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Making disciples among the unreached

Challenged and Changed

By Merla Gogel
Tags: From Canada
The Relevancy of the Gospel

Serving overseas has a way of challenging and changing people.  Leah* found that serving in creative arts ministry in the Middle East changed her perspective! (To learn more about Leah’s ministry, read Part 1 of her story).

Living in Canada, it can be easy for the church to take the Gospel for granted, and in some cases the church has become stale and nonchalant about the Gospel.  However, when touring the different countries in the Middle East, she observed that the Gospel is alive and relevant!

In some of these areas, publically expressing faith in Christ is dangerous. In one community, many young men had gone from the community to fight with a terrorist group. This group had a strong presence in the community. Yet one 12-year-old boy, who attended the concert put on by the team, came to Leah after and wanted her to know he was a follower of Christ.  He kept saying, “Jesus – Me”.  To proclaim this in public was dangerous, but he was not going to let that force him to be silent regarding his faith. The church in this community was strong and on fire for God - despite the surrounding persecution there was vibrant worship of God in their services. 

Leah also saw how worship is expressed differently between cultures.  We may have our idea of what worship should look like, however in some of the churches Leah attended, the worship, though very different, was very powerful.  She observed that people hear the gospel and worship in ways that are culturally relevant to them. While different from North American worship, it is still glorifying to God.

Finally, Leah experienced firsthand that God does not always work the way we expect or ask Him to.  Evangelizing in public is illegal in one of the countries where the team performed, so they decided to rent a venue and sell tickets in order to share freely. 

Though the team prayed for a larger audience, only 40 people came.  However, after the concert Leah heard about a woman who attended and was shocked by the attitude of the performers – despite low attendance, they were so joyous.  One local believer shared with the lady that the performers had joy because of their relationship with Jesus, not because of the circumstances surrounding the concert.  This reminded Leah that the standard of success is not numbers, but how God works and moves in the hearts of those who attend.

Music and Evangelism

Through this experience Leah saw how creative arts can be used effectively in evangelism.  With this in mind, she wants to be intentional in how she writes her own music moving forward.  Leah’s desire is to write music that will challenge people’s worldviews, prompting them to question their conclusions, to ask questions about their own faith and spiritual journeys.

As Leah shares about her time overseas, she encourages people to consider longer short-term missions.  Instead of a couple of weeks she suggests at least a couple of months in order to gain better insight into a culture and what God is doing in the lives of people. 

While the goal of the creative arts concerts was to open the hearts of the audience to the Gospel, Leah’s own perspective and faith was challenged and changed as she allowed God to show her what He is doing beyond the shores of North America.

Discover Opportunities To Serve With SEND

Learn About The Joshua Project And How You Can Pray for Unreached People Groups

Read Part 1 of Leah's Story

* Some names have been changed for security reasons.

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