by Kirstie Dye, vision trip participant
Nineteen Frontier Fellowship friends from the US are on a vision trip in the Middle East to learn from our ministry partners about how the Good News of Jesus is transforming lives. Experience this partner visit through the eyes of those traveling with Associate Director Dan McNerney.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. —Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
I’ve traveled with others to a place in the world where the common visual art form is pieced mosaic. It’s all around us, and has served as a natural metaphor for the brothers and sisters in Christ who are teaching us so much.
“Now share your stories of suffering…” What a request made as we looked into the eyes of our teachers—theology students, ministry leaders, pastors from the Middle East. Each one’s story became a tile that collectively began to form the picture of an incredible mosaic of God’s work among this people group.
We listened in awe as stories developed with repeated phrases: Because we are Christian… No warning… Separation from family members… Solitary confinement… Interrogations… Physical torture… Psychological torture… Not knowing… Waiting… Fleeing… Suffering…
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save…”
These Christians’ faces had smiles and even sweet laughter as they declared, through tears, God’s power to care for each one of them personally. Their salvation stories… Opportunities to serve cell mates… Sharing the love of Jesus with murderers… Holding the hands of those sentenced to die… Gathering verses from memory to piece together Bibles… Comforting others… Being saved in spirit and body… My view of the mosaic increased in complexity and perfection as each of these pieces was placed before me.
“He will quiet you by his love…”
We reluctantly broke away from these holy gatherings, incredibly blessed by the presence of those who have suffered so much for their faith. It was natural to exchange warm hugs with our newly-met siblings in Christ. One hug I shared with a woman in the first country we visited was especially meaningful. Knowing we would likely see her siblings when we moved on to another nation, she asked me to pass along a hug from her to them. They’d been separated when they were forced to flee their homeland, and hadn’t seen one another in a while. Finding her siblings and giving them each a hug on behalf of their separated sister was a moment I’ll never forget.
“He will exult over you with loud singing…”
“Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus!” We joined our voices in praise to God, singing this hymn in English while others were singing in Farsi. We heard so many new songs full of beautiful chord progressions and cadences, and with scripted words displayed on the screen. It was a taste of the heavenly host praising God, and of God’s Spirit hovering over us with great joy. Yet more tiles in the mosaic.
I’m now on the plane headed home. The interior of the jet is a cross-section of humanity, and I’m curious to know where each passenger is going—not so much their arrival city, but really where each of their lives is headed. My fingers are moving on my phone screen, scribing, deleting, rethinking and struggling to know how to adequately describe the beautiful mosaic of God’s work among the people we visited.
I trust the Holy Spirit to provide the best grout between the tiles. I pray that you’ll be inspired—through the words of Zephaniah and the reflections shared from this vision trip—to join a Frontier Fellowship vision trip and see for yourself the incredible movement of people groups toward God that is happening in the world today. Your life will never be the same!