We had the opportunity to live in another country for four years.
We had not (unfortunately) yet caught the House Church vision. BUT what we experienced because of having a "tentmaking" vision (being like Paul, supporting ourselves in the workplace and sharing the gospel as much as possible)resulted in us "accidentally" discovering the truths contained in the simple church vision: that the greatest impact we had as believers was NOT on the people we "tricked" into going to church, but on the people we LOVED in our home.
Some examples: One woman said, "I never wanted to believe in God before, but seeing your family makes me want to believe in God." She had been getting to know us for three years, and had been a real "connecting person" for us with others -- yet previously, she had read Shirley MacLain's "Out on a Limb" and believed in that vision of reality. Just for her to become open was a real breakthrough. Another said, "I didn't want to get married and have a family, because my family was so terrible. But your family has given me hope that it can be different." Several Christian families experimented with home schooling because of our example. One continues to homeschool now, three years later. Very radical there! Several people from my husband's workplace chose to follow Jesus, or returned to the Lord, because of his workplace testimony. Quite a few families got connected with believers because our family acted as a catalyst between people who would not normally meet one another. We bridged social gaps by inviting people of many kinds into our home together.
Our "family life" on the field WAS our ministry!
We have been total immersion now into trying to fill in the gaps in our understanding so that in the future we might be used the same way again -- but more effectively!
Hi Laurie Ann and all, Thank you for the post. I realize it's a bit aged, but inspiring non-the-less. My wife and I just yesterday decided we would go to India, Lord willing. I was there in 2001, and it was awesome. My wife and I also served as interim pastors in a small church in Jamaica. India is worlds away from the USA, but not without it's western influence on the church there. Many churches in India are home churches by default. In the rural areas, a church of 100 is quite large and unusual. My wife is a minister and a nurse and she wants to help out in the hospital at Christ for India. (www.christforindia). I have an open door there to teach and work with the indeginous pastors being trained there and at least two other locations. God has been steering us away from western methodology and back to the bible. My host in 2001 has a home meeting every morning at 5:30 AM. They sing songs. Then they sit in a circle in the floor and each one reads a chapter from scripture. Then each one takes a turn in prayer followed by fellowship. I can tell you the peace is so intense in that home it's staggering. I think I've posted elsewhere on this forum that Mahatma Ghandi read the Bible once. His remarks upon concluding his reading was that "if Christians would live like the Bible says, India could be won to Christ in just one day". He was no fool. He understood that we influence others much more by how we live our everyday life than the message we preach. It is staggering when you stop and think about it. Home meetings is what this site is all about. When we have meetings in our homes, it is more difficult to pretend the lifestyle we live. It's the real deal or it's not. Saved and unsaved can recognize it. The witness is high impact. Rural people in India are dirt poor, literally. They have never heard a phone ring, never heard of Walmart, and most have not yet heard the name of Yeshua, our Lord Jesus. I went to villages there where I was the first white skinned man they had ever seen. I saw men in loin cloth and bow and arrow. It's that basic. So the potential is incredible. There is only one missionary per/500,000 Indians. If the missionary is heavily sponsored by a denomination, they are usually trying to make the Indians like the Americans instead of modeling Christ before them. So that thins out the reality of how many Spirit led people there are in the country. India has a population of about 1.2 billion people. I never set out to minister to pastors or church leaders. God just sat me down in front of them while I was there, and they have been begging me back ever since. I'm just a vessel, the Lord is what's inside. So it really is God that they hunger for. Most Indians who attend church do not own a Bible. They can be purchased locally in their own language for about $2.00 US but that just well be 2 million. So that makes teaching the pastors even that much more important. Because all they know about God is what they see in how we live and what the pastors tell them the Bible says. So I thank God for the open doors and I fully intend to pour out my heart and soul and minister to as many as I can. We have ample income to take care of our personal needs while there. We just need aifare too and from and our visas. I know God will supply because I know that is where He'd have us to be. We ask you all to stand with us in prayer, that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus said if we would "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things would be added unto us". We want to honor God in our obedience, no matter what the cost. As we live our lives in His power, clean before Him and our fellow man, we realize that there is no telling what may happen, and will happen. So we are excited. Christ for India is sending us a travel package. We are making plans to scale down our possessions even more than what we now have. We have two cars and I'm selling one this weekend, buyer already on hand. We want nothing but treasures in heaven, the greatest of which is souls, really converted to Christ, worshipping and praising Him forever more. Please know that as you stand with us, you become part of the blessing that God has prepared for those who love Him and are called after His purpose. Anyone knowlegeable in military affairs will tell you that for every front line soldier, there are at least 9 behind him in support. It's the same in the Army of the Lord. So we do need you, and do not want anyone to miss out on the blessing God has. We do not serve "El Cheapo". God lavishes blessing on those who obey Him and honor them with their walk, not their talk. Thanks to David and all saints here for allowing me to share this adventure with you. I'll do my best to keep you posted as our adventure in Christ Jesus begins to unfold. To God be the glory, now and forever amen.
Immersed in His love,
Lahry and Debbie Sibley 118 W. 3rd St. Winslow, Arizona 86047 firstname.lastname@example.org