Summer Recap – September 2022 – Where in the world are Rachel and Amber? Many of you may be familiar with the computer game popularized in the 80’s-90’s that gave the ‘where in the world’ question its rise to fame. The storyline followed notorious fictional villain Carmen Sandiego around the world trying to solve crimes and keep up with her travels – catching her was how to win the game. We do not relate to Carmen in many aspects, but we certainly have traveled the world this summer – and ended with some big life changes to boot!
In my last newsletter, I asked for prayer for many different travel plans and ministry opportunities for this past summer. Thank you to every one of you who prayed for these, if even just once, – I fully believe the Lord worked through them and I’m excited to share with you updates on all that transpired. I hope you will be as encouraged by these reports of how the Lord is working in various areas of the world as I was to be a part of them. Truly, I wouldn’t be able to participate in opportunities like this summer held without your support!
The first trip of the summer was to the island of Tahiti, one of the many islands that make up the country known as French Polynesia located in the South Pacific. My good friend Rachel Musser and I traveled together to visit missionaries Mark and René Perkins at the beginning of June. Our prayer was that we would be able to be a source of encouragement to them and believers we met there, that we would be of support however was needed, and to learn more about a country that neither of us had been to before.
The great beauty of the island was the first thing I was struck by. Seeing such a masterpiece almost takes your breath away, and serves as a physical reminder that there is great design in our world that points to a powerful Creator. As my eyes beheld the works of His hand, Romans 1:20 came to mind which says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made”. Truly there could be no denying the existence of an intelligent and masterful creator. Tahiti is renowned in popular culture as a paradise. One author even went so far in his writings about the country to claim that the curse of Adam didn’t exist there. But the Word of God stands alone as the ultimate source of truth, and it tells us that all of nature and humanity is under sin’s curse. Jesus Christ came to save us from that curse and provide hope for a better future. One day there will be paradise on earth, but that has not yet occurred and will only unfold according to God’s plan as detailed in His Word. Tahiti thus has a complicated relationship and past with its myth of being a paradise, and many people have suffered under the projection of this false idea. On our first day there we got to attend a local Tahitian church service. Later that week we traveled with Mark and René to the neighboring island of Moorea where a small group of women lived that the Perkins’ had been able to establish a Bible Study group with. In the weeks prior Mark and René had given out gospel coins to the ladies that they could use to share about Christ with. One woman, Magalee, shared that she had already given them all away! While there, Rachel and I had the opportunity to share with the women a gospel diagram that we used with 3DTC (the gap-year program we served at this past year) at a fair evangelism event. They were very interested in using the resource, and Mark and René had plans to translate it into French. Much encouragement was had as the women shared their stories about how Christ had impacted their lives. They also had great concern for the situation in Ukraine and how they could be praying for the war and believers there. Rachel had the opportunity to share updates and prayer requests with them from friends who are living in the war-torn country. Later in the week we visited with a number of different ‘home cell’ groups the Perkins’ had connected with. These are groups of individuals who meet in different homes to study the Bible together – seeking to grow in the truths the Scripture teaches rather than the traditions that are espoused in most of the religious institutions. While with these groups Mark was able to share some messages on the topics of progressive revelation and the importance of reading the Word of God in context. We saw a spark of interest with the some of the people in opportunities for biblical education – of which there is a great need for on the islands. Many challenges to this exist. There is a general lack of education as the sole high school for all of the islands exists on the main island. Due to financial and geographical barriers – children on more remote islands do not typically make it past elementary or middle school. Additionally, there is much distortion of biblical truth with the popularity of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious groups that operate under a guise of Christianity. Please continue to be in prayer for these home cell groups and the Perkins’ ministry in French Polynesia. If you would like to learn more about life and ministry there – here is Mark and René’s website: https://evanelia.org/ . We ended the trip with participating in an Operation Christmas Child (OCC) event. Many of you may be familiar with this ministry that packs shoeboxes with gifts and sends them around the globe. At a shoebox distribution event, children are invited to take part in a 12 week discipleship program that will introduce them to salvation through faith in Jesus and encourages them to grow as followers of Him. At the end of the 12 weeks there is a graduation ceremony where the children’s family come and hear about all that the children are learning. The children are also gifted with a certificate and copy of the Bible in their language. René, Rachel, and I had the opportunity to plan some games for such a graduation event – one of the first on the islands!