In Revelation 5:8-10 we read the words of the Apostle John,
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’”
The declaration of this text echoes in our hearts as we prepare to obey Christ’s command to “go” to the nations. Our motivation is that Christ is worthy of worship. Our confidence is in the promise that a people have been ransomed from every tribe, language, people and nation through Christ’s blood. Our desire is to be laborers in the harvest of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross.
To this end, our family of five—Christian, Betsy, Lorraine, Colette and Jean-Luk—will be attending Ethnos360 training center in Roach, MO in August of 2019. We have been married 4 years, and God has blessed us with three children. While God has been growing our family, we have been blessed to serve under a non-profit organization which shares the Gospel with Somali refugees in our hometown, Barron, WI. We have also been serving in our sending church Providence Reformed Baptist of Rice Lake, WI. However, we continue to have a steady conviction that we are to serve on a foreign field. It is with joy that we finally sense God’s leading to attend Ethnos360’s training center next year! Ethnos360 (formerly New Tribes Mission) focuses on bringing the Gospel to unreached people groups and church planting. We will be training for two years in linguistics, culture and language acquisition, as well as other areas necessary for church planting in remote settings. After training, we will work with Ethnos360 to be placed with a church planting team.
I was born in the Central African Region. I grew up in a family that went to church every Sunday. I knew about God yet I never really understood what the Gospel of Christ was. I believed that God would always forgive me no matter what I did, just as long as I asked for forgiveness I would avoid going to hell. A civil war broke out and Through God’s goodness my family and I were able to flee to the United States. This took place in 2001, I was twelve years old. At this point in my life I still did not understand the work of Christ on the Cross. I was living life for what pleased me. I would do things I knew were not right thinking I would just ask God for forgiveness and everything would be fine. One summer at the age of sixteen an opportunity to go to Bible camp was presented to me and I took it. I knew it was fun because I had attended a few in the past. One night at the camp, I prayed attention to what the speaker had to say. That night the speaker had a clear board on the stage, and on it was written the word LIVE. The speaker said “If your only purpose in life is to LIVE for your enjoyment and things that please you, what you are living for is EVIL” he turned the board around and Live became Evil. I am a visual person so this captivated my attention and made since. The speaker went on “But when you believe that you have been living for evil and Christ lived the perfect life dying for your sins on the Cross making you righteous, that is when your Evil is lifted from you and you begin to LIVE.” It was then that I was understood what was saving grace and was overwhelmed by God’s Holiness and conviction. I fell to my knees and I asked God to forgive me of all my sins to make me a new creation. This was the day God rescued me from the penalty of my sins.
Christian and I could not have come from two more different backgrounds. I was born in a small town in Minnesota. My family moved to Wisconsin when I was about four to another small dot on the map. Both my mother and father were raised in families that loved the Lord, taught their children to obey the Bible, and made church a family priority. They raised my four siblings and I in the same way. I believe I first understood that Jesus died for my sins when I was four years of age. I remember praying in Sunday School and asking Jesus to save me. This was my testimony of faith for many years, and I certainly believe that this was the start of the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. As a young girl, I read my Bible, enjoyed church, tried to share the Gospel with my friends, and really wanted to be a good follower of Christ. However, my understanding of God’s grace was somewhat incomplete. As a senior in high school I began to wrestle with God’s goodness and the problem of evil in the world. The resulting struggles such doubts produced in my life showed me my sinful nature clearly. I attended a Bible College with a deepening understanding of my sinful propensities. One night, God’s Spirit brought into perfect clarity what I would have said I knew, “I was an enemy of God. Apart from Christ’s work on the cross, I had no goodness.” I had grown up in a home where we really couldn’t do anything too bad. And I am not faulting my parents–I am so thankful for the many evils they protected us from. But somehow I had missed that I didn’t just do bad things, I was bad. I was God’s enemy. And this is when God’s grace was able to come flowing in and produce a changed life. I also had to grow in the realization that we live the Christian life rooted in the Gospel. I am a person that is easily seduced by self-righteousness–or living outside of grace. I truly cannot pinpoint when I came to a saving faith. It may have been at the age of four–God graciously saving a child with child-like faith–or it may have been on my knees in a snowy park during my time at Bible College when God’s Spirit was communicating to me that my struggles to be righteous on my own were only making things worse. But here is the truth I stand on, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:1-5a