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  • Writer's pictureSteve Drake

Missionary Moments: First-Time Hearer

Updated: May 11, 2021

It wasn't uncommon in Nepal to speak with people who had no concept of foreigners or other countries. In China, being an American was at times close to celebrity status; I was once stopped in a park and asked to take my picture with a newlywed couple, dressed in a bridal gown and tuxedo for their wedding photo session, simply because I was a foreigner. In Nepal, however, not only did being an American have no social benefit, it was clear that there was rarely a notion by the locals of any world outside the one we met them in.

Taking into account such a narrow worldview, it wasn't surprising to discover that many people in these small villages had never heard of the person of Jesus Christ or the good news of his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and pending return. When I understood that I (or someone on my team) would be the first person to ever share the Gospel with them, I became burdened as I began to realize the immense weight of being the first person to ever share the Gospel with them. With so much bad doctrine that exists in the church, and such a wide spectrum of what might be considered to be 'the Gospel,' it was overwhelming and frightening to think of sharing the story incorrectly, or omitting essential elements, or adding irrelevant details, or using vocabulary that wouldn't translate, or flat out sharing something that wasn't actually the Gospel. I didn't want to misrepresent Jesus or do anything that might harm this first-time hearer's initial ideas about the message that Jesus commissioned us to share.

But there's power in declaring the Gospel, and as I began to share, the fear began to dissipate. God also gave me a safety net in the form of the local translator, who helped build my confidence as he nodded along with my impromptu sermon, subconsciously agreeing with my telling of the good news of Jesus. As our team continued through the village going door-to-door, we shared the Gospel with anyone who would welcome us, and the frequency with which we were able to practice sharing also helped us gain confidence. By the end of it all, the awe had returned. I was honored to have been used to share the good news to first-time hearers. And I was encouraged to know that our local contacts would be able to visit again, either alone or with other missionary groups, to continue the planting and watering of seeds that God would then make grow (1 Cor 3:6).

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