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Unexpected Healing Service Among the Unreached

Here at the Missions and Prayer School (MAPS) we get the privilege of participating in the Great Commission by training and sending those who will take the Gospel of the Kingdom to unreached nations primarily in the 10/40 Window. Our students did just that this past spring as we went to Northern Iraq for a 90-day placement. Leah Mix and I led the team and we had many great opportunities to see the Goodness and Power of God as we ministered to local people in the prayer room, some Christian churches, and in refugee camps. Some of these opportunities our team has already shared about in earlier posts. In this post I will share one testimony from our work in the refugee camps.  

Three months in Northern Iraq presented many challenges for our students and leaders that gave us great opportunity for growth. Language, culture, diverse ethnicities, food, etc. were some of the wonderful changes that we had to adapt to. Often we ministered in refugee camps where the people that we engaged with had lost everything. Being faced with these circumstances we had to learn how to present the goodness, love, and hope that is found in God to a different culture with a different language.   

One of these times we went to minister in a refugee camp and a student named Zach, our translator and I met a group of four young guys in their tent to share with them about Jesus. As we sat there with them there was a young boy there and after I shared a word of knowledge for healing of the lower back the guys pointed at the little boy that the word applied to him. Words of Knowledge are a way that God speaks to those who believe in Jesus to let us know things that we could not know naturally by our own understanding or insight. I prayed for the boy and all the pain left his body. The small group was amazed by what the Lord did, word got out about the healing and little by little the tent was filled with people that needed healing and those who were just curious to see the power of God. One man came into the tent, looked at us, pointed at his shoulder signaling that he needed healing in his neck/shoulder/back area and sat down. When we got to him we found out that he had been beaten by ISIS because he had a Christian business partner and it had messed up his neck and back. Zach laid hands on the man’s shoulder and we prayed for him. He began to feel tingling all over his back and all of the pain and limitations that he had on movement were gone! The Lord healed this man, when we saw him the following week he was grateful to see us again and invited us to share with his family who had all heard his testimony! After this man was healed many more were healed that day in the tent and what had started as a small gathering of about 5-6 people turned into a tent full of about 20 people. We were able to preach the Gospel and many encountered the Lord.  

Zach also prayed for a man in that refugee camp who had a broken hand. The man was healed and we were able to stay in touch with him and share more about the Lord on a weekly basis. As we were returning to the states the ministry team that we were working with there messaged us to inform us that this man and his wife both gave their lives to Jesus!!!  

The Love of God transcends culture and language and God’s power was manifested many times as were were faithful to take His Gospel to the unreached. Our team witnessed healing happen many other times in these camps and in other contexts as God would bring hope to a people that had lost hope. Praise God!!! We know that the Lord will be faithful to move as we respond to His call to reach the unreached, as we take part in the fulfillment of His Great Commission!

 

Sebastian Angulo, MAPS Leader

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Israel, Islam and the Harvest

God has a spectacular plan at the end of the age. We must understand the continuity in Jesus’ leadership over the earth and over the nations if we are to understand how these three global issues relate to and converge together at the end of the age: Israel, Islam, and the Harvest. God has intertwined the destiny of the Gentile church, the destiny of those in the Muslim world and the destiny of the Jewish people together in a spectacular narrative that is going to play out on the global stage in the days ahead.

So I ask, did they [Israel] stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!… Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob” – Romans 11:11-12, 25-26 ESV

Israel bore the burden of the promises of God for thousands of years in order for God to bring salvation to all the nations of the earth. Now the church in the nations is bearing the burden of the promises of God for two thousand years that will bring bring salvation to Israel. Both of them will come to fullness in the generation of the Lord’s return.

This phrase “fullness of the Gentiles” is the greek word pleroma which can mean a few distinct things:

It can be used to describe the body of believers that is filled with the presence, power, riches of God and of Christ. It can also describe a container that is filled to the brim or a ship that has reached max capacity of passengers and personnel. Lastly, it can mean the completion of something or the fullness of time.

I think in Paul’s mind, all three of these meanings are applicable to this verse and dramatically shaped his Missiology. Our Eschatology must inform and fuel our Missiology. What did Paul understand in the plan of God for the earth that he would write “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of [Israel]. My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they would be saved” (Romans 9-10) and then just a few chapters later write, “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience–by word and deed, … and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.'” (Romans 15)

Paul endeavored to preach the gospel where Christ had not yet been named because he understood in the sovereign plan of God that his assignment to the Gentiles would lead to a global worship movement in all nations that would provoke his kinsmen according to flesh to jealousy. When Israel comes into her full restoration under the New Covenant, the whole earth will experience a restoration that Paul described as life from the dead

Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! … For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? – Romans 11:12, 15 ESV

When all the nations sing and when Israel receives her Messiah, “the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:9)

Where does the Muslim world come into play? Paul understood that part of the “fullness” that the Gentile church is going to experience is connected to Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:14. There in a fullness that is yet incomplete in the nations. That deficit is a witness of the gospel in every ethno-linguistic people group.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations [ethnos], and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:14 ESV

Again in Acts Chapter 1, when the disciples ask about the restoration of Israel, He does not rebuke them but instead redirects them to the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the pathway towards the restoration of Israel. 

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:6-8

There are approx 16,500 identifiable people groups or ethnos in the earth today. Out of all the unreached people groups in the earth, almost half (3,573) of them are located in the Muslim world. The population of the Islamic world is 1,537,185,000. 80.4% of those 1.5+ billion people have yet to hear a witness of the Gospel and the church has yet to take root among them. To say it another way, 1,343,613,000 Muslims have yet to hear and experience the gospel of the kingdom.

Jesus prophesies that there is a last great harvest to come in before “then the end will come”.

God has reserved this last great scenario to show off his glory, sovereign leadership over human history and his great mercy. If Matthew 24:14 is true, that means that we are about to see a grace come upon the church that has never been seen before on the earth. We are about to see God release a fullness on the church that will produce the greatest apostolic missions thrust that has ever been witnessed in one generation that will lead to the fullness of the Great commission that will graft hundreds of millions of Muslims into the covenantal promises though salvation in Jesus. The harvest in the Muslim world will prophesy and provoke Israel to jealousy and God will magnify the worth of Jesus in all the earth by taking the two sons of Abraham and reconciling them through the gospel of Messiah.

This generation of prayer and missions will have a holy bullseye on the Muslim world and a holy burden for the Salvation of Israel.  They will witness the destiny of the church, the destiny of the Muslim world to exalt Jesus through day and night prayer and worship, and the destiny of Israel to receive their Messiah and usher in the King to Jerusalem.

 

R.A. Martinez, Director of MAPS Global

7 Reasons Why I Permit My Teenage Daughter to Engage in Gospel Work in the Middle East

  1. She wants to. In our context, a typical mission trip to the Middle East amounts to this: spending hours a day in a small prayer room, declaring the worth and beauty of Jesus in worship along with asking Him to reveal His saving power to tens of millions of unreached Muslims; going into refugee camps to show the love of Christ to unwanted masses of people who previously have had no access to the Gospel; spending time in fellowship with a small group of indigenous believers. No trips to the ruins of cities in the Bible; no tour-guides describing archeological wonders from the ancient world. No awe-inspiring mountain ranges or quaint towns along the seashore. Not that I’m against a mission trip that happens to include beautiful vistas and hip coffee shops. My point is that her trips to the Middle East are appealing to her for other reasons and have none of the allure of other destinations. She is wooed by the Holy Spirit to a people group she has grown to love as she has prayed for them from a thousand miles away. This compels me to say “yes.”
  2. We’ve prayed. My wife and I have not heard the audible voice of God telling us to let our daughter go. However, through praying regularly over our children since conception, He has developed within us a God-given sense of future and destiny for each of them. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit” (Romans 8:16) on matters of ministry callings and assignments, among many other things. We’ve observed the activity of the Holy Spirit in her life through the years and believe that her desire to GO is in line with what He has been doing all along. No surprises. It’s more like fulfillment.
  3. Things are not always as they appear. When my daughter was fundraising for her first trip to the Middle East, we received a scathing rebuke from one of the recipients of her letter. Accusations of irresponsibility and gross generalizations about conditions in the region abounded, all of which were informed solely by headline news. In reality, the threat level was pretty low, based on real-time evidence provided by locals. The decision to send anyone, much less your own child, “into harm’s way,” should always be weighed carefully and measured against real threats. “No” is a valid option but one that should be exercised sparingly and with sober regard to the seeds it plants. Our general disposition toward sending missionaries to the unreached should be an overwhelming “yes.” The burden should always rest on the nay-saying voice within us.

  4. My own sense of conviction regarding the Great Commission and going to the unreached has matured. Over the course of several years, the Lord has plumb-lined my own life to the Great Commission, especially as it relates to taking the Gospel to people groups who previously have had no access to it. This has naturally poured over into the lives of our children as we’ve acquired a worldview that is just that: a WORLD view – an “other-than-us” perspective that challenges our personal comfort and preference for a safe and quiet life. We’ve partnered with missionaries, read books together about pioneering Gospel laborers, and worshiped over and prayed for nations and people groups. In doing so we’ve created a family culture in which sending laborers or becoming one yourself is the only right response to Jesus.

  5. We surrendered a long time ago. Our surrender has not been perfect, but it has been intentional and sincere, and it started when our kids were young. Every father and mother is familiar with the drive to protect and defend their children. We feel it when we teach them to ride a bike, when we watch them drive away for their first solo adventure in the car, and when they give their hearts to another in love. Believe me, we also feel it when they board a plane for the heart of the Muslim world. As parents, we have a responsibility to position that drive-to-protect under the leadership of Jesus and ultimately under the greater drive to propel them forward into fruitful Christian ministry. In these decisions we must adhere to a zero tolerance policy for the spirit of fear.

  6. Jesus said “Go.” The American Church’s reluctance to wrestle with the challenges and legitimate dangers associated with sending laborers to the unreached has yielded abhorrent results. We’ve propagated an attitude of indifference toward, and at an ever-increasing rate, actual opposition to the command of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations, which is the central mission of the Church. The American Church sends only 3% of its missionaries and only .0001% of its annual income to the cause of reaching those with no access to the Gospel. My daughter’s “yes” is one small drop in a very large bucket, but it has profound significance in a generation that is poised for awakening, revival, and commissioning to the nations.

  7. Eternity trumps temporal. Almost everything in me that says “no” to sending my daughter to the Middle East is rooted in fear and in the concerns of this age. Paul exhorts in Colossians 3 that we should seek and set our minds on things that are above, where Christ is (v. 1-2). The implication here is that we do and become what we think about most. The obsession of our thought life becomes the obsession of our being and doing. Fixing our minds on things that matter for eternity causes us to engage in activity that matters for eternity. When I put my fears about my daughter ministering in the Middle East on the scale opposite the eternal destiny of souls Jesus died to purchase, what is everlasting outweighs what is temporal.

Chris Carter, MAPS Global Pastor

 

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Why Send Praying Missionaries?

Throughout MAPS I have run into a question. Why would MAPS send missionaries with such a strong emphasis on building prayer in the nations? Even as I went to the nation of Iraq, a nation that has historically been torn up by war and was an active war zone at the time of my trip, there was the question of why would we spend so much time building prayer when we could be helping to meet the insurmountable physical needs? Were there not more important things to be doing?

 

As I faced this question, the words of the disciples surrounding Jesus at the table as Mary poured out her costly perfume echoed through my mind. “What a waste…” But I would beg to differ, you see if I can teach a nation to just touch the hem of His robe, then I know He will turn to them in compassion and heal their flow of blood. In a nation that has seen such bloodshed and violence, what is most needed is the presence of the Prince of Peace. We must teach the nations how to access the only One with the power and the authority to heal their immeasurable needs and crises.

 

See, the disciples were in the presence of Jesus, the One who is the Answer to the deepest needs of humanity, and yet they could not see it. They still sought the answer to their needs in money and in things outside of Jesus Himself. Yet, Mary looked at Jesus and saw His worth. She was more focused on the worth of Jesus and what He was doing in the earth than she was focused on the crisis at hand. She chose the greater thing, and was given something that could not be taken away from her. Jesus said to her that wherever the gospel was preached that what she did would be told in honor of her.  Jesus desires to find Mary’s in all nations, those who will recognize His worth and lavish their love on Him.

 

Beloved, we must come to realize that the greatest injustice in the earth is not abortion. It is not genocide, it is not rape and it is not poverty. For all of these stem from the greatest injustice of all. The greatest injustice of all, is that the worth of Jesus is not yet recognized fully in the earth, and that worship of Him is not the primary focus of mankind. Only when the worth of Jesus is recognized on the earth and when He becomes the primary focus of mankind’s attention will every other injustice fade from existence. Therefore, we must send missionaries who know the worth of their Beloved. We must send those who like Mary are willing to pour out their costly oil at the feet of Jesus.

 

Hannah Davis, MAPS Leader & Graduate