Tag Archives: Great Commission

Sabbatum Excerpt: A Grace-Awakened Approach to Mission by George Verwer


There is such a need for this grace-awakened, big-hearted approach in mission work. There are so many areas where a lack of grace causes hurt and tension and positively hinders the work of God across the globe. So often our fellowship as Christians seems to be based more on minor areas in which we are like-minded, than on the real basics of the gospel and the clear doctrines of the Christian faith which are so amazing and on which we should be more united…

I think of all the people who have been rejected, to some degree, because they did not fit in with someone else’s expectations – because they were not Baptists or Anglicans or because they did not speak in tongues, or did not come up to the mark on any one of a hundred possible issues, which may or may not be of genuine importance. Many have felt rejection and hurt because they were not received by those who emphasized the gifts of the Spirit, simply because they did not have the same understanding of those gifts. The reverse is also true. Those who emphasize the gifts of the Spirit have felt rejected by members of the body who didn’t.

What makes this problem even more complex is that so often preachers emphasize these smaller issues from the pulpit, affecting how their congregations think and how they evaluate other people and their beliefs. It seems to me that our behavior often testifies that these little issues are more important to us than the unity and reality that we have in Jesus Christ by the new birth through His Holy Spirit. We lack grace in this area.


George Verwer, Out of the Comfort Zone: Grace, Vision, Action! (Authentic Publishing: Colorado Springs, CO, 2000), 5-6.

 

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Ambassadorial Talk: Jonah Yonjan


From the month of April, we are going to feature a Christian leader in our Jonah Yonjan Portrait
“Ambassadorial Talk” interview section. This time, we are featuring a prominent leader, motivator, mobilizer, youth pastor, and faithful servant of God. Yes, he is Jonah Yonjan. He has been with Operation Mobilization Nepal for past 2 decades working in various capacities. He served as a National Coordinator of OM Nepal for past decade. At present, he is pursuing his further theological and leadership studies in Manila, Philippians with his family. Meantime, he is also involved in the ministry.  Recently, I (Satya) contacted him online for an interview without asking him if he would be willing to answer some of my questions for the blog. Despite his busy schedule with his school, family, and ministry, he was ready for this project and sat down to spare his time to answer these questions. He is a man of grace.


ATS: Please tell us briefly about your family and yourself. What brought you here in Philippians? Will you elaborate a little bit about your involvement in ministry here?

I was brought up in a very devoted Buddhist Family. I came to the Christion faith at the age of 19. Before I left the country for Philippians, I have served the Lord in Nepal for 2 years as a Youth Pastor and 18 years with Operation Mobilization Nepal as a National Coordinator and ministering in the church as an Elder.  I am married to Niru Yonjan and have one son, Johnny Yonjan.

Since I came to Manila, I have been working with High School students. God has given me this unique opportunity to work with medical students from next year. On the other hand, I am pursuing a master’s degree in Leadership in the International Graduate School of Leadership.

ATS: What made you Christian? What was so unique about Christianity?

I grew up in a religious family; I always looked for a true God.  There was time in my life when everything was downhill. Then I sought for someone who could help me.  Jesus then came as my comforter and gave me a new life. God’s love for the sinners and his forgiveness of our sin through the completed work of Jesus on the Cross is so unique and unrivaled in other religions that the message became so real and appealing to me when I first heard it.


I think what is so unique about Christianity is that it is not a religion or mere “dos” and “don’ts” but a relationship with One true God.


ATS: What have been the greatest influences in your life to get involved with the Operation Mobilization (OM) ministry in Nepal?

Operation Mobilization is a movement, not just an evangelistic program. We strive to reach out to the unreached and unchurched people all around the country. Every Christian is a missionary, and there is no exemption for anyone to not to share the Gospel. It was this movement that had a greater impact in my life. So, I got involved with OM. And you too have great experiences with OM! (He was referring to my involvement and quite an extraordinary experience at that with OM Nepal in the past).

ATS: Do you still have a vision for OM Nepal?

Definitely. I have seen His faithfulness to me all those years serving Him in OM.  He has helped me build the National base office, National Leadership Development, Mercy Ministry, Skill development  with Agriculture training and National board as well as to see Nepalese young people into the mission with the Ship ministry. Now, I am taking a sabbatical year after 18 years to train and empower myself for future ministry. God willing, I want to see OM Nepal become the missionary sending base for Nepali Christian society. I want to see Ministry among the Muslims in Nepal, especially in Terai in its 8 different districts (Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mohatari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsha).

ATS: Do you still do personal evangelism? Can you tell us a little bit about your imprisonment during Panchayat (one party) system in Nepal?

Personal evangelism is the effective way to bring the gospel to the lost people. Therefore, I still continue with this movement.

I was in the east side of the southern part of Nepal with the team and our plan was to bring the gospel to the Maithalee community.  I think I have a good command in speaking Maithalee, the local language to communicate the gospel effectively to the local Maithalees. We had an open air ministry in the marketplace. During the ministry time in the marketplace, we asked people to join for the Jesus film show in the evening.  It was about 8 pm; one of the Hindu people went to the police station and reported about our ministry in the market place. The government officer and the Police came to where we were showing the Jesus film. They arrested me right at the venue. All the other team members fled, which I never thought about doing it. They put me to trial and was sentenced a month of imprisonment. That time, however, was also an opportunity for me to share Christ with the prisoners.

The allegation from the then Royal government against me was of converting Hindus to Christianity. That was not true though. I knew proselytizing was against the constitution in the then only Hindu kingdom in the world. I was only sharing my faith with people of different faith.

It took me almost 2 years to fight my case in the court. I thank God for the victory that he gave me over all those accusations. And I became a free man again.  While I was in the prison, they did not allow me to meet with other Christians. I was imprisoned and chained under the category of “A” level prisoner. This category points out the severity of the crime. I was a “Religious criminal”.

Thank God for the seeds that I have planted amongst the Maithalee tribe. Now, five churches have been already planted there and reaching out to many.

ATS: Over these years since you gave your life to Christ, you have been through many ups and downs. If you were to live your Christian life over again, what would you have done differently?

Well, in those days Christians were not allowed to meet and have fellowship. Christians were so afraid of the local government. I was also rejected by my own family for my faith in Christ. Religion was not free like today. I had to defend my Christian rights in the community and the government to emphasize that I am not a second-class citizen of the country.

ATS: Finally, what do you believe is the world’s greatest need today?

God is a gracious God and He still loves so much for the people of the world. The greatest need is to bring hope, love and peace.  Therefore, harvest is ready but we need more workers to reap harvest for the kingdom of God.

Zealous to Mislead. Why not Become Zealous to Save?


Recently, I noticed that the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses is getting thicker in my neighborhood. Just last week, a woman in her 70s rang the door bell in my house for what they are probably best known for. A group of women was knocking on door-to-door to distribute the literature. Upon opening the door for her while holding a baby in one arm, she handed me a tract and asks if I believed in resurrection.

Today I bumped into another woman in her late 60 in the office of Secretary of State. I had my child with me. She approached me with big smile. I thought she was smiling at my child, since little kids draw attention of most adults. As she was less than 10 inches closer to me, I knew now that she was not smiling at my cute child but faking that big smile to simply hand me the same tract that I received a week ago which read whether I believed in the resurrection. I was shocked and blown away by the fact that she was in her walker thus could not walk without the help of the walker. Yet, she was out there in the cold chilling day in the mall to hand out the tracts and spread her belief.

Are evangelicals really slacking when it comes to reach out in public? Yes. In this pluralistic society where truth is relative is not so unopposed to Christianity. The excuse of opposition, however, does not hold much water in its claim. Do not get me wrong, as I am not saying that we have to follow the exact example of those people that I have mentioned earlier. What I am saying is that we can reach out to people in our neighborhood and introduce ourselves. Handing the Gospel tract is not the only way to introduce Jesus to people. Your neighbor next door might not be far away in terms of geography but in a personal level, we can be way too distant from each other. We might not have been able to connect to each other or relate to because we see them someone different than “I”. Have we introduced ourselves to them? Do we have that sort of zeal to earn the name “Christian” just as early believers in Antioch had? If JWs can invest their so much time and effort to knock on door-to-door and mislead the souls away, can we, at least, commit to pray for our church and people who are working in the ground to bind the wounded souls and bring the healing through the Holy Spirit?  Or how about inviting people who are broken  to partake with you in your table? Or how about we extend our helping hands little bit to partner in the Gospel by taking the financial burden off of our missionary brothers and sisters? Why do we not become zealous to reach out our lost sisters and brothers with love of Jesus Christ?

What if we take the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) seriously and live it out?