Friday, May 9, 2014

Among the Cloud of Witnesses

“Years have passed since Clara Stromberg laid down her life for a tribe’s salvation, but there are tribes who wait still today. They are hopelessly lost, fearful each day, knowing no hope for life. Day after day we receive word of our brothers who are giving their lives for the salvation of those tribes, and they are enduring persecution. But they are working for the salvation of lost tribes, and God is wonderfully blessing their efforts. Better yet, they are serving the Lord who laid down His life, and we know that He will pour out His rewards when we meet Him around the Throne.”
Thelma Braun’s distinctive voice flowed forth from my computer speakers, and it was as if God had rolled back time a few years. I was working earlier today on a new project: posting treasured recordings online so they may be heard by anyone with access to the internet. Before I could post them, I needed to listen to a few. Reminded again of her passion for missions and her love for Jesus, I couldn’t help but wonder what she would have to say about all ER has done since she went to heaven in 2009.

I know she would be pleased that S___ R___, supported by the home office staff and ER’s precious partners, has launched a mighty movement to mobilize Asia’s women for discipleship—the Women’s Impact Network. We are following in Thelma’s pioneering footsteps as she initiated the movement, launching Women’s Work Conferences in 2005. She discipled both S___ and me in a very meaningful way, calling forth our gifts for ministry and encouraging us to work hard for the Lord’s Kingdom. There is no doubt she would have great joy as she saw the women assembled for training and making their commitments to begin discipleship groups.
Willys and Thelma (left) and fellow Africa missionaries

The concept of winning Unreached People Groups (UPGs) to the Lord would seem “old hat” for Thelma. She and Willys left America in 1945 for Belgian Congo for just that purpose. Her radio message, “Why India?” lays out clearly the rationale for opening new ministries in that vast nation—that’s where the majority of unreached people live and work.  In the radio message quoted above, Thelma called them “lost tribes.” No matter the terminology, the concept is the same: the message of salvation in Jesus Christ needs telling.

 Great Commission Challenge Camps (GC3s) were the first brand-new initiative for ER after Thelma went to be with the Lord. She loved young people and many who attended those early GC3 camps count it a blessing to have met her and heard her messages.  Thousands of youth have been trained, and as the movement has now spread to Thelma’s beloved Africa, it’s clear that GC3 has staying power. Spin-off camps, most of them funded by indigenous ministries (without any ER support), continue to train young tentmakers who will be equipped by GC3 to share their testimonies, win people to Christ, and disciple the new converts to win others.

ER’s digital presence has increased dramatically since 2009. A revamped website came first, and then we have added a Facebook page, blog, and now an internet radio station. We receive donations online, and have added a weekly Friday Foto e-mail in addition to the Prayer Hotline which Thelma enjoyed writing.
Hebrews 12:1 reads, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”  Thelma’s familiar voice speaks now only from recordings—she has now joined the “cloud of witnesses” referenced in Hebrews. The Scripture then urges those of us who yet live to

  • "...throw off everything that hinders”—Let us cast off any burden that would keep us from fulfilling Jesus’ mandate for discipleship (the Great Commission).
  • “…and the sin that so easily entangles”—Let us live holy lives, making us a fit vessel for God to use as we share the gospel.
  • “…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”—Let us patiently endure the trials of the Christian life and persist in witnessing for Jesus until our last breath.

ER has an internet radio station!
If you would like to hear Thelma’s challenge again, visit ER’s new
internet radio station by following this link:

To “Like” our Facebook page and receive news, search:

To receive the weekly e-mailed Prayer Hotline and Friday Foto, go to ER’s web page by clicking on the link below. Then click on the icon that says, “Sign up for e-mail.”

No comments:

Post a Comment