Have you heard the expression “Boots on the Ground?” Well, our Live Dead Missionaries are the boots on the Silk Road. Here we’d like to take a moment and allow one of them to share a snapshot of their life with you. Some names and details have been changed, but this is a true story from this colorful, vibrant, and sometimes surprising region.
In chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke, a teacher of the law asked Jesus what he himself needed to do to inherit eternal life. In response, Jesus asked the man what the law of Moses said. The teacher answered that you must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind- and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus told the man to do just this, and in efforts to justify himself, the expert of the law asked Jesus, “Who then is my neighbor?
For a season, I took language lessons at a large university in my area of Central Eurasia. My class was filled with students from around the world: Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Indonesians, Ethiopians, Somalians, and of course, an American.
In an amazing and unique social experience, people from countries that historically (or currently) have warred with each other, hated each other, and caused pain to each other all came together in one room, became friends, listened to each other, and even loved each other.
I listened to stories of Syrians being tortured in attempts to escape their war-torn country and are now separated from their families. I listened to stories of Iraqis being refused medical care simply because they carry a refugee identity card. I listened as jaded Iranians talked about how they don’t believe anything the leaders of their country say.
I was invited into their homes and even more, into their lives. What an incredible privilege.
I sat with them in their discontentment and pain and tried to encourage them with genuine affection and with the hope I have in Jesus. My compassion and capacity to love was stretched and challenged and grew deeper. What an incredible privilege.
Who, then, is my neighbor? The Jew and the Muslim, the Syrian and the refugee, the rich and the poor.
Have we listened to their stories? Have we prayed for the Gospel of Light and Love to penetrate the darkness of their lives? Have we poured oil and wine on their wounds and carried them to the inn to recover? Have we cried out, “Here I am Lord, send me!”
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another,” (John 4:7, 10-11 NIV).