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Discipling in the Middle East over Tea

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Missions Articles

In Matthew 28, we read final command of Jesus before he ascended to the father- the Great Commission. Often in these days we read these verses and interpret it as Jesus commanding us to make converts and to get ‘salvation decisions. Yet the apostles understood truly what Jesus was commanding them to do. For three years, Jesus had taught and led them in everyday life. While today the church primarily uses bible studies, and ‘home groups’ as mediums for growing in the faith, Jesus used life itself as his medium, simply eating, drinking, traveling, and even laughing with the apostles.

The apostles in turn replicated what Jesus did with them, simply doing life with the people who professed faith in the Lord. Acts 2:42 tells us that the early church grew together as a community, by simply living life with one another.

The country that I serve in is a very social culture, and many memories are made over a hot glass of chai.  As I disciple maker, I find this to be extremely helpful to the Lord’s work, and for my friend ‘Cee’, I have found tea to be the key that opens up the door of the heart.

Cee has been a believer for two years, but it has been very difficult for him to grow in his faith due to his family environment, emotional baggage, and plain lack of discipleship. Cee very recently moved into my house, so that he would be able to thrive in a more supporting environment. Since he has lived here, we have had some very meaningful conversations in the matters of faith, all over good tea. We have worked through offense, confronted areas of sin and wrong thinking, and explored the word of God. Since we have remarkably similar backgrounds and gone through similar things, Cee finds it easier to open up to me, and to receive feedback, encouragement, and at times rebuke.

One evening we were sitting on the front porch, talking and of course, drinking tea. I could tell something was bothering him, and I asked him if he wanted to talk about it. He then opened up about something that the broke his heart, something that is much harder to forgive and move past. What was paining him? A few believers have been refusing to accept him as a genuine believer and have even spread lies about him. Having experienced hurt at the hands of my brothers and sisters myself, I knew exactly how he felt. He poured out his heart in tears to me, and I could tell that was very healing for him to vent. We then went through what Jesus says about forgiving a fellow brother, and he saw that while he cannot control what even believers me do to him, he can choose to display the love and forgiveness of Christ. The Holy Spirits craftmanship in his heart is very clear, as he chose to remain unoffended.

I often find myself in an interesting position in my relationship with him, as he is older than me, yet in matters of faith he looks up to me as an older brother. This has been very humbling for me, and even put the fear of the Lord into my heart! As I walk him through some of the same experiences, hurts, and emotions he has experienced, I feel the Father’s smile over my own life and remember the Lord’s faithfulness in my own life, giving me faith for my current and future troubles! (So many focus of the fruit of the labor of the missionary, but there is so much fruit and growth in our own lives!)

I have so much faith in the Holy Sprit’s work in his life, and I look forward to many more late-night conversations over tea. I look forward to the day when Cee finds himself having a strong and unshakable foundation, and then in turn preaching the same gospel that saved and healed him to his own people. Cee is the future of the church in this nation, and the Lord will use him as a powerful witness to his own people. One day he will disciple and edify new believers, all over a fresh and hot glass of chai.

By: Jonathan

Jonathan is a missionary serving in the Middle East. He is involved in house church ministry, and business as missions. Your financial partnership with Jonathan empowers him to share the gospel, disciple believers, and give longevity to his work. Consider becoming a monthly partner or giving a one-time financial gift. Remember him in prayer also, as he reaches out to his circles. Pray for perseverance, faith, and refreshment in times of prayer.

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