Through the prophet Isaiah our God says, “See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV). Today, he continues to do new things in order to touch and challenge the lives of people. For many of those new things, he is using the men and women of Tranzsend. Here we feature three new things he is doing in order to transform lives.
Reasons to Celebrate—South-East Asia
Thai love a good party! Christmas 2016, it was decided to hold a party for the village of Naa next to CK village. For the past six years we had taught English to the children at CK village and Naa had now requested that we teach English at their village. At the party there was music in the local style and lots of presents and prizes. A believer from CK village told the locals why we celebrate Christmas. An announcement was also made that English classes would begin for the children in the new year.
Move forward to the end of 2017—another Christmas party and a year of teaching English at Naa. Towards the end of the night, we heard the exciting news that two women from Naa village had prayed to receive Jesus as their Saviour. These two women had come to the 2016 Christmas party where they first heard about Jesus. They were interested in the message but not sure they should trust the messengers because they had not met them before. Now, a year later, these two women met an older lady who they know—a believer from CK village. With two other believers, this older lady explained more about Jesus and the two women decided they wanted to follow him.
A cell group began shortly afterwards. These ladies attended. One of them has a husband who for years had problems with his legs. He walked with crutches and had been unable to work. Lou from CK village told this woman to pray for healing in Jesus’ name. Soon after, Lou received news that the husband had thrown his crutches away, and was walking and back working! Last week another woman turned up at the cell group. She has some troubling family issues and had been to all sorts of people and places for help but to no avail. She asked, would they pray for her? I think I feel another party coming on this year!
Perspectives on Mission
When I undertake research on the modern mission movement, I feel (to quote Eric Liddell) God’s pleasure. Having lived and worked in Asia, treading the footsteps of the Serampore Trio,1 reading their letters, diaries and books, being accustomed to the same climate and culture, their purposeful passion stirs my heart. Their unfaltering commitment to the missio Dei profoundly challenges me. Their compassion for the least, the little and the lost, confronts the callousness of my soul, like a contagion of grace, waking it up from its continual slumber. Did I sufficiently “expect great things from God?” Have I diligently “plodded and persevered” to fulfil the call God placed on my life?
For me, to do historical research is to participate in the mission of God as expressed through the history of his people; a way to “attempt great things for God”.2 Like digging for nuggets of gold, lost in the annals of history, waiting to be uncovered. It is to understand what drove the mission movement then, and to inspire a new generation for mission now. Moreover, in doing research I join a quest undertaken by recent scholars to uncover our real heroes, to understand the realities of their sacrificial lives. It attempts to demythologise the way we have understood mission history. My own experience as a Dutch-Bengali-Kiwi may have provided me with a unique perspective.
In a nutshell, I research to bring about justice to the past, in order to become a better practitioner in the present. I am hopeful it will enable me to write more intelligibly and contribute relevantly to the field, and to be enriched by a new understanding of God’s mission through well-directed research. In this process of (un)learning, reflection, questioning and re-learning, my hope and expectation is that we all will be transformed, to be able to discern “the good, well-pleasing and perfect will of God” for our own missions journey.3
- The co-directors of the Serampore Mission: William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward (from 1800–1823).
- Carey’s famous watchword, quoted in George Smith, The Life of William Carey: Shoemaker and Missionary (London: John Murray, 1887), vii.
- Romans 12:2 (Berean Literal Bible).
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