Cry in the Dark

Could it be it is darker than we’ve imagined? “The Dark Night Rises”—but do we comprehend how dark this night? Two emails—one at the beginning of the summer and the other at the end—have set in motion a chain of thoughts. Maybe for you, too. The first email came from a young friend of mine, a student at this university, who is in Bangkok, Thailand, on a short-term mission: “Hello Pastor Dwight—Doing student missions over here in Thailand this semester has been quite eye opening. Before I ever left I thought to myself that all was good out ‘in the mission field’ . . . however, there are still great needs out here. Before I left I used to think that places like North Korea were the only locations left to be reached by the gospel, yet I’m working here in Bangkok (city of millions) and there is so much need spiritually. Even people in this (what we call) ‘reached’ area have no idea who Jesus is other than some word maybe they’ve heard on the Hollywood movies that roll through here. Sure there are little pockets of missionaries here and there all over the world yet there is SO much work to be done. I’m doing video stuff mostly with a little graphic design, and I’m not in the middle of nowhere. . . . Yes, there are regions out in the middle of the jungle that need to be reached, but people need to realize that there are mission fields in the cities as well. Missions isn’t the typical out-in-the-boonies kind of thing anymore. . . . I suppose my point is if you have a sermon series anytime soon that has any reference to missions or spreading the gospel, tell them the truth. It’s like nothing is happening out here. We need workers. . . . I’m really getting tired of this world. Let’s finish this work. . . . Pieter Damsteegt.” Then a few days ago I received an email from someone I’ve never met. But he and Pieter are obviously on the same page: “Hello Pastor—I’ll keep it short. I’m 25, doing mission work in Africa. From Boise, ID. Preached in my first evangelism campaign last month in the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], in the midst of 20,000 UN troops protecting Goma from attacks by a huge rebel army. Was with a team of 19 other speakers, thousands were baptized, 87 at my site. Will be in Ghana in November for another series with a team of 44 other speakers, and am currently in Rwanda doing work. . . . The teachings [he listens to our podcasts @] have definitely reinforced my desire above all else, that God’s Spirit be poured out. So we can ‘tell the world’ and go home. . . . Just a few thoughts on how I see some of this reality: 1) I picture those whom the Spirit has been poured out on will be literally working to spread the Gospel from 4 a.m. to midnight every day. Working on minimal food, but maximum energy. All OTHER things in our lives will need to be dropped at once; 2) Timidness as a characteristic will be nonexistent; 3) Spiritual wisdom will reach new heights for those with the full power of the Holy Spirit. . . . I pray for you, Pastor. . . . Looking forward to meeting you, very soon after the Latter Rain. Trevor Loucks.” Back to Pieter for a moment—in a March blog he unburdened his heart over the lost in Bangkok: “In walking back to the mission compound I could not help but shed a couple tears. Here in the middle of the world there is so much darkness, and the candles that could be out there or any other dark place shining in the darkness are wrapped up in other lighted rooms, if you catch my drift. . . . Whether or not you choose to join the ranks of reaching others and spreading the gospel is up to you, but as long as I have breath in me, there’s at least one more person somewhere that I have to reach, and I have faith that God will lead me to that person.” ( Two young men, one solitary passion even as “The Dark Night Rises”—their eloquence the obvious fruit of their immersion into this world for Christ. But then what more need be said than, “Here am I—send me”?