Thank you so much for supporting our mission trip to SE Asia. As you know, we partnered with Compassion International children’s ministries to complete construction projects and teach English classes. A typical day began with prayer and devotion time with our Indonesian brother and sisters. Then we got to work. Repairs included building a motorcycle parking lot, sound-proofing the church by covering the walls in the chapel with carpet, painting the church inside and out and clearing brush from an outdoor play area. After lunch the team split into three groups, 2 ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teams and 1 construction team. The construction team continued to work on the church while the other two teams taught ESOL classes to over 300 children for the rest of the afternoon. We also lead a Youth Rally and a Children’s Party.
God truly blessed our time there, and we’ve compiled a few anecdotes from our journey overseas to help paint a picture of the work we accomplished and how our team experienced God through this amazing experience.
Our team adopted a special Bible verse for our trip to help keep us focused on our mission. Our team Bible verse was Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
God spoke to us through this verse by helping us see that as Christians, we are all One in Christ. We traveled to the other side of the world, to a predominately Muslim country, and what we found among Christians there truly surprised us. What we expected to find was “Undercover Christians” worshiping in underground churches and hiding from their predominantly Muslim neighbors. What we discovered what the exact opposite. The church is alive in SE Asia! R
In God’s perfect plan, He led us to a town that is actually 50% Christian! We saw church buildings with huge crosses. The Christian women, embracing their freedom in Christ, did not wear a berka or any sort of head covering. We participated in Sunday worship in a church with a large praise band, singing new songs in the native language about the goodness and love of Jesus. There were even Christian seminary schools alongside the Islamic schools and mosques. Our eyes were opened wide to see and understand that despite our differences, we are One in Christ. And as members of the body of Christ, we need to do our part to support our brothers and sisters in SE Asia through prayer and through sharing their stories, their successes and struggles, with others here in the United States and encourage more people to pray for the work God is doing in the SE Asian churches.
However, despite the presence of the Christian church in the town where we worked, the Islamic faith holds the overwhelming majority and we did have experiences relative to this distinction that we will never forget. Brian describes one such experience as follows:
“It was 3:30 a.m. and we were in a hard, deep sleep after traveling 45+ hours by car, van, plane and bus before arriving at our destination. Suddenly, a blaring loud noise interrupted our much-needed sleep. This noise sounded like it was coming from a megaphone right outside of our window. AnnieLaurie actually thought someone was standing over her bed, chanting in an unknown language.
“Was it an air raid alarm? Were we under attack? Was this the return of Christ?! The noise grew in intensity as the minutes passed. At first the noise was distinguishable as a solo, but then it just became a distorted mess as more voices from other surrounding mosques joined in the mantra. A sense of hopelessness and despair resonated from this distorted mess of voices and at that point we realized what we were hearing — the Muslim call to prayer which is blasted from Mosques around the country 5 times a day, every day.
“We were warned to be ready for this disorienting jolt, but nothing could have prepared us for our first time hearing it. However, once we realized what was happening we in turn prayed to God in Jesus’ name, particularly giving Him praise for our freedom in Christ and for the freedom of religion that we have been so blessed with in United States. We sat there in prayer until we finally drifted back to sleep.”
As Christians, we are commanded to “pray without ceasing.” In our hurried and rushed lives, it’s very easy to forget this. Where we were, you get a loud reminder to pray 5 times a day, but sadly our Muslim neighbors were not praying in Jesus’ name, the only name on earth by which people can be saved. Realizing this, our team spent a significant amount of time in prayer asking for God to show the love of Jesus through our actions and service to the local community. In fact, our “team motto” was this: “We serve a prayer hearing, a prayer answering and a wonder working God.”
God heard and answered our prayers in many ways. Our team sponsored 15 children through Compassion and got to meet their sponsor children and their families while we were there. Many of these children are Muslim but their parents don’t mind enrolling them in a Christian project because of the humanitarian benefit they will receive. Compassion’s prayer is that through their programs for children, God will raise-up Biblical “Daniel’s and Esther’s” to impact future generations for Christ. We talk a lot about sending missionaries to SE Asia, but we truly believe that through the work of Compassion, God will raise-up Christian men and women to spread the love of Christ throughout their own country. They desperately need our prayers. (You can read the life stories of Daniel and Esther in the Bible’s Old Testament)
So believe it or not, AnnieLaurie spent her days in the kitchen getting to know the women of the church by helping them prepare the daily lunch, which fed about 100 children and adults. It was during this time that one of the church’s most elder woman prophesied that Annie Laurie would be a pastor’s wife and that they would have 4 children!! Upon hearing the news Brian passed out!! Just kidding about the passing out part. Brian spent his days working on construction and once again earned the name “Pastor.” Brian has come to the realization that he can no longer avoid this calling and embraced it by delivering a sermon about salvation to a church packed with over one hundred people, mostly locals. After Brian’s sermon, the head pastor of the church stood up to thank him and said that it was at a missionary service just like the one we were in where he himself first heard and believed in the truth about Jesus Christ. We pray that other children and adults in the church who heard Brian’s sermon will also come to know Jesus in the same way.
Our prayer for the church we partnered with is based on Romans 1:8-12, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
As we said goodbye to our new friends, we all agreed that we were, in fact, mutually encouraged by each other’s faith in Jesus. They were encouraged by our love for them and that we would travel across the world to bring help and encouragement they needed to continue their ministries and service to Christ. We were encouraged by their faith, by their passion for Christ knowing what they had to sacrifice to become Christians in an Islamic society.
Sixteen friends took a journey around the world in which they became united as one with two churches in SE Asia as a prayer hearing, a prayer answering and a wonder working God led the way. We could not have done this trip without your support financially but more importantly we could not have accomplished this mission God set before us without your prayers. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!
Again, thank you for your support and please pray for our brothers and sisters in SE Asia that the church will continue to raise Daniel’s and Esther’s to reach the next generation for Christ and pray for all of us to believe and understand the life-giving love of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Annie Laurie and Brian
Please visit the following link to view videos of our trip: http://www.youtube.com/user/zetafivealpha
You can also see a photo slide show at http://annielaurie.slide.com