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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

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12,000 Feet Up And Nothing To Offer But Jesus

“Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands.”
‭‭- Isaiah‬ ‭42:10-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Do I believe that every nation and every people will sing to Jesus, this Bright, fiery-eyed Man whom I love? Do I believe that this Gospel that was first preached to the Jews is indeed the saving grace for all of the nations of the earth? Do I believe that what Jesus is doing in America is just a small part of His global plan for the Church? Am I willing to give up all I have known here for the sake of the world?

I don’t know the slightest bit about the nation of Nepal and the people groups that live here, but here I am 10,000 miles away from my home, climbing 12,000 foot mountains, on a journey asking Jesus to show me the place in His heart for people that I have yet to see or know.

This is what I was thinking as I hiked in my sandals on a rocky, dusty trail that weaves its way through the majestic and terrifying Himalayas. I was on my way to a remote village of Tibetans with nothing to offer but Jesus. I stumbled upon a carpentry shop where two men were carefully shaping pieces of wood with their rudimentary tools to fit together into a cabinet. Despite me not speaking a lick of his dialect, the shop owner motioned for us to follow him into his candle lit home, where he sat down to brew us tea.

We had an audio bible on an SD card, but his Nokia phone that looked like it was from the early 2000s could not read it. Yet we continued to talk. As he showed us photographs of his family and explained with the little English he knew that his wife had passed away years ago, our hearts grew in love toward one another. A flame flickered in the corner of the room and illuminated a statue of Buddha with an offering in front of it. As I thought of the pain and suffering this man has gone through, my heart hurt because he did not have Jesus to walk him through it. Yet I also had an immense sense of joy because I knew today he would be introduced to Jesus, my beautiful friend and companion who had led me here today.

My friend opened the door and sat down with our translator. As we shared more about our families and he, his, joy filled the room. After at least three rounds of tea, this man shared how he needed healing in his stomach and his knee. We took the opportunity to share the Gospel with him and pray with him. As we opened our eyes, he was smiling and said confidently, “I know your Jesus will heal me.” My eyes welled up with tears as I considered this simple, profound statement. He sipped some more tea and then declared “I will follow Jesus”.

My world exploded. How humble is Jesus that He was allowed me to participate in the declaring the Gospel to this man? Beyond that, He lets me see with my own eyes he and others coming to know Him. As I processed this experience, I could not help but reflect on how big of a heart and plan Jesus has for the earth. He was serious when He said that every people will hear of Him

I walked away from that moment with a new resolve. I don’t want to abdicate my chance to be part of Isaiah 42. I want to look around the throne room John saw in Revelation 4 and 5 when I make it up there someday and know that my life had a part to play in that glorious chorus ascending to Jesus. If that means hiking into remote places of the world or spending year immersed in a culture that is not my own just to get the opportunity to make Jesus’ name great, let it be so. There is nothing more glorious than a life laid down for the greatness of His name.

Luke Jeffery, VP of Finance and Operations

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Communities of Glory

“The glory which You have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You have sent Me, and loved, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:22-23

Community, or recently I have heard it described as Common Unity is the pulse of the Church. It is what every human heart yearns for, to be placed in a family where they are understood and appreciated. That we all may be one, just as the trinity is one operating as individuals but with the same heart and mind. Obviously, this is something that I want for the Church both the small expression that I attend and the bride of Christ represented throughout the world.

Where I have seen this best manifested are in groups that seem to be anything but similar, mismatched in background, race and nationality. I feel like the Lord does this so that we can take no credit with our cool meetings and exciting language. It is simply the love of Christ that is compelling us to be gathered together. I have experienced that unity first comes from being united with Christ, when we are abiding in Him we are connected to the glory that Christ has given us. Because of this, it doesn’t matter whatever outward expression is going on around us. For, as long as we are connected with Him we are able to connect with others with love and understanding.

Being perfected in unity does seem like a pipedream, in a world full of blog posts and shouting matches the idea of the whole bride of Christ being fully one feels a little far off. However, we have been given an invitation to this reality. Where the Lord invites us, there is always grace and a way to walk it out. We can be a reflection of the trinity of perfect love and communion.

We do this so that the world may know that Jesus was sent for them. This glory that we hold and this love that we can show is the community that the world needs to see so that they may know Him. May we be that community that is able to overlook an offense, that is able to love even when we have been wronged. We must ask ourselves, can a group of broken people carry such a heavy weight of glory that an outpouring of love may be shown to those on the outside looking in? I’d like to think so, because I have seen little glimpses here and there, some of these glimpses have been in little rooms in the middle of the desert and some have been more close to home in classrooms and sanctuaries. I see the kingdom coming through communities of glory.

Leah Grace Mix, MAPS Leader

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The Beginning of the Global Missions Mandate

Hermes, Abram and the First Mention of the Global Missions Mandate

Among serious students of the biblical text there are certain rules and standards put into place to ensure the reader is reading the text in a responsible manner. Some modern readers actually tend to read the biblical text and interpret it more like my eight-year-old interprets my fatherly instruction:

Eight-year old: “Daddy, may I have ice cream?”

Father: “No, son. You already had three scoops after lunch.”

Eight-year-old: “Great! So may I have Mama’s Haagen Daz?”

Scholars call the method of interpretation of a text hermeneutics, a fancy word that derives from the name of the Greek god Hermes. According to Greek mythology, Hermes was the deity that was the chief messenger to the rest of the gods; he would delight in the ambiguity of language and further delight when his interpretations would dialectically contain both truth and falsehood based upon the messages’ interpretation. Hermes would have delighted in my son’s interpretation of my response to his request for ice cream!

When it comes to biblical interpretation, one tool in our hermeneutics tool-belt is “the law of first mentions.” This is fairly self-explanatory. The first time a word, such as “light,” is mentioned in the bible it is usually pretty important and can serve as a key for understanding the word in the rest of the bible. This principle may also extend to key concepts and phrases.

So what is the first clear mention of the global missions movement in the bible? Consider the calling of Abram, a famous passage in its own right for the sovereign election of Israel and the “seed” from whom the serpent-crushing fulfillment of the promise given to Adam and Eve would find its family-roots:

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Lord’s command to “go” to Abram and the ensuing promise of blessing is not only God’s strategy for blessing the children of Abram and making his own name great but blessing “all the families of the earth.”

The devastating simplicity of Abram’s call connected with the global missions mandate is startling: if Abram does not go, the earth will not be blessed. The “going” necessitates a leap of faith that requires risk and uncertainty. The “going” always involves a “leaving” of one’s “father’s family.” This always manifests in loss. Loss of comfort. Loss of cultural identity. Loss of financial security. Loss of language. Loss of geographic familiarity. Loss of gastronomic persuasion.

The first mention of the global missions mandate involves faith. The first mention of the global missions mandate involves loss. And the first mention of the global missions mandate involves the intrinsic connection with reaching those in the nations. Abram is not going for his own family alone or his own name. He is going because his going is connected with the salvation of the “unreached” peoples of the earth. Otherwise the loss would not be worth it.

Hermes would not be happy. The interpretation is clear and not equivocal and ambiguous: the global missions mandate involves faith, loss, and the salvation of the nations.

Mark Kazmier
MAPS Academic Dean

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The Pruning of Time

Training can come in a variety of forms. Some believe that it is merely found in books, others in experience. I believe that true “training” can only come through a careful mix and balance of the two. But most of all, training comes through time. Time is the great test of all things- is the test of sustainability. Time is the test of fruitfulness; time is typically the greatest question or complaint when it comes to our program.

I grew up as the youngest of four kids, meaning that I always tried to race ahead and to excel as fast and as best as I could and my parents would always correct me saying,”Rome wasn’t built in a day.” And I’m sure, if you were anything like me, you have probably heard something to a similar effect as well.

When I left for college, I imagined that shortly after I would find myself in a solid career path and onto the next thing.

However, God clearly had other plans. While pursuing my degree in Global Studies and Biblical Studies, I ended up going through a crisis of faith – during which, I cried out to God to show me His love. He answered, and as I learned to rest and lay in His love, He began to whisper to me the plans and the destiny that He had created for me.

Like many young people, I thought that that meant that next week I would begin to walk in these “great and wonderful things”.

And like many young people, I was mistaken.

I had no concept of the test of time. I didn’t understand that a Great Pruning was coming my way, a pruning that would take a lifetime, a pruning that I am still in the midst of.

James writes in James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” God calls us to joy in the midst of our trials, even the trial of time.

He has made a way for us to gaze upon His beauty, a way for us to be fully captivated and in love with Him as we wade through the oftentimes daily monotony of life and time. We must fix our eyes and wade through the challenges of our current situations hopeful and secure that God is the Keeper of His promises to us.

I believe that most of our problems or frustration with time boils down to a lack of faith in the goodness and the glory of Christ. We doubt that He is able to keep his word and we rely on human wisdom as to how He may not be able to fulfill His word in our time schedule. However, if we read this passage from James we can see that God actually has our Best in His Mind. He desires us to be Perfect and Complete, lacking in nothing. This type of wording directly insinuates that we are, in fact, Lacking.

This means that He has the best for us in His mind, which may only be fulfilled through the arduous training and the test of time. We must not despise this test, but rather we should press onto the fullness of God’s joy which is ready and available to all.

That we would be ones to cling to the Philippians 1:6, “…that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Faith Kinzer, MAPS Leader

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If we ask, He will respond

 

This trip to Iraq has been an incredible journey where the Lord has spoken to me and used me in mighty ways of power! Coming to Iraq was exciting but also discouraging. I was excited because I had big expectations for God to show up mightily here in the lives of many, including my own. At the same time, I was discouraged because there were friends back at home that could not make the journey with us. Yet, we press on regardless of the circumstance knowing there are lives to be impacted and we get to embrace the Lord’s plan that’s in front of us. So far on this trip the Lord has been giving many dreams speaking to me about this trip and my own personal life. God has also been displaying his healing power through me as I’m amazed with what He has been done and the people who got healed.

 

During the preparation process for the trip, our team asked the Lord to give usd dreams and to speak to us regarding the trip. Several weeks pass by and I might have 1 or 2 small dreams but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I kept asking God for dreams but didn’t receive much but kept pressing in for more. Once we arrived in Northern Iraq I instantly start having dreams. I was having dreams every night and it wasn’t uncommon for me to have two or three in the same night. One night I even had about 7 back to back dreams. Even now I am getting dreams often but not as often as that first month! The Lord is still continually speaking to me through the night, he loves to show me things in my sleep. These dreams have been pertaining to me and my team about our mission here, but also the Lord has been speaking to me very powerfully about my own personal life. One dream seemed so realistic, I actually I spoke to the Youth pastor and I told him I had to leave and wake up because I knew this was a dream! He even spoke back to me and hugged me as I walked out and left!

 

God has been incredibly using me as a vessel to display his amazing work of healing. So far I have prayed for and seen two broken hands, one sprained wrist and other various aches and pains healed! My favorite testimony of healing was a man who broke his hand in three places. My team and I went into a muslim man’s tent in the refugee camp with his family, we introduced ourselves and told him that we are Christians. I noticed he had a wrap around his hand and I asked him what was wrong. The man told me that he got into a misunderstanding with someone else and he was beaten up, his hand was left broken in three places. I asked if I could pray for it, even though he was Muslim he was very open to it, and he said yes. As I started praying, healing instantly started to take place. The stiffness started to loosen up and as I as I was praying the second time it gradually got better. The third time he took off his goth cloth and started to bend his hand and put pressure on it. I stopped and asked him if there was any pain but he said there was no pain! His hand got healed and all the heat, swelling and color from it went away!
God is so amazing as He has continuously shown up in powerful healings and dreams. He loves to speak to His friends about his plans and purposes for His people. The more we listen and steward what He gives the more He will speak and show us. The more we continuously pray for people the more He will answer in healing. I told the story of the muslim man to one of our translators with back pain. She was so amazed at the testimony and because of the story built up her faith, we prayed for her and she got healed instantly! God is just so incredible, He wants to use us and show us His power in each of our lives. After this trip I can definitely say I will never be the same again as God has stunned me with His mighty works of healings and dreams. I pray right now that that God would give you a dream. I believe as you are reading this with any pain, ache or sickness, that you would be HEALED RIGHT NOW! IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!

 

Zach Bolt, MAPS Student

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Community that builds you up

One of the things that has shaped this trip for me is the family dynamics among the church and the workers here on the ground. From the very beginning, this place started to feel like home. A big part of that is the acceptance and love which are pullers building these communities tougher. This is something the soul searches for; Our hearts long for a place our spirit can find rest and we are safe to grow and change into the likeness of Christ. I am so thankful to have the honor of seeing the way this community walks out their lives together. The ways the Lord has imparted wisdom through these men and women has marked my walk with Him forever.

Often times in ministry, we can get caught up in the day to day meetings, administration, and mundane routines to the point where we are just simply going through the motions. It is all to easy to forget our own need to commune with like minded believers and the man Christ Jesus Himself. In these moments, we must direct our gaze to the Father from whom every family derives its name and connect with the family the Lord has set us in. Burn out is one of the most preventable epidemics in the church today. The remedy is found in the fiery eyes of Jesus and the people who He has set in our paths.

God in his wisdom places us in community for the building up and edification of the body.  Iron sharpens iron; people sharpen people. Jesus is the kind leader who takes us on a journey through relationships to teach us about Himself and how to bear His image rightly. This changes how we relate to one another as sons and how we approach Him as the Father. He uses others to prune so that we can grow without the distractions that so easily get in the way. He clears the way so we may draw near, freed from the shame that once held us fully embraced in the presence of our Beloved Bridegroom.

My experience here has been a whirlwind of shifted paradigms, growth, and  hearing God’s still small voice through the word and believers around me.

In short, I’ve seen the need as believers to be planted in a community that is built on the foundation of love, soaked in incense, running after holiness, doing life together, challenging one another and always pointing one another other to Christ.

-Esther Peyton, Placement Team