Iszy: How did you come about ministering to migrants in Tassie?
Sam and Lauren began going to FOCUS (Fellowship of Overseas University Students) which is part of an AFES (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) University ministry. They wanted to connect with university students who’ve come from overseas in order to use the skills they’ve acquired through the CrossView training before serving cross-culturally overseas themselves. They started having conversations with people and began discipling people one on one. Now Sam and Lauren are attending a local church where many of these international and ex-students go to. They are continuing to invest in relationships there before moving to Central Asia for mission and cross-cultural church planting.
Lauren spent intentional time with a Korean lady who wanted to know more about God and Christianity. Sam also used His Story: The Rescue (an easy English overview of the Bible message) with some Chinese men. One of them was really interested in why people believe in Jesus. Usually over an Australian dinner at Sam and Lauren’s home, they would go through chapter by chapter of His Story and read it in English as well as in a Chinese translation. Eventually Sam and Lauren had two groups meeting, one for men and one for women.
With many questions coming to the surface during their time together, one man asked ‘How do we know God exists?’. Sam was able to explore this topic in light of the chapter that they were studying at the time in Genesis rather than coming up with all the proofs. Sam recalled that they were able to discuss that God exists because of the amazing things we can see around us.
One lady that Lauren was meeting with was asking how she can honour God, glorify Him and worship Him in different situations in her life. Whilst they were reading His Story together, she would ask ‘How can I know what God wants me to do with my life? I’ve prayed about this, how do I know what the answer is?’
When asked how has cross cultural training program Connect helped equip Sam and Lauren in their ministry, Lauren responded with ‘It has really helped me see the way the Bible fits together and how important it is for people to get a strong foundation in the whole story.’ For Sam, his understanding has grown through the fact that evangelism is not just a gospel presentation but rather that discipleship can begin way before the conversion point.
“That is what is great about foundational Bible teaching. People come into the faith having a really good understanding of what they’ve come into and the evidence to me is that they have ended up becoming stronger believers. The emphasis on discipleship has affected my strategy for evangelism. We might tend to, in most people’s minds, see conversion experiences as a skinny moment in time, however it is actually a long period and process that most people go through of challenging their worldview and accepting the foundations of a new one,” says Sam.
“I think the Connect program is super helpful for people who intend to do this kind of work overseas including long term church planting cross culturally. This is because it really touches on practical elements as opposed to just philosophical and what we would call missiological ideas. It is much more about practical discipleship and really gives you the tools to learn how to function in a foreign society,” says Sam.
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