Called to Love

“It is easier to cool down a fanatic than it is to warm up a corpse.”
Brother Andrew

Persecution may seem like a thing of the past or something that happens across the world to people and in places far away.  The physical difference between us, is not that far.  We are one body in Christ, one church.  When one part of the body suffers we all suffer. Persecution is very real, dangerous, and growing.  It’s happening to our brothers and sister in Christ.

I’ve had conversations with people, many of them were from my Christian community, about the persecution Christians are facing around the world, they would rather not think about it or pay to much attention.  They were very indifferent.

 Some of them said that only certain people are called to help the persecuted.  I don’t think it’s like that.  I think that we are not all called to the same thing, but I don’t think we are supposed to act indifferent to the people, “we don’t feel called to”.  God called us to love all people, from the outcasts, widows and orphans, tax collectors, to even our enemies.  We are not called to love only one group, but to love everyone.

Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

I think that comes from fear and not wanting to get to close because somehow it could affect your life in a negative way, that it opens the door for you to be persecuted or that it’s too heartbreaking to hear about.  Some of the accounts of persecution are heart wrenching and really painful to read and to be honest it’s hard for me to read sometimes and to just not think about it.  It’s too hard to comprehend the evil in this world, but I just cling to the hope and promise Jesus us gives us of eternal life with our Heavenly Father.

When I first became aware of the persecution of other Christians it shook me.  It made me ask myself some hard questions: Would I be willing to lose everything, my family, friends, job, house, my freedom, or even my life for my faith?  Would I risk being beaten and tortured, threatened or pressured to denounce my faith in Jesus? What would living in fear of persecution due to my faith? Would I follow God’s will no matter where it could lead me? Would persecution strengthen my faith or would it break it?  What does the Bible says about persecution?

When I began praying for Christians in other countries and, people groups, ministries and organizations,  and specific people, working to help the persecuted and unreached people groups, the churches and Christians in other parts of the world didn’t feel like far away strangers in far away places. They felt real and close.

Through all my research on religious freedoms in other countries and praying for those who are persecuted, I started to see the world differently. God used what I was reading and learning to open my eyes to the global church. He showed me the church was bigger than a Sunday morning. It is His body of believers.


We are all part of the same body under Christ.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-17

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. who is the head.

1 Corinthians 24-27

If one member of the body suffers we all suffer. 

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. – Hebrews 13:3

I was amazed to find that despite persecution the church is growing.  No matter how much Satan attempts through persecution to stop the Gospel from spreading, it’s spreading like wildfire.  “For the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” – John 1:5

In some of the most darkest places of the world the Gospels is shining hope.


At the beginning of this year, Open Door’s World Watch List released the top 50 countries where it is the most difficult to be a Christian in 2018.

Here are the top 10:

North Korea

Afghanistan

Somalia

Pakistan

Eritrea

Libya

Iraq

Iran

Here is where you can learn more about the World Watch List:

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/

 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

– Hebrews 13:3


Take a Stand!

Be their voice! Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend and judge fairly. as Proverbs 31:7-8 says.  – “Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are in destitute.  Speak and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Pray for them! The number one thing persecuted Christians ask for is prayer.  Pray for them, pray they would remain faithful to Christ through all their sufferings and trials.  Pray their faith would be strengthen and that they would be bold witnesses to those around them and that they would forgive their persecutors.  Pray for their persecutors as well, and their country’s leaders.

Be informed and Get Involved!  Know what is happening around the world and ways you can get involved.  Here are some resources:

Open Doors USA

World Watch Monitor

Release International

Release Potential

Be Heard Project

SAT – 7

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as it’s own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of this world. That is why the world hates you.”

– John 15:18-19

God Bless you,

Shae


 

 

“Here I Am. Send Me!”

I heard the voice of the LORD saying, “Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here I am.  Send Me!”

– Isaiah 6:8

“Rwanda 2017, I’m offering you a trip to Africa.”  I knew this was an answer to my heart cry of “Jesus send me!”  Let me share with you how God has prepared my heart for sharing Jesus with others and an opportunity He has given me.

MY STORY

I’m Shae.  I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to use me however He wants to show His love to the world.  When I was about twelve I began to really listen to stories of missionaries telling people about Jesus all around the world, and I was inspired by all the ways God was using them to speak His truth.

Last year, while in a waiting room at a doctor’s office, I noticed a woman sitting near me.  She had a recently amputated leg and seemed very sad and heavy hearted.  I felt like God wanted me to tell her He loved her, but I wasn’t sure what to say or how to say it.  I am very quiet, I struggle with shyness and overthinking.  I am working on being more outgoing and confident talking to people, but it’s hard.

I wrestled with so many thoughts.  Was God speaking to me or was it just me?  Do I say something or just pray quietly?  Was that enough?  I began to pray for her and for clarity on what God wanted me to do.  As I was praying, she turned to me and started making small talk.  We chatted a bit and then sat in silence for a few minutes.  I knew God wanted me to speak to her, but I couldn’t find the words.  I felt so nervous.  What if I said something wrong or made a mistake?

Words from Scripture began pouring through my mind, cutting through all of my thoughts.

1 Peter 3:15 – Always be ready to give an answer for you faith, but do so with gentleness and respect.  (My paraphrasing).

Followed by words Matthew 19:10 – Don’t worry about what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but your Father speaking through you.  (paraphrasing)

I felt peace.  I asked God to not let it be my word she would hear but His.  That it wouldn’t be she would see but His love reaching out to her.

More thoughts came to mind.  I remember a missions conference I attended and on of the key points stressed.  If you can’t walk across a coffee shop and tell someone about Jesus, how can you go across the world and do it?  You need to be a missionary wherever you are.

“It is useless to think we can make a difference for Christ in some remote corner of the world if we can’t do it in our own neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces.”

– Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors.

Then I remembered a quote I had read that said, “What would happen if we saw everyone around us as facing an eternity in hell? Would we be less afraid to tell them about Jesus?”

I knew then I couldn’t be silent, so I turned to her and said something like, “I feel like God wants me to tell you that he loves you and can give you rest and healing, he can bring you more than physical healing.”  Tears welled in her eyes and she told me that she was a Christian, but that she doesn’t go to church most of the time, but she does sometimes. She likes to sing in choir but her church won’t let her if she’s not sober.

Just then my grandma and mom came out from the back and my sisters and I started to gathered our things. The woman started to say goodbye and kept thanking me. I grabbed her hand and told her again that God loved her and that I would be praying for her. She thanked me and said she would pray for me too.
I felt as though God was stretching, pushing me out of my comfort and showing me what happens when I step out in faith and seek his voice and instruction and trust him. I felt so joyful and happy after that, refreshed and so confident in my faith.

RWANDA 2017
The very next day, while I was at a family gathering, my Great-Great Uncle Chris came up to me, my sisters, and mom, and asked my mom which one of her girls wanted to be a missionary. After she told him it was me, he turned to me and said, “Rwanda 2017, I’m offering you a trip to Africa.” I was shocked. I replayed his words in my mind a few times before it clicked in my brain what he was saying. I thanked God for answering my prayers. I was reminded how God hears all of our prayers.
He had no idea how much I have prayed asking God to send me anywhere in the world to share his Gospel.

God answered my prayers!


                                                                                              

Kim-Joy-of-God-2001-300x206
My Great-Great Aunt Kim in Rwanda

Come and See Africa (CASA):

My Great-Great Uncle and Aunt started a ministry in Rwanda called Come and See Africa (CASA) in 2005, a few years after the genocide.

The name comes from the story of the Woman at the Well. After her encounter with Jesus, she runs back to her village and says,

“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.  Could He be the Messiah?”

– John 4:29 

Come and See Africa International is a Christian, American, non-profit ministry focused on the students at the National University of Rwanda, to raise up a generation committed to following the Lord.  Their main focus is helping their sister organization Come and See Rwanda (CASR), in facilitating international Christian and their churches to carry out meaningful ministry throughout South Rwanda. It also sponsors an annual three-day East Africa Christian  Apologetics Conference centered at the University of Rwanda and supports the ongoing campus ministry.  They are also working on bringing Christ to the entire region of south Rwanda through conferences, evangelism, and compassion ministry to the poor. Their main mission is to support their sister organization Come and See Rwanda (CASR). CASR works year-round ministering to the students at the National University of Rwanda by providing an intensive discipleship program and by supporting the many Christian student groups with their Compassion Ministry.

My Great-Grandma Jeanne has also traveled to Rwanda with her brothers and taught Bible studies there.  I feel honored to travel down the path my family

2f Jeanne & Shae
My Great – Great Grandma Jeanne, Franc and Me

and many others have gone. A few months ago, Franc, the executive director and secretary of CASR visited from Rwanda. I was invited to shadow Franc and my Great-Great Uncle Frank, who I will be traveling to Africa with, as they shared with many different people and churches about pastor trainings and ministry opportunities in Rwanda. I sat in on the board meeting too. It was so fascinating.

I am going to primarily help with the annual East Africa Christian Apologetics Conference centered at the University of Rwanda and supports the ongoing campus ministry. The idea is to raise up strong Christian leaders among the university students

2f Frank & Lelia
My Great – Great Uncle Frank and Aunt Lelia, with Franc

from the National Universities of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, and Tanzania. The goal of the conference is to better equip the students to stand firm in their faith as they lead ministries in their home countries. They are the future church, business, and political leaders.
I will work with children’s ministry, practicing English with Pastors, compassion ministry in rural villages, also helping with administrative, computer and technological tasks.

 

 

THE LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY CENTER

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The Lighthouse Ministry Center

My Uncle and I are collecting new twin and queen bedding sets – fitted sheets and pillow cases, towel sets – bath, hand, wash cloths, and shower curtains.  We are hand carrying them to Rwanda with us.  These items will go to The Lighthouse Ministry Center, it houses the Joy of God Bible Institute and a conference center where the Apologetics conference will be held.

lh1
The Lighthouse Ministry Center

 

LighthouseMinstry
The Lighthouse Ministry Center

The Lighthouse Ministry Center also runs as a business with a 20 room hotel, a top floor restaurant, conference centers, and five street front shops.  The goal is to become self – supporting and need no additional international donations to fund it’s ministries.

 

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

All of the donations will go to support local needs and ministry opportunitiesMy travel arrangements and accommodations have already been provided.  You can make a tax-deductible donation to CASA online with Paypal at Come and See Africa website www.comeandseeafrica.org

My Mission Trip is October 3 – 16, 2017.

When I return I will share pictures and reflections.

 PRAYER

Please pray for me as I follow God’s lead. Pray that I would have guidance, discernment, and that my eyes would be open to those around me and my heart to what God is teaching me. Pray also for those I will be working with and those I will be serving while I’m there that they would see God moving and respond.

Thank you for you prayers and support! 

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.”

– Matthew 28:19-20

May God bless you,
Shae

 

Fear is a Lie


Persecution has always existed.

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I thought there wasn’t enough conversation about persecution.  In such a short period of time, the whole world has begun talking about it in a new way.  The tangible evil is showing it’s face and wont be ignored.  They are familiar now, words that evoke images of terror and death that are designed to make us feel fear deep in our hearts: ISIS, ISIL, IS, AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), Ansar Al Sharia in Libya, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Marxism, Communism.  Whatever name they are using, they all share the same roots and the same goals: power, death, destruction and ultimately to stop the TRUTH of Jesus Christ.

I often hear people talk about positivity and negativity, the light versus the dark, how if we could all just be kinder and show more love then we can influence the universe and make it a better place. I don’t believe this. I don’t believe that the universe has a personality and cares about us. I don’t believe that we came from nothing for nothing.

I believe we are created in the image of God for a purpose.  We are to love God and love each other.

Fear is a lie.

It is a distraction designed to hold you back from the truth.  We are not alone.  This isn’t just a battle against the evil we see, but against the evil we cannot see.


Ephesians 6:10-20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Fight against Evil

10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day[a] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19 Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20 I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.


United in Prayer

When I began this blog I wasn’t sure who I would be writing to, I just felt pressure from God to share what I was learning about persecuted Christians. I thought I would be writing to teens in the USA, instead God is leading me to a different audience.  Along with American readers, it is incredible to see all the countries that have viewed my blog, I am honored.

My brothers and sisters in Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Dominican Republic, Australia, Canada, India, Romania, Nepal, Bolivia, United Kingdom, Algeria, Czech Republic, Austria, Philippines, Moldova, and Thailand   I am praying for all of you.

God Bless You,

Shae


We are united in prayer against the rising evil.

Philippians 1:28 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

28 Be brave when you face your enemies. Your courage will show them that they are going to be destroyed, and it will show you that you will be saved. God will make all of this happen,