory.
We were shocked when we met this young family, PASSIONATE about God’s Word. They loved God so much that they left their own country. They toiled to learn a foreign language and culture. (And as a side note, Rob knows the history of Québec better than we do!). They established themselves in a land hostile to the gospel and persevered.
As we walk with Jesus, it is an encouragement for us to see what God has done through the Karch family. God has born fruit among “les québécois!”
Meeting Jesus in Mozambique
Rodger and Lynne Schmidt share about a young man who recently converted.
We have been working here on Mozambique Island now for a year and a half. During this time we have been working to build relationships, start a business, and very intentionally live with the people on the Island, praying God would begin to do miracles in the lives of these people.
Rodger has been teaching a weekly class for young islanders, focusing on business, relationships, how to be a good employee, and many other questions young Islanders have. He has been teaching to these felt needs using scripture, as it is the basis for truth in response to these important life questions.
One day during the teaching, one of the young men (name omitted for his protection) mentioned he had a teaching he wanted to give from scripture too. Rodger encouraged him to stop by during the week to talk about what he wanted to say.
He in fact did stop by and wanted to teach from Psalms. He had some good thoughts and his interest intrigued us. At the end of the conversation and his teaching preparation for sharing, he asked Rodger the question, “What do I need to do to become a Jesus follower?”
This was the first time anyone in this highly Muslim, animistic, highly religious yet secular culture had asked such a provocative question. It was a wonderful moment to share the simple yet costly response to his question. After a time of sharing from scripture, the young man made the decision to follow Christ. He told me he couldn’t pray because he had not memorized anything (this is the product of religion without personal faith). Rodger assured him by explaining, “Praying is like how you talk to me. You trust me, you love me, you feel safe, and you tell me when you’re happy and when you’re upset. Prayer is just like that. Just tell God what is on your heart just like you talk to me.”
Rodger prayed to give him an example and then the young Muslim prayed to ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins, proclaimed that Jesus died for him, was buried, rose again and ascended into heaven. He prayed, accepting Christ and also surrendering his life to Christ.
The prayer was simple, unrehearsed, not memorized, void of religious posturing, and dripping with childlike faith and truth. His life was changed forever.
We have been praying for a long time that God would clearly move in the hearts of these people through biblical truth, visions, dreams, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. And so it has begun.
The evil one is clearly at work and is very unhappy with this heavenly victory. We ask for prayer for the young man, but also for us. Pray that we stand firm in the light as the darkness seeks to destroy us, our work, and the lives of these dear people who desperately need Him.
Christ in the Cancer Ward
WorldVenture missionary Bola Taylor shares about her experience sharing joy in the midst of cancer treatment.
God has worked in incredible ways while I was in the hospital. I told them that I loved Jesus and that He was the one who was going to make me well.
First of all, I told all the nurses I worked with that I would like to make my room a room where joy and peace prevailed. I had Gospel music playing all day, and when things got tough, my kids’ Christian lullabies would calm me down as I struggled to breath or went through many painful procedures.
Many nurses just dropped by my room, whether I pushed the call button or not, just to chat with me as I always asked them about their families.
I know I have sown many seeds for the Lord in the month I was there. Dr. Tanaka knows I give credit for my wellbeing to God’s love for me. A nurse came and told me, “I want to have the power of Miss Bola.” I was able to encourage my nurse, a young working mother with two children, that she was doing a great job and praised her sacrifice to work as a nurse and still raise her kids with her husband. God was just so good to allow me to speak love, truth, and hope to so many that were there to give me relief and comfort on my difficult days.
I gave dozens of our CDs to all the nurses and my two doctors. They’re shocked that we do music. Some have already enjoyed His message of love to them. I know the Lord will use that in His own way.
Dr. Tanaka has joined with me in asking people to pray for us since I never fail to remind him that people are praying for him as well as my family and me.
The sacrifice of Jesus for me in the cross will never be the same to me ever. I felt pain this past month, but nothing compared to the pain He endured in my stead.
He has proven Himself faithful, loving, ever present in my many times of trouble. Oh what a Savior – what a Redeemer!
I stand confident that He will continue to complete the work He started in me, and my complete healing is in His hands!