Sorry for the cliché, but it really is a small world. Or maybe it’s just that something small can touch the world.
This past week, I sat in a coffee shop with a friend. She introduced me to her pastor. As we talked, the pastor’s wife asked me where I was from. I told her: Las Vegas. The pastor then mentioned a church there with enthusiasm. My heart thumped. The church he spoke so highly of was my home church. I grew up there. Even when I struggled with my faith at a teenager, people in the church prayed for me.
The pastor’s wife asked what my last name was. I told her, and she said she knew my father, a church elder. It made me happy to know someone knew the places and people I’m so familiar with. It was cool. I didn’t think anything of it until yesterday.
I interviewed a very interesting man yesterday. He is pretty extraordinary: he has written multiple books, he is incredibly intelligent and his life is motivated by God. When he told me about his life at 16 years old, I was blown away. He studied the Bible for 21 hours a day for two years –he wanted to find truth. He told me that he read the Bible, “From the beginning to the end, from the beginning to the end –everything.” After two years, he knew that what God says in the Bible is true. Now, this man has affected the world in incredible ways.
After telling me about his life, the books he has written, the persecution he had experienced and the ways he lived for Christ, he told me how he ended up in Las Vegas. He was at a VOM conference in Phoenix, and a woman working for a Las Vegas church found him. She gave him her contact information. Soon, the church was financially supporting him while he went to college in the United States. They gave him food and a place to stay. He has since left Las Vegas, but the church continues its spiritual and monetary support.
I asked him what the church was called. After all, I grew up in Las Vegas; I know a lot of the churches there. He told me. To my dismay, I couldn’t help myself from exclaiming like a child, “That is my church!”
Founded nearly two decades ago, my church has grown into a mature body of believers. They sponsor missionaries, love the community and in doing all this, it reaches out to the world. Though I have not lived in Las Vegas for three years now, I continually feel, see or hear about what the church is doing. Every time I travel, I meet someone who has a story about the church.
Don’t get me wrong, the church has its faults. However, the leaders have a heart for living what they preach, following God and acting Biblically. Through simple acts of obedience, my church has reached people around the world like my friend, and even, indirectly, connected itself with an organization like The Voice of the Martyrs.
Perhaps this church can be an example for every church in the world. We are called in Hebrews 13:3 to remember those in chains, because we are one body. Ultimately, if there is an imprisoned, beaten or persecuted Christian in this world, every Christian–no matter where they are–is imprisoned, beaten and persecuted. Encourage your churches to become even more involved in supporting the persecuted church. No matter how small or large, they can reach the world.