And I Tell You, You Are Peter, and on this Rock I will Build my Church
This article was originally published on agapeyear.org/blog on February 13, 2019 and is being run here with the permission of the author.
After spending a couple of weeks in Thailand this January, I had the opportunity to stopover in Laos for a few days on my back to Pittsburgh. I was excited to see another ministry that is run by the Anglican Diocese of Singapore, our partners in Chiang Mai Thailand. I was also excited to visit a new country and culture. My meeting with the workers there went well. I came away challenged and encouraged by what my brothers and sisters in Christ are doing in that amazing country, but I also came away with a story.
Years back, two missionaries traveled to a Hmong village in the northern part of Laos. When they arrived in the village they rented a house that, unbeknownst to them, was haunted. After a week, they prepared to leave having seen no fruit from their visit. As they were getting set to leave, the local shaman came to them and told them that he needed to know their God, because their God must be the true God since the shaman had put the curse on the house and it hadn't effected the missionaries one bit. The missionaries shared the gospel with the shaman, led him to Christ, and went on their way. A while later the missionaries returned to find a vibrant Christian community, started by the shaman, and growing daily. And this was all built in their absence.
In a few days, our Fellows will return from Thailand having lived and served in Chiang Mai and the mountains for close to two months. Early on into their time there, one of the Fellows expressed some doubt about how impactful the work that they were engaged in would be. They wanted to see results. Who doesn't?
I want to see results! I want to have an impact. I want to build the church. When the worker in Laos shared the story of the haunted house with me it was during a conversation about impact. It is easy to loose sight of our job. Just like Peter, we need to understand just who is doing the work here! It is Christ who builds the church. Peter's job was to be a rock. Peter's job was to be obedient. And that is my job. And that is your job. We are simply to be obedient to God's call and let Him do the work of church building.
I had a front row seat in watching our Fellows answer their call to obedient rock-ness in Thailand. It wasn't easy for them. Over the next few weeks we'll send out another update with some stories from their time there. But my takeaway, my impact story, was one of encouragement. Take heart Church. Christ is at work. He is building His church. I for one am stoked to just get to be a rock!
To learn more about Agape Year or apply to be a Fellow visit their website here.
Erika and Nathan Twichell are missionaries with SAMS and the directors of Agape Year, a missional gap year for recent high school graduates. Agape Year exists to anchor young adults in A Story to Believe in, A Family to Belong to, and A Kingdom to Build up. The Twichells reside in Pittsburgh, PA and call Church of the Ascension home. You can contact them here.