|Oak Crest Baptist Church||
Last week was a tremendous blessing. I hope you were able to spend some time with the Walkers. God moved through their sharing and testimony. It was a special time. I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped make the Missions Conference possible. Those who hosted the Walkers, provided entertainment, transportation, and food, and helped organize events throughout the week. The Walkers felt like they were at home. God is doing amazing things all over the world for his glory. Hopefully you were able to get a glimpse of that last week. Let’s not forget our time with the Walkers. May the Lord continue to burden us for the people right here in Midlothian and to the ends of the earth.
I’d like to share a story with you that I heard recently about a man named Stoyan. You can read the full story and others like it in a book titled The Insanity of God.
Stoyan was born and raised in the home of a Russian pastor in the 1940’s. As communism began to take hold of the country, persecution became a part of everyday life for Russian churches and believers. When Stoyan was 12 years old his protestant pastor father was thrown in prison where he stayed for over a decade. Stoyan began theological study and wanted to become a pastor like his father. His plans were delayed time and time again when his study would be raided by police who would destroy all of his notes and sermons.
In 1966 Stoyan acquired two illegal Bibles that were written in his native tongue. This gave him the idea to start an underground center for smuggled materials in his home. Over the next two decades, he translated over twenty Christian books. He organized an underground publishing network. No one knew of his work to reach Russians with the gospel until Stoyan was interviewed by a man named Nik Ripken in 1998. The details of his work and the methods used by his organization to print and distribute thousands of books through Eastern Europe still remained a secret until that time.
He was suspected by the secret police of doing this work but was never caught with his books and Bibles in his possession. Still the authorities threw him in prison. One time, he received a last minute warning that the police were waiting for him at his house. He left his wife in the woods overnight with a carload of books so that he could arrive home innocently empty-handed. Another time, a police officer actually sat on a stack of bibles wrapped in brown paper while he directed a squad of his men on a futile, hours-long search of Stoyan’s house.
At the end of Stoyan’s interview with Nik Ripken about these details Stoyan told Nik, “I thank God and I take great joy in knowing that I was suffering in prison in my country, so that you, Nik, could be free to share Jesus in yours.” Nik looked at Stoyan and said, “Oh no! You are not going to do that! You are not going to put that on me. That is a debt so large that I can never repay you!” Stoyan replied, “Son, that’s the debt of the cross. Don’t steal my joy. I took great joy that I was suffering in my country, so that you could be free to witness in your country. Don’t ever give up in freedom what we would never have given up in persecution. That is our witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
May we not give up in freedom what Stoyan and others have refused to surrender under the worst forms of persecution.
I want to make you aware of a very rare opportunity that we will have as a church family coming up in a couple of weeks. From July 21-26th our IMB mission partners from Southeast Asia will be here for a Missions Conference. They are in the states on furlough and are committing an entire week of their schedule to our church. I’m challenging every member of Oak Crest to make this time a priority. Not only will you be informed on the work being done to reach the Lasa but I trust that you will come away from this time more passionate about the gospel.
Here is what the week will look like…
Tuesday, July 21st: 7pm- Session 1: Christian Jihad
· From 9-11 to the Boston Marathon, Jihad is everywhere. Who is the Muslim and what is our task as Christians to reach them?
Wednesday, July 22nd: 6pm- Fellowship Meal Q&A; 7pm- Session 2: Monologue from a Muslim Convert
· Bring an international dish for a time of fellowship and questions at 6pm (dish sign up in foyer)
· Hear the testimony of a Muslim Background Believer at 7pm
Thursday, July 23rd: 9:30am- Prime Timers Monthly Fellowship
· All senior adults (and anyone else who would like to join us) are invited to this special time of testimony and fellowship with the Walkers
Sunday, July 26th: 9:30am- Sessions 3: Three Prayers God Will Always Answer
· How should we be praying for the Unreached People Groups of the world?
· Joint Sunday School meeting in the sanctuary
Please make this week a priority.