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Holy Spirit in Missions

Nixon sharing dinner and stories with Yesaya Abdi from Indonesia and Adalio Romero from Honduras
By Tom Mast, Asia regional director

In late August, more than 50 participants from at least a dozen countries met together in Singapore for the Holy Spirit in Missions Conference sponsored by the International Missions Association. IMA is “an association of Anabaptist mission bodies established for prayer, mutual support and partnering in carrying out the Great Commission”. The meetings this year were hosted by Bethany International University and many of their alumni had returned from their work around the world to join the IMA participants and to share reports of what God is doing through the missions training schools they have established. Besides myself, RMM President Joe Showalter and LAMP workers in Thailand Efrain and Nixon also attended the conference.

We heard amazing stories of church planting movements, listened to challenging sermons, and spent time praying for God’s work all around the world. As Joe Showalter noted later, some of the accounts sounded like they could have come straight from the biblical stories about Old Testament prophets. We listened to men and women, who are living in places that are hostile towards God’s kingdom, share matter-of-factly about God’s miraculous protection and provision.

Gerbole Kote, a leader from Ethiopia told story after story about how the Holy Spirit spoke to him and the ways in which God moved powerfully when he responded in obedience. In one instance he had traveled a long distance to speak in a church. At the end of his time there they gave him a small sum of money. He needed that money to travel home—and his family was depending on it for their basic expenses. But at God’s prompting he gave all of it away while he was still in the other town. After that he stood by the road and waited to see what would happen. Before long someone from his hometown “happened” to pass by and gave him a ride. When he arrived he went into his room to pray for God’s provision. While he was still praying his daughter came in and told him that a wealthy acquaintance (not a believer) had come to tell them that an angel had visited him and instructed him to give a sum of money—about ten times the amount Gerbole had given away—to their family.

The organizers had planned a full week of sessions, but I was most impressed by my interactions outside of the formal meetings. I sat with a brother from Indonesia—the world’s most populous Muslim nation—who talked passionately about the many Indonesians who are secretly becoming followers of Jesus. He’s convinced that the current religious percentages in that country will someday be reversed. He said, “We hear about the bad things that are happening around the world, but we don’t hear about the great things that God is doing!” During the week in Singapore that imbalance was at least partially corrected.