Each year for the past three years, Gospel Community Church has sent a team trip to a predominantly Muslim country in Central Asia on a short-term mission trip. During the trip, our team and local missionaries take Central Asian youth on a rafting wilderness adventure. During our first trip, a young woman (we’ll call her Laura) heard the gospel and chose to surrender her life and trust Christ as her savior. Shortly thereafter, her then fiancé (now husband) also came to know Christ as his Savior. During the second trip, Laura’s brother (we’ll call him Joey) was among the youth on the trip. Joey was also presented with the gospel, but did not decide to trust Christ as his savior.
This year on our most recent trip, eleven members of Gospel Community Church traveled again to Central Asia. When the raft was built and the supplies were gathered for the days our team would spend with the youth on the river, Joey was again among the teens set to embark. Throughout the days and nights of the trip, multiple leaders led Bible studies with the kids. Still, Joey wasn’t ready. GCC’s Jason Glen describes Joey’s passage through the trip as an “undercover experience”. From what the leaders could tell, there were not a lot of, if any, one-on-one conversations with Joey on the trip, but the leaders were praying.
On the last night of their wilderness adventure, the plan for salvation was again presented around the campfire. Those who accepted Christ were asked to take sticks representing their life, and place them in the fire. Joey was emotional, but still he did not come forward. Finally, when the trip was over, and the goodbyes were being said, Joey ran up to our team and conveyed that he had made his decision. He prayed right there, and accepted Christ as his Savior! The tears flowed as Laura was finally able to embrace her brother as a new brother in Christ.
Through these three short-term mission trips, these three members of a Muslim family in a Muslim nation have come into contact with and accepted the truth, life, and transforming power of the gospel. They now face trials and testing of their faiths as their father asks them to renounce their decision to follow Christ. Please be in prayer for strength, protection, deeper knowledge and growth for Laura, her husband, and Joey as they face tests most of us may never encounter. Please pray that the hearts of their parents will be softened and surrendered to Jesus as well. Their story is not over, and the gospel is not finished reaching into dark and hard places.