Larry D. Andrews, President/CEO of Partners International
As I complete my first quarter as the President and CEO of Partners International, I wanted to share some thoughts with you. I returned to the office this week after a two-week visit to the field. Over the last few weeks, I had the privilege of gathering with 20 of our ministry partners across North India, South India, Cambodia, and Indonesia. I can say that in every case, I met leaders who were passionately following Christ, had a vision for the future of their ministry, were facing difficult ministry circumstances with courage, and expressed deep thanksgiving for the depth of true partnership they have with Partners International. I have the privilege and honor of extending that deeply felt thanksgiving, on behalf of each of these leaders, to each one of you as investors in Partners International.
Over the last few weeks, there were many things that touched my heart that each one of us can give thanks to the Lord for:
- I saw beautiful outreach ministries in Delhi, focused on schools for children, church planting in local villages, medical clinics in underserved communities, and leadership training for new believers.
- I met with several hundred young church planters who were being trained in seminaries and leadership programs across India, Cambodia, and Indonesia - and heard some inspiring testimonies of sharing the Gospel despite persecution.
- I visited several ministry teams in Bangalore who were focused on bringing spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual healing to women and children rescued from sex slavery and forced labor.
- I saw firsthand several projects in Cambodia and Indonesia which are promoting Christ through health and wellness, adult and child literacy, vocational skill building, child development, and micro-finance.
- I had the honor of visiting and preaching at a few local churches and spoke with several local leaders on the work of the Holy Spirit in their region.
The list goes on, and each ministry I met had a story to tell of what the Lord was doing among them. I felt first-hand the deep relationships we have with each of our ministry partners, local evangelical leaders in the community, and our Partners International staff on the ground. It was a beautiful witness and testimony of God's family—many parts but one body—of which each of you is a part.
Of the hundreds of people I crossed paths with, one story puts the whole trip in perspective. This was the testimony of a beautifully courageous Indonesian sister in Christ. I will call her Maya. Just over a year ago, Maya became the very first Christ-follower in her small village in West Java. Maya is a widow with five children, and as such, she has material dependencies on her village which is entirely Muslim. Maya came to faith in Christ via a beautiful revelation of truth and the witness of local Christian laborers. She proclaimed her faith to her family and took the bold step of baptism knowing persecution would come.
Her story is heart-wrenching, but similar to what most new believers in Indonesia face. Her village disowned her, her relatives attempted to starve her to come back to Islam, her children rejected her, the markets in her own village would not sell goods to her because her money was "unclean," she was threatened with a machete to her throat, and she was repeatedly locked out of her home. But, in all cases she simply refused to deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
For more than a year, Maya's life was a daily dying to Christ, putting her full trust in Him. Now 18 months later, through her faith walk with Jesus, her testimony is bearing fruit. Three of her children and several others have come to faith, the market will sell her goods, and her village now has a growing home church. The resolve of this one woman, who does not even stand five feet tall, is bringing Christ to her village. She still faces hardships, but she is unwavering in her resolve to serve her Savior. Thank you Lord Jesus for your revelation to Maya, and may her faith lead 100 more villages to Christ!
As each of us move forward with this day and the days ahead, let's each consider what the Lord may be asking of us, in the light of what Maya faces every day. I am asking the Lord Jesus to show me personally what it means to live more sacrificially, more courageously, and to be bolder with my own witness for Christ. I want to be open to anything and everything the Lord calls me to, and I pray the same for each of you.
"I pray that you and all of God's people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is. I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen" (Ephesians 3:18-20).
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