Sports have always been a major part of my life. Basketball, baseball, football, soccer. It didn’t really matter as long as there was a ball and competition, I was in. This is how I was raised. My Dad was my little league baseball coach and later my high school basketball coach. Spring, summer, winter, fall, my brother, uncle and cousins were always playing some kind of sport. One of the most beneficial aspects of this upbringing is that I learned at a young age the value of teamwork. The team with the best player rarely beats the best team. If you work together as a unit and play as a team you are better together than the most talented player on the other side. This truth gets proven time and time again. In last 20 years the Naismath Award for college basketball’s player of the years has only been awarded to a member of the team who won the National Championship 3 times. In team sports it is without a doubt true that we are better together.
This is one of the reasons I was so excited about Converge adopting this motto a few years ago. One missionary, one church, or one pastor can do a lot. But when the body of Christ around the world works together for the glory of God, we can accomplish so much more. This truth was made evident this past year in our ministry in the Middle East. For a little over a year I have been a part of a weekly bible study in the home of a Syrian refugee family. Over the course of that time Ahmad* and Aisha* have both committed their lives to Christ and grown significantly in their faith. The church as a whole has had an eternal impact on this family as they have left their Islamic past and embraced Christ as the one true Savior. This alone would be enough for a great story, but God has not stopped with this one family in this one place.
As we were studying the life of Christ we came upon the story of a woman who had a bleeding problem for 12 years. But when she heard Jesus was coming by she rushed to meet him and upon touching his robe, she was healed. The power of Christ to heal came forth at just a touch of his clothes. When Aisha heard this story she immediately thought about her sister. Her sister, Nour*, had been living with a similar problem for many years. Aisha told us that night that she would share this story with her sister. Now, Nour lives in Germany but her and Aisha speak regularly over the phone. That week, while speaking to her sister Aisha shared with her about how Jesus healed a woman in the bible with the same struggle that she was currently enduring. This simple act of sharing a story opened up more opportunities for Aisha to tell Nour about Jesus and about the church they had been attending. Nour wanted to know if there was a church like that in Germany. Certainly there was, but Aisha didn’t know anything about Germany. So she asked me if I knew of any churches in Germany that her sister could go to and learn more about Jesus. Well, I didn’t but I did know someone who might. I contacted a Converge colleague who had spent many years in Germany and was well connected to the evangelical community there. Through him we were able to identify a church in the same town where Nour lived. Later she boldly decided to go to see this church. Now, Nour was still relatively new in Germany and her German was very weak. No one at this church spoke Arabic. But what Nour told Aisha was that she had never felt so welcomed and loved in such a short amount of time. The body of Christ in Germany loved her just as the body of Christ in the Middle East had loved her sister and her family. Some ladies in the church are helping Nour to learn German and she has started bringing her daughter along to help translate what is being said. Oh, and since that time her issue of bleeding as been steadily improving and is almost a non-issue at this point.
God is transforming lives all around the world. But one missionary in one place is not enough. Our world is more connected now than it has ever been. We, as the body of Christ, must also stay connected and work together for one purpose, to glorify God through Jesus Christ. We truly are better together.
Help reach Muslims in the Middle East with the love and message of Jesus Christ.
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