Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

Theological Musings of a Former Muslim: 1

by Melissa Chang |

Uncategorized

qur'an

Last week we ran the testimony of a former Muslim who turned to Christ. Now in a new series, we have decided to share the theological details of his conversion, quoting both the Qur’an and the Bible. We ourselves do not claim to be experts in either, but we do feel it could be of great value for others to see the scriptural issues and conclusions that “Sam” went through during this process.

As told in last’s week’s autobiography, “Sam” was raised in a very strict religious Muslim home. His father was, in fact, a respected Muslim leader. “Sam” practiced Islam and learned Arabic to study the Qur’an.  Then one day he ran into a group of Christians preaching. He ended up with a New Testament and a Way of Salvation tract.  In our new series, we will now post his account of his theological struggle.

Tune in the next few weeks to learn about his theological journey through the following topics.

2 -The Uniqueness of Jesus in the Qur’an

3 -The Authority of the Bible in the Qur’an

4 -The Love of Jesus

5 -The Claims of Jesus

6 -The Sinlessness of Jesus in the Qur’an

7 -The Term “Son of God”

8 -The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

9 -The Coming of Muhammad

10 -Final Conclusions

From Prisoner to Missionary: Jacob DeShazer

by Melissa Chang |

Famous Missionaries, Japan, Uncategorized

Jacob DeShazerIt was December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Peal Harbor. Jacob DeShazer was a 29 year old seargent in the US army. When he heard about the raid, he made it his goal to pay back the Japanese. He volunteered to join a special group that would attack Tokyo and turned the tide of the Pacific war. Unfortunately, after his successful mission, he and his team had to ditch their planes, parachuting into enemy territory. They were captured.

For the next three years, he paid a heavy price for his bravery as the Japanese beat, tortured and starved him as a “war criminal.” He was held in a series of P.O.W. camps both in Japan and China for 40 months — 34 of them in solitary confinement. He was severely beaten and malnourished while three of the crew were executed by a firing squad, and another died of slow starvation.

Filled with hatred and rage towards all Japanese, something seemingly impossible happened. DeShazer vowed to spend his life as a missionary, telling the Japanese of Christ’s love. So, what changed him? He asked for a Bible towards the end of his imprisonment and had a radical conversion experience that changed his life forever.

Here are some excerpts from a tract that DeShazer wrote and had distributed around Japan about his experience.

I WAS A PRISONER OF JAPAN
by Jacob DeShazer (1950)

“I was a prisoner of Japan for forty long months, thirty-four of them in solitary confinement

When I flew as a member of General Jimmy Doolittle’s squadron on the first raid over Japan on April 18th, 1942, my heart was filled with bitter hatred for the people of that nation. When our plane ran out of gas, and the members of the crew of my plane had to parachute down into Japanese-held territory in China and were captured by the enemy, the bitterness of my heart against my captors seemed more than I could bear.

Taken to Tokyo with the survivors of another of our planes, we were imprisoned and beaten, half-starved, and denied by solitary confinement even the comfort of association with one another, these terrible tortures taking place at Tokyo, Shanghai, Nanking and Peiping. Three of my buddies, Dean Hallmark, Fill Farrow and Harold Spatz, were executed by a firing squad about six months after our capture, and fourteen months later another of them, Bob Meder [a strong Christian], died of slow starvation. My hatred for the Japanese people nearly drove me crazy.

It was soon after Meder’s death that I began to ponder the cause of such hatred between members of the human race. I wondered what it was that made the Japanese hate the Americans, and what made me hate the Japanese. my thoughts turned toward what I had heard about Christianity changing hatred between human beings into real brotherly love, and I was gripped with a strange longing to examine the Christian’s Bible to see if I could find the secret. I begged my captors to get a Bible for me. At last, in the month of May, 1944, a guard brought the Book, but told me I could have it for only three weeks.

I eagerly began to read its pages. Chapter after chapter gripped my heart. …

How my heart rejoiced in my newness of spiritual life, even though my body was suffering so terribly from the physical beatings and lack of food. But suddenly I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes, and that when I looked at the Japanese officers and guards who had starved and beaten me and my companions so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity. I realized that these Japanese did not know anything about my Saviour and that if Christ is not in a heart, it is natural to be cruel. I read in my Bible that while those who crucified Jesus on the cross had beaten Him and spit upon Him before He was nailed to the cross, He tenderly prayed in His moment of excruciating suffering, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And now from the depths of my heart, I too prayed for God to forgive my torturers, and I determined by the aid of Christ to do my best to acquaint the Japanese people with the message of salvation that they might become as other believing Christians. …

At last freedom came. On August 20th, 1945, American parachutists dropped onto the prison grounds and released us from our cells. We were flown back to the United States and placed in hospitals where we slowly regained our physical strength.

I have completed my training in a Christian College, God having clearly commanded me: “Go, teach the Japanese people the way of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ,” and am now in Japan as a missionary, with the one single purpose to lead me – to make Christ known.

I am sending this testimony to people everywhere, with the earnest prayer that a great host of people may confess Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.”

In one of the most inspiring stories and miraculous stories to come out of this story, Fuchida, the Japanese pilot who bombed Pearl Harbor, and DeShazer, the Doolittle Raider who bombed Tokyo, became close friends. Fuchida became a Christian in 1950 after reading the DeShazer’s testimony above – and, like DeShazer, he spent the rest of his life as a missionary in Asia

Here is a video interview with Jacob DeShazer from CBN

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I was a Prisoner of Japan is DeShazer’s story as told to Don R. Falkenberg of The Bible Meditation League (BML), 1950.

Mission Trip Possible: Reason #3

by Lori McCarthy |

Uncategorized

globeWe are all called to be a part of the Great Commission.

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’ve probably heard this before.  But just in case it didn’t sink in the first time, I’ll say it again.  As Christians, we have all been called to be a part of the Great Commission.  In fact, the last thing that Jesus said after he reappeared to the disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28: 18-20) 

If he called his twelve disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, obviously he meant for those disciples to go make disciples and in turn teach them to go and make more disciples, and so on and so forth until finally the gospel is spread to the ends of the earth.  God’s Word says, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1: 8 NIV)

You see, he wasn’t just calling his twelve disciples to go.  He wasn’t just calling the preachers to go.  He was calling all of us.  He was calling you and me.  I often wonder if it grieves the heart of God to know that so many of us turn a deaf ear to Jesus and simply choose to ignore the call.  

Just as Jonah found out when he was called to go to the Ninevites, in a sense I believe to ignore the call would be considered the same thing as disobedience.  Thankfully, we have a Savior who is very near to all of us and has already paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, which is why we should be ecstatic about heeding the call in the first place.    

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To see the full list of reasons, Click Here.

Susana’s Story-Finding Christ in the Amazon: Part 1

by Heather Carr |

Peru, South America, Stories from the Field, Uncategorized

amazon jungle light
Photo by jonrawlinson

Susana rolled the rough brown root in her hand.  She wept as she raised the deadly plant to her lips and began to chew.  She would rather die than witness the slow starvation of her young children.  She  waited for the white clouds she had seen engulf so many fish in the river to crowd out her pain.

Later that night, missionaries Larry and Addie Garman found themselves awakened by loud weeping sounds coming from the river.  They knew they were in for a long night.  The couple had been living in the Amazon jungle long enough to understand that traveling the river at night was treacherous, and never taken lightly.  Their waiting would come to an end as two small boats beached nearby.

 By the dim light of a flash light, Larry began to recognize the small crowd climbing ashore.  The weeping women were accompanied by men carrying a stretcher.  His trained eye immediately recognized the barbasco poisoning.  “No, not Susana.” Larry thought as his eyes took in Susana’s ashen face. 

Larry’s mind began to replay the time spent in church with Susana as a child.  The first Vacation Bible School session they had shared with the other Aguaruna children.  Her amazement at her first experience with crayons, and the moment she accepted Christ as her savior.  Larry was saddened by the thought that this young mother’s life would likely be over before dawn.

Read Part 2 Here

Read Part 3 Here

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Larry and Addie Garman retired from the missions field in April, 2009.  The couple’s work lives on in Peru through the construction of the Larry and Addie Garman Missionary Training Center in the country’s second largest city, Arequipa.  To learn more about the center, visit the Extreme Nazarene Ministry website.  Additional information about the Extreme Peru projects are featured in Engage Magazine.

Who Can Be a Missionary?

by Melissa Chang |

Uncategorized

We often think missionaries are special super spiritual types, but in reality, they are just regular people like you and me. People who might not know what they want to do with their lives, people with doubts, people with families and jobs and troubles and fears and dreams. This funny and down-to-earth video is a great reminder of just how non extraordinary missionaries really are.

Missionaries
by Maxime Soumagnas

Missionaries from Maxime Soumagnas on Vimeo.

Real-life Missionaries: A Tale of Two Christians in Japan

by Heather Carr |

Uncategorized

japanese cemeteryOf Japan’s 127 million people, less than 1 percent claim to be Christians. Missionaries John and Belinda McBade are trying to change this grim statistic. I caught up with John, who now lives in Japan with his wife, Belinda. Here, John shares a part of their story–a tale of planting the seeds of faith and changing lives one day at a time.

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During a short term mission to Japan, previous to our time here now, we were spending the day with our home stay host. He teaches in a Jr. High girl’s school and so he invited us to join them for a field trip to a local sea park. Most of our day was spent with the teachers and staff.

At the end of the day we had a meal with the school staff. The woman sitting across from us asked me, “So, why are you in Japan?” As I began to answer, it seemed suddenly all ears at the table were focused on what we had to say. I explained that we were missionaries and that we were Christians. She was asking me questions about my God.

Then she said, “Would you like to see one of my gods?”

“Sure,” I said. She pulled out a handkerchief and began to unwrap it carefully, producing a small wooden circle that had an ink image stamped upon it. I asked what it was for–their gods are for special purposes.

“This one is for traveling,” she replied.

golden bowIn reply I said, “I mean no disrespect, but your god is a dead little piece of wood. Here, I can make another god for you just as easily.” I proceeded to draw a little “happy face” on a napkin.

She replied, “Yes, but this one is different. I paid the priest for this one and he has blessed it.”

I answered, “Tell me, if you didn’t have this little piece of wood with you, would you be afraid? Is this why you carry it?”

“Yes,” she answered.

I looked her in the eye and with a calm reassuring look I answered, “My God is alive. He lives inside of me and He is with me always.”

I then sensed my wife tapping me on the knee under the table. She was signaling me she wanted to say something. She began to speak, “You know when I was a little girl, I had so much fear. It seemed I was afraid of all kinds of things: people, traveling and being successful at things. I was always dealing with and trying to overcome my fear, and it was so hard for me. Now God lives inside me and He gives me the assurance that I can do anything He asks me to do, because He gives me hope and strength.”

It was very quiet at the table. Everyone was listening to us with polite and careful intent. Our home stay host was looking at us with a smile that said, “Thanks. You said it when I could not.” We don’t know that anyone received Christ at that table that day but the seed was planted. Someone will water, someone will harvest. The complete work is up to God and the power of His Holy Spirit. We are just asked to be faithful in the part He gives us to do. For my wife and me, this was a very exciting moment that we will never forget. That was when God started the work in our hearts to come to Japan full time.

Photos by bhollar and  x-eyedblonde

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If you would like to learn more about the McBades, and their ministries, visit them on the web at www.mcbade.com or www.gracejapan.com.

Margaret Becker in Malawi

by Melissa Chang |

Uncategorized

This is a video from a trip that Grammy Award Winner Margaret Becker made when she went to Malawi. She is a spokesperson for World Vision and encourages people to sponsor a child. Just a few dollars a month can change the life of an entire family. To sponsor a child, vist the World Vision site at www.worldvision.org.

Fundraiser Ideas for Missions

by Denise Oliveri |

missions Fundraising, Uncategorized

piggy bankTaking a mission trip, whether you are leaving for a few weeks, or a few months takes more than advanced planning. It takes money, too. If you don’t have the right funding, your mission will be short-lived. Thankfully, most churches, friends and family members are usually happy to help pitch in. There are many fundraisers that can help the much-needed funds for any type of mission. Here are some ideas.

Letter writing campaign:

A letter writing campaign is simple enough. It involves sending out a well-written letter to as many people as you know. This includes church members, families and friends, or local businesses. You can expect to raise anywhere from $2000-3000 in a well planned letter. Make sure you send a stamped return envelope and send everyone who sends in money a thank you card.

Get the church involved:

Most churches are happy to help missionaries raise the funds needed for a mission trip. The church can help by giving their endorsement or sharing the idea with the congregation. Many times, churches that want to raise a large amount of money for a mission will “pass the plate” for that specific reason. You might also consider having a meeting about the trip so the congregation can understand the reason why you are going and what needs you may have. Make sure that your upcoming trip is mentioned in the church bulletin or newsletter each week.

Have fundraisers within the church:

Many families preparing to leave on a mission, will organize fundraisers within the church. This is a great idea, and most church members are more than happy to pitch in to help. You could hold a coffee and bake sale before or after church services, a large car wash, or even sell pre-made dinners that the congregation has donated. You may even consider holding a carnival-type event so the children can participate, or a penny drive, which usually turns out very successful.

Fundraisers in the community:

There are also ways that you can get the community involved in your fundraising efforts. Many restaurants and fast food places have fundraising nights where the percentage of the proceeds for a particular time is given to a charity. Call around to see if this is an option for you. Garage sales can also earn big bucks and if you are going on a long missions trip, it might be a great idea to clear out the unwanted items in your home. How about selling high ticket items on eBay or signing up for GoodSearch? There really are many ways that you can band together with others to help earn money for your mission.

Think about your fundraising ideas and plan carefully to implement them. In no time, you will have enough money for your trip.

Photo by annia316

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