Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I write to you from KL where I am attending a series of SIM International meetings. While the goings-on are intensive, it is a privilege to have this opportunity to be interacting with co-workers and leaders from (literally) all over the world, and even from sister like-minded organizations. And as a bonus, I even have the unplanned occasion to catch up with a couple of brothers in Christ from our days serving together in Nigeria. What a joy that is!
As I mull over what to share with you all back in PSPC, a couple of thoughts come to mind. First, is the marvellous way that God has led our organization’s new International Director, the Rev Dr Joshua Bogunjoko.
Joshua is the first non-Westerner to lead SIM, an international, intercultural and interdenominational mission organization. He is a Nigerian family doctor with significant surgical training, and holds degrees in pharmacology and medicine, as well as a Master of Arts in Leadership and Management. His wife Joanna is also a medical doctor, and they have 2 children: Jochebed and Joel.
Drs. Joshua and Joanna began their missions career as members of the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS), the missions arm of the ECWA church, which today sends more than 2,400 Nigerians cross-culturally, with many of them serving in very difficult places - places where traditional western missionaries are no longer welcome. (ECWA, by the way, is the church God used SIM to plant in Nigeria).
Commissioned by the national ECWA church in 1993 and their home church in Lagos in 1995, they served at three mission hospitals in West Africa (Evangel and Egbe in Nigeria, as well as Galmi in Niger), becoming full members of SIM in 2001.
And what is equally remarkable in the journey of faith, is how a Canadian church (among others) came forward on hearing their story of how God has been leading them – to partner them by praying for them, and supporting them as their own missionaries. Indeed I am amazed by God’s grace in using a faithful Canadian church, to support an African couple, that they may serve Him by leading an international faith-based organization! How much more diverse, and international can you get?
Thank you, PSPC, for being the willing partners of Ariel and Connie Ceballos (and their family) – praying and supporting them in many ways, including financially! To me it is equally remarkable how a Singaporean church has been used by God to partner a Filipino couple by praying and supporting them so that they could be used by God to serve Him in distant Mongolia for more than 10 years, and even now continue to do so while they serve Him faithfully and obediently in the Philippines. Your partnership is deeply treasured by the Ceballos family as they serve in the key ministry of leading all of SIM’s work in the Philippines.
Brothers and sisters, “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!” (Galatians 6:9)
My second thought is the amazement about the sheer diversity, multiplicity, beauty and splendour of Christ’s body as we come together from East and West, North and South.
At one of the dinners, I had at my table an American, a Canadian, a Malaysian, a Dane, a Swiss, an Englishman, a Nigerian, a Chinese Australian, and a Korean! Other tables were equally varied. At our meeting venue – we pray together, worship together, deliberate together, and even as we agree to disagree (from time to time) with each other, I got a little glimpse of Revelation 7:9, where the Apostle John saw “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb!”
And I am looking forward to that day, when indeed before the throne of Christ, I have the joy to actually participate in this wholehearted worship in the midst of a truly international, intercultural, and interdenominational crowd!
Brothers and sisters in Christ – Billy Graham the evangelist just put it so succinctly, saying “Christ not only died for all: He died for each!” May we never forget our first love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and may we love Him so much that the words of the Apostle Paul ring and resonate deep in our hearts!
“‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:13 – 15)
May we ourselves be earnest disciples, bearing faithful witness for our Lord Jesus wherever He places us, and be making disciples for Him in each of our walks of life! Hallelujah!
Only because of His gracious love!