Today I want to share with you an excerpt from a firsthand report about our recent BrookLink conference. The author, Arash was my translator throughout the training.
I have been working alongside men and women of God in 222 Ministries for over three years now and I’ve been a witness to God’s great work among the Farsi-speaking people, particularly amongst Iranians. I am involved in 222’s Internet ministry, helping them with the design and development of their web services, but I’ve also had the honor of translating valuable lessons taught by teachers who are invited to our conferences throughout the year.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of 222’s latest conference in Turkey in mid April. This was the second time I’ve had the privilege of working with Dr. Lee Heyward. He is a great teacher of God’s Word and he has a blessed international ministry, equipping, empowering and releasing leaders all over the world, and his teaching has been a great blessing to me personally.
‘The response we had from the leaders and other guests at the conference was phenomenal. They found a new thirst and eagerness to study the Bible starting at Genesis all the way up to Revelation…’
On this occasion, Dr. Heyward taught us what it means to get deep into God’s Word and how to understand the Bible holistically. We learned that God’s Word is not 66 individual books, but one united and continuous book. We learned about the big story of God’s Word and five main themes that help shape it from Genesis through to Revelation. As Christian leaders, these teachings really helped us to gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word, and the tools Dr. Heyward equipped us with gave us the ability to see how integrated and united all parts of the Bible are.
I don’t know about other communities, but among Iranians most new believers, and sometimes even leaders, have a fear of the Old Testament, thinking it’s too complicated to understand and just better left unread. But what Dr. Heyward taught us during this conference was the exact opposite of what many of us had believed and it helped us, not only to understand the bigger picture of Bible, but also to see how related the Old Testament is to the New Testament, and how it can help deepen our understanding of the New Testament when it is studied deeply and correctly. The response we had from the leaders and other guests at the conference was phenomenal. They found a new thirst and eagerness to study the Bible starting at Genesis all the way up to Revelation, bearing in mind the big picture and the themes they had just learned.
In addition to all of these teachings, Dr. Heyward and Rev. Lazarus Yeghnazar taught the leaders a lot of points to help them enhance their leadership, and to strengthen their relationship with God and with other believers in Christ. These lessons were so valuable for me personally and I know many others will have been greatly impacted by them.
Did you know 244 million people worldwide are estimated to have been scattered and now live outside their country of origin?
Arash is one of those scattered. He belongs to an increasing population of Iranian refugees who have fled into Turkey to escape persecution, imprisonment or even death because of his faith.
I’ve just spent 10 days in Turkey where I, along with Pastor Keith Doyle from Winnetka Bible Church had the immense privilege of teaching and training Arash and many Iranian believers. Their hunger and thirst for the Scriptures was palpable!
News commentators and politicians regularly serve up slap-dash solutions to the refugee problem. Meanwhile leaders on the European Continent continue to wrestle with the overwhelming numbers of refugees flooding their borders. Relief agencies, security details and immigration officials are all feeling the effect.
Recently I was struck by the words of the Apostle Paul from Acts 17:26-27:
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in order that they might feel their way toward him and find him.
First, Paul affirms that the Lord is sovereign over his creation.
Secondly, while people of the earth are being scattered here, there and everywhere, they matter to God because of a common ancestry and a common Creator.
Thirdly, God presides over the time of our lives and the space of our lives in order that we might discover who He is and come to know Him.
What if…the Sovereign Lord of the universe is scattering people by design in order to advance His kingdom among some of the least-reached people on the planet? If this is true, and I believe it is, the implications for the modern-day church are enormous.
- Maybe we welcome those ‘strangers among us’ and share the Good News.
- Maybe we choose to plant churches among them, equip them and send them to reach their homelands.
- Maybe we don’t have to cross the ocean to reach the world.
I’m grateful that doors of opportunity have swung wide open for BrookLink to touch the lives of refugees like Arash. And I’m also grateful to you for your willingness to step up and partner with us financially to share hope across the nations. Your generous gifts and prayers make it possible for BrookLink to continue to say YES when the requests come for teaching and training in hard places. Thank you!
May the nations be glad!