Many Nations – One Church
by Pat Rainbow, CVC Middle School Bible Teacher
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9)
Look around you. What do you see? Sometimes the work that God is doing in the world is not visible to our physical eyes, but he is nevertheless active and accomplishing his sovereign plan for all creation. This year Middle School students have an opportunity to see God at work in their world through several Exploratory classes. Mrs. Batchelor teaches a class called “God of Wonders” in which students explore God’s handiwork in the creation. Mrs. Boyd’s class, “Worldview,” helps students engage with the issues that daily confront much of the world’s poor. Students are encouraged to develop a consciousness and empathy for those living in circumstances very different from their own.
“Frontline Missions” is the Exploratory class I teach, and it brings students into the world of Christians facing challenges that may at times seem impossible, but which are conquered by the power of the gospel in a world that is lost apart from God.
In the Missions class, students enter the culture of missionaries serving in such places as Albania, where there were only 100 known believers after World War 2. Under Communism, religion was illegal. In 1972, the Albanian dictator Hoxha declared Albania to be the first officially Atheistic government. Many believers were tortured and executed during his reign. Today, Albania is about 60% Muslim, less than 1% Christian, and the rest Atheist.
In Sierra Leone, where religion is officially “free,” the occult and witchcraft are common practices, and Islam is currently on the rise. Christian converts are often stoned and poisoned and have their homes and churches burned down.
Other places we have “visited” via video and maps, are India (where Christian believers are ostracized into the lowest caste and face persecution from the Hindu majority), Kosovo, Montenegro, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia, and China (where believers are surrounded by a plethora of Buddhist gods). After our “visit” to China, we were honored with a real-life visit from a family (former CVC graduates) currently serving as missionaries in China, and we heard first-hand about their ministry there. Our missionary “trip” to India culminated with an Indian tea party with chai and biscuits.
Each journey to the lives of Christians across the globe includes locating that place on a world map, learning some cultural details of the country, and offering prayers for our sisters and brothers in that part of the world. The goal of the class is to not only learn about the challenges facing Christians in other parts of the world, but to see that God is indeed at work in every nation, tribe, people and tongue. We in America have the opportunity to freely lift before God’s throne of grace our brothers and sisters in the global community of Christ if we only look to see with spiritual eyes his sovereign work among us.