BIMI

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Multinational Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). We see in our little church that Christ can bring nations and peoples together in a way that is humanly unexpected. Our attendance is around 50 people. We are a young church. Although small, we are a miniature United Nations, representing nine different nations from around the world. Since we are on the tri- border area, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil are a given and Venezuelans quite understandable, but what are the South Africans doing here? One of our new families is from Taiwan, but he speaks much better Portuguese than Spanish or Chinese and he was raised in Brazil. We also have a German lady, but English is her best language since she was raised in South Africa. Her father was a prisoner of war taken to South Africa during WWII. He never went back to Germany when the war ended. There is another man in our church from South Africa whose father was Italian, also a prisoner of war who never went back to Europe once the war ended. He speaks English, Afrikaans, and Italian. He worked on huge construction projects in the Middle East for years. One of our Paraguayan men studied in Israel and England. My grandfather was a US Marine who fought on Okinawa. There is also a Japanese man who attends the church who lost relatives in the nuclear blast of Hiroshima. What is it that can bring such nationalities together, who only a few decades ago were sending their young men to fight and kill one another? How can we stand today and sing of the mercy and Italian descendant forgiveness of God? How can we sing of loving one another? How are we able to fulfill the directive of Christ to love our enemies? From 1865 until 1870 Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil fought a war with Paraguay that wiped out 90 percent of the Paraguayan male population. It was a war of attrition with brutality on all sides. What can change hearts so thoroughly that 150 years later we all live side by side with open borders? What brings us all together? How is it possible for old enemies to become brothers and not seek revenge? The answer is so simple and clear. It is not a what; it is a Who! His name is Jesus. He is why we are here. He is the only one who can truly change people’s hearts. My daughter is getting married. She will be married by the time this article is published. I have spent a lot of time in places I would not normally go to help her get ready for the big day. I do not want to look at material for dresses, but I am in the store. I began talking to the owner again. We always buy from her store because it usually has everything. She is Lebanese—she is a Muslim. She needs Christ. So far, we have no one in our church from the Middle East. Maybe I will go buy a few buttons. You never know where the conversation might lead, hopefully to Christ. In this day of civil conflict and massive refugee problems in the Middle East and Europe, do not forget that we have Christ and He is the only answer. We have a command to not fear he who can kill only the body but fear God and preach the Gospel. What will the next 50 years bring if we live and preach without fear? W Number 1, 2016 BIMI WORLD 23