My heart is to reach Thailand, I want the churches there to overflow with the praise of our one true king. In my time spent focused on Jesus, and making him the center, I will show you how I have changed and a challenge for the reader.
In summary, I want you to understand why I gave everything and also to prayerfully find what it is God is calling you to do. Maybe it is moving to a foreign country, or maybe its staying and supporting those who feel called to go. Whatever it is, I think each one of us has a call to follow Jesus and he promises to walk with us into the hardest parts of following him!
What has God done in me?
In the last year, I was introduced to the unreached. It is still becoming a more familiar idea to think of, that not everyone grew up going to church or had a church around them. Then to think that a huge portion of the worlds population lives in a context exactly like that, churchless, Jesus-less, and without giving God the honor and glory he deserves.
My initial response wasn’t to set for going, in fact my initial response had nothing to do with physical action but to see what God thought about this because I knew there was need where I was. So, I did what every natural person would do and googled to see if the bible supported this idea! After a little bit of time of searching the web, I was introduced to explanations that seemed to be enriched in biblical truth.
Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” This seemed pretty straight forward to me, ask God to send harvesters! I added this to my morning routine for about 6ish months, every morning at 9:38 I would pray that people would be sent into the harvest.
I started to pray and hope that others would go! I was full of a zeal to get every single person I knew to go to the place I was praying for. What I didn’t realize at the time is the very next thing Jesus did was send the people he told to pray out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. Over time, God started to soften my heart to leaving America and all the things I love so much about my community.
“When God calls a man,
he bids him come and die”
About this time I started to read “Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a book that explains the cost of being a follower and in every single aspect of life in his lifetime. He said “When God calls a man, he bids him come and die.” in the introduction of the book. That sentiment was perfectly timed, as I was debating what it looked like to be a follower of Jesus.
Luke 14:26-27 says “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
These two verses are unlike any call I have ever heard. I love my family, friends and my own life, I don’t want to give that up, why would I want that? To think of that would break my heart! Can you imagine the church preacher telling you this as he was trying to persuade you to Christ? I cannot imagine in my human ways – that this would be God’s answer!
This is where I had to choose, if I decide to continue to follow Jesus or to hold on to my life and serve him with only a part of me. Matthew 16:25 says “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Reading this verse was the last straw, I knew that what ever it was. Holding on to my life would cause me to lose my life.
I put my life in the hands of Jesus. I didn’t know at the time what it looked like or if I would actually enjoy it. That’s where the next step began, I was continuing to pray every single day at 9:38 asking God to send laborer’s into the harvest. This consistent asking is where God started to move in my own heart. In the words of Keith Green “I want[ed] my heart to be soft as a babies”
“I want baby skin on my heart.”
That’s what I continue to do and try to follow. I prayed for him to send others out, and he started to challenge me if I would go challenging my heart and because of my softened heart, I realized I could go and I wanted to share the gospel with everyone I could in the world, but had planned for me to go to Thailand.
My response from that was to do what God has called me to do for the needs of this world. For me it was doing short term missions trips, with the plan of joining missionaries for a long term commitment of 5 years as the second part of the plan.
On that trip, I personally got to see some of the families of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3), and how they would be blessed by us through Christ. The statistics I read about so much are now a part of my life, because I experienced their company and their culture. Even though I am a white Caucasian male and look nothing like the Thais – I was able to make family there.
Mark 10:29-31 says “Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
I gave up my family and gained more family than I could have ever asked for, I am able to connect consistently and I have more close knitted family members than I have had ever before. I can now relate to other people that gave everything to God. Even people who are from a completely foreign setting. Jesus united me with each one of them.
“All men are equally lost, not all men are equally needy.” -Ralph Winters
I have spent time with the 520 million who are living a life for no meaning or feelings. I worked along side the missionary that is tired, who within Buddhism alone are set 1 missionary to 260,000 Buddhist’s. I saw the temples that take the money and worship of their people so that each one of them might have a chance to be atoned for and achieve nothingness. (quite literally)
I also saw the barriers between me and these people, their language is completely foreign to me, their culture is also completely foreign, their way of life is different to what I am used too, the way you gain or lose respect, the way they make their foods and even traffic!
They understand what it means to have a Lord or King, because they have one! I learned that the only way to genuinely share Jesus with someone is to be their friend first, become close to them and have that relationship develop from there. They don’t trust everyone first off and need you to be genuine and consistent for a long time.
I had the opportunity to observe their culture I also got to share the light of Jesus with them. Spend time with them and encourage the few Christians that were in a faith crisis at the time. Not only this, but I got to build up the worshippers of Jesus in that town. I learned the unique way Thais worship God. It’s difference is great compared to America, they are deep on a reverence for God not wanting to be loud because to them that is disrespectful. The language, culture, reasoning, food and traffic all add to their own way of being fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
How did it change you?
In a moment playing soccer with some people I met at a park. I realized what my life was supposed to focus on. That is advancing the kingdom of God in every single place on earth. I realized the need of training and discipleship needed to be effective in any cross culture ministry. To be good at being a missionary in any country means you have to give up every single right you have.
To say the least, it changed everything in my life. I cannot help but keep going, while I think about my friends in Thailand who still don’t know Jesus as a savior. This breaks my heart because I know personally, people who need Jesus’ saving as much as I do, and don’t understand their need.
This is my purpose – to go and send others to their culture. This is the thing, this is not an easy task! The heart of God I think is clear and amazing. But to this job well needs a lifetime of work for each culture and identity.
What they need! People to dedicate their lives to the people – to the 77 Unreached People groups that have no access the heart of God through Jesus. For others to join in those ministering there who also have a desperate lack of workers. For those who love God to come along with them in short term trips, encouraging the long term missionaries who are tired!
Each one of us has a job – Some people are called to give money, some are called to equip the saints, while others are called to give their lives to living in a new culture(there are more roles). Each role cannot function correctly without each other, the missing link will cause the whole system to fail.
That is what God wants for some reason, he wants us to require each other. To work together for a big project and goal, focused entirely on Jesus through it all. God will get what he wants, the question is if you want to support his goal or to ignore it.
How does God want you to join?
https://www.ywamnorthidaho.org/ if you are interested in joining me on a journey to Thailand. Consider a DTS at YWAM North Idaho as we try to bring light to what God’s heart is and where his Heart will lead us.
Here comes the end to another blog post- It feels like my own personal journal as I try to develop what I have been taught.
So what did you like or not like? Was the topic on God’s heart good or bad? I love to hear feedback and will constantly try to apply what you suggest!
Here is a link to the last blog written so far, I hope you enjoyed and learned more about God’s heart!
Elijah B. Davis