The Young and Old, seeking the lost

As a younger Christian, I spent 12 years in a church with a large number of faithful Christians over the age of 70. About 20 of them had home group together led by a 78-year-old former country pastor. They met weekly for Bible study, prayer and the best cakes in town! I asked the leader one day how his group was going: “Oh, it’s the joy of my week. We have a wonderful time praying, studying the Bible, and praising God. We’re all looking forward to heaven.”

This godly group of men and women loved Jesus and were longing to be with him in heaven before the throne of God. While they ‘waited’ patiently, they prayed earnestly that friends, neighbours, and wayward members of their families would come to faith. But not just for their church, family and friends; they prayed for the ‘lost’ millions of our world. They pleaded for nations closed to the gospel, and the many suffering and persecuted servants in totalitarian nations. They also prayed for missionaries sharing God’s word at great risk.

This home group understood and illustrated the words of Paul to the Church in Corinth. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

The central focus for this group with frail bodies, weak eyesight, poor hearing, serious illnesses, troubled families, and mobility issues, was sharing Christ with the world. At the same time, they were praying for nations like China where gospel ministry was constrained, and the nations of Africa where frequent crop failures brought starvation, suffering and strife. They prayed that the gospel might take hold in distant nations, and God would protect the persecuted praying and worshipping in secret. They grasped an eternal vision of believers from all nations gathered before the throne of grace to be ushered into the presence of God when Jesus returns. They understood what Peter was getting at in 1 Peter 1:6-9. Life had many trials, but their faith while tested had remained genuine. Filled with joy and hope, they anticipated their presence before the throne of God in the age to come.

I see a similar manifestation of this in Moore College students. While younger, they have a desire to teach the Bible, and share the good news of Christ to the ends of the earth. Their hearts are set on a needy world with many separated from God. Tawanda Masango is typical of these students and is now back in Zimbabwe serving God.

He heard the gospel from his mother in their small village: “I remember hearing mum pray out loud early in the morning. A widow with six kids to raise, in a country with no social security. She prayed for daily bread, but also that we would grow up following the Lord.”

In God’s grace, Tawanda came to Moore and due to the generosity and prayers of many, he completed his studies. He returned to establish a campus student ministry and help lead a new church in Zimbabwe. But he had a bigger vision than just a single campus. “We began praying for gospel ecosystems to grow including university ministry, a church, and a good theological college … I thought this might be answered over generations. But the Lord surprised us.”

“What we thought would take a decade, the Lord is already doing with significant strides in one year!” – Tawanda Masango

“In one year, we saw other gospel-minded people returning to Zimbabwe. In 2019, we started ministry at the second biggest university in the country. This year, a gospel-centred church was planted just off campus, and an evangelical theological college is being revitalised. What we thought would take a decade, the Lord is already doing with significant strides in one year!”

Moore receives many international students. Some are keen to minister in Australia, but most will take the gospel to other nations.

Did you know that nearly two thirds of CMS missionaries were trained at Moore College?

Students come from overseas to learn and be equipped, but generally return to their home countries. Would you consider supporting our ‘Global Ministry Scholarship Fund’ to assist students just like Tawanda with hearts for global ministry?

If you’d like to know more about this program, perhaps as a future student or a possible donor, please contact me via email or phone: +61 (0)2 9577 9900, or check our website for details.

Trevor Cairney is Head of the Moore College Foundation.

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