Thursday, July 27, 2006

Oasis in a Spiritual Desert

After those pictures, ya'll are probably pretty disappointed to see a bunch of boring words. But I am so excited about this, I had to write about it. I was blessed with yet another opportunity to share about my Ukraine trip. I was invited to Good Shepherd Community Church's Global Outreach meeting. But the highlight of this meeting was getting to hear an amazing story from a man named Joshua who is from Pakistan.

His father worked at a Christian mission's hospital in the United Arab Emirate during the younger years in his life. But when Joshua was 11, in 1971 his father made a dramatic career change. He felt the Lord was calling him to reach out to the people in the Middle East through shortwave radio programs. He went on to establish a radio ministry in the region that not only existed but dramatically grew until near the end of his life in 1999. The radio ministry dissolved for a year, but his son Joshua was able to get it running "virtually" from the States again by 2001. When the program first went on air in 1971, it was a 15 minute program, once a week. Today they have a 60 minute block everyday of the week. Lives have been changed and souls have been saved.

Hearing his stories and the struggles his family faced was so inspiring. The radio ministry that Joshua's father established is aimed directly at peoples spiritually health, and there are many letters showing its life changing affects from listeners in this area that is as much a desert physically as it is spiritually. But one of the most amazing stories he told is a crystal clear demonstration of the impact that missionaries serving through love and compassion can have, in this region specifically, but it also demonstrates the possibilities all over the world.

Through a mission org- anization called TEAM (They have a pretty slick website) a hospital, the same hospital Joshua's dad worked at, was established in the United Arab Emirate in the 1960's. The intent was to reach out to the people and serve them both physically and spiritually. This hospital, called Oasis, was established because of the dire need and extreme levels of poverty in the region. This is a before they struck oil. Over the last 40 years, the doctors and missionaries through TEAM have been able to serve these Islamic people out of love and witness to them with respect. Recently the Crown Prince of the region issued a press release in regard to Oasis, the hospital that he himself was born in. He thanked them for coming to help their people in the 60's, when they had nothing, and providing such important services to their people out of compassion. He said that the missionaries have spent the last 40 years trying to convert us from Islam to Christianity through love, unlike others, who use terrorism. In conclusion he said that now we are in a position to show our thanks by donating $48 million.

After Joshua said this, I was literally taken back, and it took me a few minutes for the impact of this statement to sink in. Here are people living as God commanded us. That we should "offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.... If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ..." (1 Peter 4:9-11) This is exactly what the individuals at TEAM and the Oasis Hospital, who have such hearts for God and serving others through him, are doing in the Middle East. And look at the impact it has! It only seems fitting to end with the rest of 1 Peter 4:11. "...To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen"!

David Knepprath


Mirranda said...

That is so amazing! (Definitely not boring). What an incredible story - thank you for sharing it. :) I am in awe.

Dan Franklin said...

That's awesome that you were so impacted by what was shared at the meeting. Now I'm sorry that I didn't stick around.

Melissa Jo said...

Cool :) That's so awesome! -mel