What Outreach Is
Written by: Rachel Armstrong
One of my favourite outreach stories does not sound all that spectacular on the surface. It was just a simple conversation with a church. But for me it sums up what outreach is.
I was in Nepal working with Titus Project. Titus Project is the outreach for the School of Biblical Studies. The main focus is teaching how to study the scriptures. This is so that pastors and church leaders who are unable to attend seminary can still study the word. They can also have access to solid biblical truths.
We had been teaching for almost 2 months at this point and we were tired. It was a struggle to figure out how to fit our western style teaching system into an eastern world view. We wanted to do this without compromising the content of what we were teaching. Which is no easy task. We were also a team of all introverts who were trying to connect with a group of extremely extroverted people. It was not going well and was rather discouraging. We were questioning the point of us even being there. Especially since we had not seen much fruit from anything we had done.
The location we were in was a church in a small village somewhere in the Himalayas. Honestly I still have no idea where we were exactly. We had been teaching all week, and as I said pretty exhausted.
A Surprising Moment
It so happened that our week of teaching landed on a Major Hindu holiday. The tradition was that the oldest son in the household would come around and bless each member of the family. He would then give each of the daughters the bindi (the red dot on their forehead).
The pastor of the church and his oldest son were both believers. The mother and rest of the household were Hindu.
In the middle of one of our worship and teaching sessions the mother walks in and tries to get her son to leave with her so that he could perform this ceremony. He refused and chaos ensued. I have never seen such an uproar. She was publicly shaming him, calling him a bad son and all sorts of other things. Immediately the pastor jumped in and started yelling, then all the other women got involved. It was a very noisy chaotic mess. In the midst of it all the son just sat there. He seemed so stoic and peaceful. He refused to leave with his mother and eventually the dust settled. We were able to finish our worship session in relative peace.
Once everything was over one of my teammates asked him what happened and why he responded the way he did. He said that the only reason he had been able to sit in the church and not respond out of anger is because of something that another YWAM team had told him a few weeks earlier. The rough translation of his answer was about Jesus being with us in the middle of our hardest moments.
The Ripples of Influence
What is important to know is that that team had no idea the influence they had on this boy’s life. In fact they were probably rather discouraged by the lack of response they had in the moment; we often don’t get to see the impact that we have on others. I was privileged to see how much this team had affected his walk with the Lord. Our team was also extremely encouraged by it at the time. But the team still have no idea.
God gave me the revelation that just because we hadn’t seen the impact we were having didn’t mean it wasn’t happening. There have been many outreach teams that come back discouraged because they didn’t have what we would consider “amazing stories”. There were no salvation stories or spectacular moments, no one broke down in tears or got miraculously healed. But we can all take this story as a living example of how God’s word never goes out without making a change in someone’s life. That is what outreach is.
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