My mission trip to visit Mission ONE’s ministry partner in the Middle East
in May 2009 has these favorite memories
I remember learning together with mostly first-generation, Muslim-background believers—in a one-day Bible study—“Honor and shame in the book of Philippians.” It was so rewarding to observe some of the believers make profound discoveries about seeing their own cultural values of honor and shame reflected in Scripture. One woman overcame feelings of shame concerning her faith in the Jesus—by the truth of God’s Word—and became much more free and bold in sharing Christ with others.
I remember laughing a lot (A LOT!) with my Arab Christian friends as I tried to pronounce a certain name in Arabic—in a feeble attempt to show respect for their language. The name was not an Arabic name, and as I pronounced it, I soon learned that with my pronunciation, it meant “stinky.” Hilarious.
I remember during a Sunday gathering in a picnic setting, I further explored the “honor and shame” theme with our ministry partner and their first-generation believers. “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15). The principle is this: Sharing the good news of the gospel is so honorable and wonderful in the eyes of God that it transforms the feet of the one preaching into beautiful feet! (Note: In that culture, feet were often thought of as dishonorable or associated with servitude and shame; see Psalm 8:6, Psalm 110:1, Matthew 10:14, John 13, Ephesians 1:22, etc.)
We stayed at the home of the father and mother of our ministry partner. I found this very classic Arabic home to be a place of peace and honor. The father is an elderly and much-honored Christian leader. He had many years ago given up his career with the government and began to follow Jesus. This gentle man is a man of great peace and great prayer. He rises early every morning for an extensive time of prayer. He also loves to tell people about Jesus. Not long ago, he led a religious leader from his neighborhood to Christ. Now, he is discipling this man and his immediate family—along with some extended family members who have become followers of Jesus.
For some time, I had been talking with our ministry partner about a special gift to honor his father. So on the drive to his father’s home, we stopped at a shoe store and bought a pair of shoes for him. When we were sitting in their home courtyard listening to these great stories about his life with Jesus, I thought it would be a wonderful moment to give the gift. With tears, I quoted Romans 10:15, “…How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”—and we gave this gentle man of God a new pair of shoes, a joint gift from his son and me.
Are you interested in learning more about Mission ONE’s partnership with this ministry in the Middle East? Contact Werner Mischke.