West Asia Reflection #2

Join us on

20 January 2019 at 6:30pm

in the sanctuary for

West Asia Treats and  Team Report

West Asia Team in refugee room

A Reflection from Ryan Bettwy

The dimly lit room, slightly cool and damp from the week’s worth of rain still steadily falling outside, was the most beautiful space I had ever seen in West Asia. To be clear, it was plain: white walls, drawers off their hinges in the corner, a few oddly wrapped stacks of clothes strewn around the room. But even compared to the Hagia Sophia, the skyline of Istanbul, the shoreline of the Lakeside town, or the Lakeside Roman amphitheater, this room has something more beautiful. This is the place where on Sunday nights young school-aged children growing up surrounded by secular and other-minded people learn about Jesus as they read their copies of the Jesus Storybook Bible. One weekday each week, the same little room transforms into a staging area where mothers who are struggling to support their families can get their
families’ basic needs met, including chick peas, milk and occasionally some clothing.

On this afternoon, we took the seven suitcases of clothing filled to the brim with clothing donated to these families and sorted everything from newborn footie pajamas to adolescent boys’ jackets to adult shorts and dresses. We only had two hours to sort diapers, clothes, and socks, so we were pleasantly surprised to have 20 minutes to spare to gather in a circle and pray for this space. We listened as R shared about her experiences with the refugee women, as well as her ability to relate in as simple ways as she could, limited by language and cultural barriers: most days, warm smiles and lifting boxes to support them as they collect their supplies. As we prayed for God to send people who can communicate with these women, and thanked him for raising up people to care for these vulnerable families, I glanced around the room and appreciated once again how God can use the least presuming circumstances to shape and change the course of peoples’ lives.

West Asia Reflection #1

Join us on 20 January 2019 at 6:30pm in the sanctuary for the

West Asia Treats and  Team Report

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2005

Ryan and Lorene with our 5(!) huge suitcases of clothing for Syrian refugees

Bread and the Spirit

By, Lorene Eberhardt

When I think about our time in West Asia, two themes keep coming to mind.  The bread is plentiful and abundant throughout the country: a staple of every meal, loaves overflowing in shops littering the streets.  Jesus tells us He is the bread of life, and every time I saw a loaf or slice I found myself praying that the people of this land would come to know the One who can satisfy their hunger.
In the city by the Lake the hunger sits quietly below the surface.  People move around at a relaxed pace, stopping for conversations, sharing bread and olives, practicing their English with the funny Americans.  Occasionally a question or comment reveals the deeper hunger, a tiny wave breaking through the tranquility.
In the Big City, the scene feels more familiar to us from DC; locals and foreign visitors alike move past one another in a rush, never making eye contact, looking either at their phones or at where they’re trying to go, not at who is next to them.  Somehow you can feel the hunger more palpably here; like the seas and straits that surround this city, bigger waves and disturbances crest more frequently.  There are reminders of political upheavals, clashes of secularism and religious fervor, and the daily pressures related to cosmopolitan life.
Our trip was a week of opening our eyes to the work of the Holy Spirit, and stepping into his open invitation to join Him in the work He is already doing. Our team stepped out of vans to pray with fruit sellers, out in faith to buy an axe, into a room where refugee women are welcomed and handed clothing and diapers for their children, and then up in front of other Christians to share our stories of trusting Jesus with our desires.  Conversations that might have felt scary or unfamiliar back at home were somehow made comfortable and tender, through the transformational power of His Spirit.  There were multiple occasions in which I opened my mouth and heard His words on my tongue.
I’m grateful for the eight days of opportunity to see His Spirit work, and filled with hope and anticipation for how He continues to satisfy the deepest hungers both in West Asia and here in my own life.

RestoParents Date Night!

p-580798-njnfcpo3c6-1Have you been wondering how to support the on-going international outreach efforts at Restoration?

Do you wish you could snag a few hours with your spouse to have dinner, but can’t find a great baby-sitter? Read on…..and sign up here!

Resto Parents Date Night Fund Raiser:
The West Asia small group is holding a “Parents’ Night Out” event on
Monday, November 7
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
@ Restoration Anglican church. 
Drop-off your children at 6 PM and enjoy the evening out with other friends, or a date night with your spouse, then pick them up by 9 PM.
  
Generous donations welcome: there is NO MAXIMUM! 
    * You can give cash when you pick-up your kids, OR
    * Donate here to the ‘Asia general team’ tab.
  
Looking for Sitters: If you are interested in spending the evening with the West Asia  childcare team for the Date Night on Monday, November 7 from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM, please contact ryan@restorationarlington.org and we’ll let you know how you can help!
  
Prayer: If you would like to pray for us before the trip or during the trip itself, please e-mail ryan@restorationarlington.org and we’ll add you to the prayer team!
Thanks for your support – we love that there are many ways for us all to be on this journey together… by praying, planning, giving…  and also by going!

 

~Ryan, Trent, Erica, Natasha and Liz

From last Sunday to next Monday… praying for West Asia!

Father E greatly blessed Restoration by participating in our services Sunday. Those of us who attended the 5:00 PM service received his preaching on Matthew 4.

Matthew 3 tells the story of Christ’s baptism, his anointing by God and the start of his ministry. Immediately after after the story of baptism, Jesus sets out into the desert where he is tempted for 40 days. The Christ rejects the temptations in turn, first the turning of the rock into bread to feed himself and break his fast, then the jumping from the temple to be saved by Angels, glorifying himself and revealing himself as the Son of God. Lastly, Jesus rejects the Devil’s offer to rule all the kingdoms of the earth by forsaking God.

In one hand Fr. E gave us Matthew 4, in the other he offered Romans 5, the epistle reading which climaxes with versus 18 and 19: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life of all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience that many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Paul is reminding the reader: it is Adam’s sin which condemned us all, Adam’s disobedience which made us sinners. But it is Christ’s act of righteousness on the cross, that justifies us and gives us life. It is Christ’s obedience to death, that makes us righteous. Father E tied Paul’s reference to Christ’s obedience to the moment in Gethsemane where Jesus prays “Not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). Here confronted with his death, he submits to God completely. In one garden, by one man, we were all condemned. In another garden, the One Man chose obedience, righteousness that began a walk to a cross, endured death, and ushered in life everlasting.

We can see the Christ as he does throughout the testament and even now, remaking, re-creating our world. Christ in the desert was the man that the world needed when the snake reared his head in Genesis. God breathed life into Adam; God anointed Jesus. Both are tempted. Jesus starts the re-creation of the world by facing the same evil as Adam and saying “No”. It was a long journey from that baptism to the cross, but both at the beginning and the end Christ is choosing obedience.

Fr. E emphasized in his conclusion, how grateful we are that Christ is our “suffering servant”. Instead of choosing himself, he chose God, so that we would know who God is and who we are in him – his children, redeemed by his Son. We can have hope for transformation into his likeness, just as the Christ transformed the story about God and Man by walking into the desert and choosing to be the New Adam.

On a more personal note, I couldn’t help but think, listening to Fr. E speak, of the deserts and devils which our friends in West Asia, Cambodia, Bolivia, and maybe (maybe especially) in Arlington, encounter after choosing to follow Christ. I hope that even if you can’t join me in person, that you would pray for those who are new to the Body of Christ that in their desert, amid temptations, that they would know they are not alone and that they would choose to say “No” just like Jesus.

Join me in praying to and worshiping our suffering servant.

  • · In Christ we have hope for transformation; how can we live out that hope in our outreach? For what transformation should we pray?
  • · What does it mean to be obedient like the Christ, especially in the context of our outreach?
  • · What does it mean that those who persecute our friends suffer the consequences of Adam’s choice as we do? How should that truth shape our prayer about West Asia and the Silk Road?
  • · How should who we are in Him, “his children, redeemed by his Son”, shape our relationships and engagement with our partners?

I will be hosting prayer for West Asia and the Silk Road on Monday, February 2 at 7:30. Come as you are, physically, mentally, or emotionally; all are welcome.    7108 Westmoreland Road, Falls Church, Virginia

~Eric Lessels, ericlessels@gmail.com

 

© Copyright Restoration Anglican Church