But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and all Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8
Right before Jesus ascends to heaven, he leaves his disciples this one last command. If these were his last words to his disciples, then they must have been important ones! He didn’t leave them with a “Peace out! Have a good life, y’all! Live it up!” Instead, he commands them to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth, and he promises to equip them with the power of the Holy Spirit.
At the Missions Conference this past weekend, the Holy Spirit indeed was working, and we were reminded that the ends of the earth include our own backyard. In the New York metro area, we are uniquely positioned in such a way that God really has brought the world to us. We don’t need to travel hundreds of miles to encounter people who have never heard about Jesus. The unreached are within our reach. Our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, communities are filled with people from all over the world who need the gospel! The main sessions and workshops at the Missions Conference provided practical ways to be witnesses for Christ and how to share the gospel with those around us.
In the small town I live in (no bigger than a 1-mile radius), my husband, children, and I have befriended people of all cultures and religions including Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. And let me tell you, God did not waste any time making sure my family put into practice the things we learned from the Missions Conference this past weekend.
Our friends from town, a 1.5 generation Chinese-American family who are Buddhist, invited us to their home on Saturday evening for dinner. We’ve become good friends with this family because our children are in the same class. As we sat there at dinner, I heard Lauren Daigle playing in the background. I told my friend I’m a huge fan of this artist and love her songs. My friend told me she likes to listen to Christian music because she finds it soothing. This allowed opportunities to talk about faith and spiritual matters. We had a good discussion, and I could sense the Holy Spirit at work. My family is praying God will work in this family’s heart, we will love them well and have more opportunities to be the light of Christ to them!
Then again on Sunday afternoon, God stepped in. Our family took advantage of the nice weather and played tennis in a neighboring town. A young gentleman, walking by, came along and asked if he could join my husband in playing tennis. After hitting the ball around for a while, we chatted with the young man and found out he just recently moved to the area for a new job. However, it comes at the cost of leaving his wife and 3-year-old twins back in India, his home country. He and my husband exchanged information and we plan to see him on the tennis courts again soon! We don’t know if he is a believer, but we hope to extend hospitality and kindness to this foreigner in our land and to share Christ’s love with him.
This is God’s work and His doing. As His people, we are simply called to be available and willing to be His hands and feet and take part in His redemptive work. He is the One who empowers and equips us for the task. May we remember Christ’s last words here on earth. May the Holy Spirit work in us to be faithful witnesses and to share the gospel to this part of the world through our deeds, actions, and words!
Rachel Sang is GRC’s Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry.