The Suffering Body of Christ
I (Joyce) also made a visit to Laos in my role as regional team leader. World Missions has been partnering with Faith CRC (Iowa) which began reaching out to Laos about 10 years ago. The church had sponsored a refugee who became a believer and later a pastor. When the church asked, “how can we help you?” he said, “help my people in Laos.”
As I worshipped on Sunday, I was struck with
the realization that “this is the persecuted church” and that worship in this place is a miracle of God. Almost all of the local leaders we met had been imprisoned for their work at some point. Laos does not allow missionaries and restricts many Christian activities. Yet here we were, worshiping Christ together.
It is also amazing that Faith could establish relationships and support various ministries, especially leadership development in Laos. But, clearly, God made a way where there was no way. The members of Faith had reached out in love to the Laotians and committed to a continuing relationship with the leaders. As I sat in that service, I was suddenly deeply aware of the spiritual realities that were taking place--“what is done in love remains” and “This is what it means to be the body of Christ.”
To one degree or another, the whole church in SE Asia is persecuted. In places like Cambodia we function fairly freely, but there are restrictions and community censure. Our presence in SEAsia as a mission and our efforts to empower and encourage leaders is not just about what we do but is a spiritual act of solidarity. As our partners, you have chosen to stand with the suffering body of Christ in this way.
In my new role, I am called to engage a mission strategy for SE Asia as a whole and build a team from the isolated CRC missionaries and partners here. I do need to raise funds for my ¼ time role which amounts to $15,000/year. Please consider financial support for me in this role in addition to our continuing work in Cambodia.