Martyrdom on a Mission

The Mission Matters is a partnership of Misso Nexus and Sixteen:Fifteen Missions Coaching. Our subject today is Fundraising In a COVID-19 era.

Co-Hosts: Ted Esler, President of Missio Nexus and Matthew Ellison, President of Sixteen:Fifteen

On this episode Matthew and Ted are joined by Pam Arlund, and will look at the recent sacrifice of the life of a Christian in a hostile situation. We will consider how local church mission leaders can communicate about an event like martyrdom on a mission.

Transcript
(unedited)
welcome to the mission matters the
mission matters is a partnership of
missio Nexus and 16 15 missions coaching
who have a shared passion to mobilize
God’s people to be a part of his mission
on this episode two of the mission
matters we will look at the recent
sacrifice of the life of a Christian in
a hostile situation will consider how
local church mission leaders can
communicate about an event like
martyrdom on a mission or on this
important issue shortly this program is
hosted by Matthew Ellison from 16 15
missions coaching and Tedd Esler
president of missio Nexus our guest
today is Pam Ireland PhD she is the
global training and research leader and
a member of the international leadership
team of all nations all nations is a
global family on a mission to see Jesus
worshiped by all the peoples of the
earth man previously served as a field
missionary and Bible translator among an
unreached people group and helped ignite
a Jesus Movement among them she now
trains and Shepherds disciples who make
disciples among the collected peoples of
the earth and with that you begin this
episode of the mission matters with
Matthew Ellison and Tedd Esler welcome
to the missions matters podcast i’m
matthew Ellison president of 1615 and
i’m with my good friend and co-host Ted
soo Ted it’s good to be back with you
today yeah it’s gonna be back Matthew
yeah glad we can do this again yeah me
as well hey listen before you introduce
our guest and the matter at hand I’m
wondering about shelter-in-place what
has been most frustrating to you or
challenging to you and what has been a
reflex blessing maybe a silver lining
and then Pam we’re gonna ask you the
same question but so the challenge or
the frustration brought on by
shelter-in-place and then the blessing
well I think probably the hardest thing
for us has been one of our daughters
just bought a house she’s in Louisville
Kentucky and she’s you know a young
single woman she’s got all this home
help she needs and we haven’t been able
to be there for her so we hope to
rectify that soon but that’s probably
the hardest thing
is to just hear about some of the
projects that she’s taking out without
our assistance and help you’d love to be
there helping her as far as blessings go
I can’t say that I missed the travel
that we were you know on before it was
maybe too much you know as I’m thinking
about I’m reflecting on it maybe I’m
learning a little bit about what I need
to do to kind of meter myself in terms
of the travel it’s really nice much
nicer to be home that I thought it would
be so that’s my Silver Line yeah so for
me one of the frustrations it seems kind
of petty but I really missed the gym I
spent about four or five days in the
week in the gym it’s it’s kind of
cathartic for me it’s a great way to
just have not only physical health but
mental health that’s probably the
biggest reason I’m there and I’ve been
making do with some TRX Suspension
straps but it’s just not the same and
then my silver lining it’s really
interesting about a week ago I played
hide-and-go-seek in the dark at a local
park with my adult children and it was
just a rush and having my kids around
the dinner table or my wife and I were
just talking cuz my kids are older and
they’re here now at our house during you
know shelter-in-place and so we’ve just
been sharing a lot of meals together so
I resonate with that traveling less idea
as well III think I’ve missed some of
those things and and I’ve been reminded
of them because of the crisis that were
in so Ted why don’t you introduce our
guest
and then let her answer the same
questions okay well we’re really glad
today to have dr. Pam Harland with us
she has a PhD and she’s the global
training and research research leader
also a member of the international
leadership team of all nations and she
previously has served as a missionary
and Bible translator among an unreached
people group and helped ignite a
movement among them she now trains and
Shepherds disciples who make disciples
among neglected peoples of the earth so
Pam thank you so much for being with us
we’re glad you’re here well thank you
too Thank You Matthew I’m happy to be
here so tell us your challenge and
perhaps your silver lining
well the challenge I think for us within
all nations because we’re a global
family has been food honestly a lot of
our church planters around the world are
not Westerners and when the lockdown
happened it was very severe for them and
they haven’t simply haven’t had enough
food they advantage to that or the
golden lining to all of that is that God
has provided for them it wasn’t at all
obvious how they would be provided for
but he has literally made food
multiplied and provided food amongst
their local resources so that’s been
beautiful to see because God is faithful
in the midst of it all and then also I
think we’ve been able to see some of our
leaders around the world be able to get
online and share their wisdom in a way
that we haven’t been able to before so
that’s been really good as well now do
you think that there’s probably some new
communication channels in place that we
didn’t have before and I do think we’re
getting a really sick and tired of
virtual calls yeah yeah they have opened
up some doors that maybe previously we
didn’t have them open to us so that’s
probably been a good thing well Pam let
me kind of kick off our topic today we
want to talk a little bit about serious
maybe kind of heavy topic and this you
know obviously involves John Chow and
his martyrdom and some of the reactions
that happen in the Christian community
and etc but maybe there are people
listening that aren’t familiar with John
and I’m wondering if you could give us a
little bit of insight as to who he was
and what he did
yeah I’d be happy to just in case people
don’t know his story I maybe should
sketch it out a little bit but basically
in November 2018 all nations missionary
John Chow attempted to live on the North
Sentinel island for the purposes of
sharing the gospel with a people group
that have never heard the good news
about Jesus and in making that attempt
to be received on the island to be
accepted onto the island he was well
firstly he was shot by an arrow
on the first day that he tried to do
that but his waterproof Bibles stopped
the arrow in fact he took the arrow out
and gave it back to the man who tried to
shoot him is what he did and then the
second day that he made another attempt
to befriend the people on the island and
gain acceptance to live there we believe
that he was shot and killed that day his
body has not been able to be recovered
but we believe that he was killed by the
Islanders on that day so that was a
culmination of 10 years of preparation
on his part and so maybe I’ll just stop
there as the background of the story but
actually maybe even a an equally
interesting part of the stories what
happened after that so Pam I had the
privilege of doing mission table episode
with you on this very topic and one of
the things I appreciated was learning
about his preparation and my admiration
for John just grew as I heard all that
he had poured into this lifelong calling
one of the questions I have is why do
you think the response was so negative
initially and it’s it is interesting it
was all even say was a shock to us how
negative the response was to what John
did because all of we were all of what
we do in all nations all of what John
Chow was about was about love and even
the fact that when a man tried to shoot
him he took the arrow out and just
handed it back to the man right he
deliberately chose to go in peace he
deliberately chose to go in love and so
it was a shock that the world reaction
was so negative John had spent 10 years
preparing to work with this people group
and people made him sound like he was
kind of like I don’t know an Indiana
Jones or maybe just an adventurer who
hadn’t really thought this through very
deeply but he had prepared and trained
to become a wilderness EMT he had sought
out linguistics and anthropological
training he had saw biblical training he
had learned to live in the wilderness
and survive on his own and so he had
been very methodically preparing over
the course of a decade ever since he had
heard about these people group
by just praying through lists of
people’s who had never had a chance to
hear the name of Jesus and so I think
that the negative reaction really
happened for a couple of reasons I mean
I’m sure we could list many reasons but
I think we live in this era where news
comes out but we’re not able to
distinguish always between what is real
news and what is fake news so to speak
and so we’re not always able to even get
to the real story and then I think
secondly I I think many people just
don’t believe that Jesus is worth dying
for I don’t think that they embrace this
idea that Jesus is the only way it is a
loving way it is a beautiful way but it
is nevertheless the only way and so I
think many people rejected him for that
as well well I think part of it I mean
earlier on you’ve talked about things
that were hard encoded I mentioned an
inconvenience you mentioned food and I
think we forget that where we live
we’re convenience reigns and safety
reigns we do take on kind of a safety
mentality you may not know the answer to
this but I’d be curious you have any
idea how those initial news reports even
got legs and got that out there you know
this this narrative that he was naive
and didn’t know what he was about you
know it’s it’s interesting because when
I look at the initial news reports none
of them actually came to all nations and
asked us what our ball or what our
involvement was and actually even the
early Christian responses to John’s
actions on the islands none of those
people actually came to all nations
his sending agency and even asked us any
questions or even dug below the surface
so I think that the first stream that
the news came out in was a secular
stream it was quite a liberal stream
actually and they just made their
underlying secular assumptions about who
the man was
and then the Christians also just you
know took what that one new source said
and kind of ran with it I think it was
probably several days later
honestly through headsets
who to whom we will always be grateful
who really began to dig below the
surface and see what was happening and
really tried to get the real story out
there hmm
Pam as I mentioned I was inspired by his
story and really just encouraged by the
time and energy and investment he
prepared for this calling of his but I
wonder if there are some lessons some
takeaways of course honoring John’s
memory and his courage but looking at it
you know hindsight’s 20/20 as they say
is there anything that may have been
done differently and I know that’s a
tough question to answer but I think
some of the people listening you know
they represent missions organizations or
churches are there some takeaways from
John’s life on a practical level that
may
all right you you kind of froze up just
a second there on the end of that
question can you repeat it not sure how
are their part I guess yeah are there
some practical takeaways
I’m sure there’s missions orgs there
watching this and church leaders and of
course honoring his life his courage but
are there some practical takeaways that
they may want to consider as they send
their own people to the unreached and
the unengaged yeah I think as people
send their their own beloved right they
send their their sons and daughters they
send the ones from their church that
they love and care for that they should
do everything they can to mitigate risk
and I’m not going to go into the details
of how all nations did that but we did
cui’s did a lot of time a lot of years
doing research a lot of time consulting
the experts all over the world but I
think the part that we honestly weren’t
prepared for was what would happen in
the backlash especially the media
backlash that we got and I would say
that people need to be much better on
the front end of articulating not only
to believers why they’re doing what
they’re doing but also being able to
articulate to non-believers why we do
what we do and to prepare for that and
to even practice for that and that was
the part that we and all nations had not
prepared for as well as we probably
should have and we probably honestly
should have had a much bigger emergency
fund we had what we thought was quite a
large emergency fund but we blew through
our emergency fund about four times
in the course of trying to deal with
mostly the media backlash that happened
afterwards so I think to prepared how to
share the message and then just to also
prepare financially and to begin to
create relationships with experts in the
media in the law because you will need
their expertise when those moments come
as well so now’s the time to build those
relationships you know I like to remind
especially believers that if you believe
in freedom of speech and if you believe
in freedom of conscience that people
have a right to make their own
decisions about what they believe those
two rights are part-and-parcel what it
means to be a missionary and you know
how anybody could so quickly jump on the
bandwagon that a heat that he’d done
something wrong because he was trying to
present the message to these people who
would then be free to receive it or
reject it do whatever they want with it
that he doesn’t have a right to say
those kinds of things it was kind of
shocking to me too from where I was
sitting just how fast the negativism
built in the church yeah you mentioned
Ed Stetzer Pam and he did a message at
the missio Nexus conference that we were
both at and speakers at and he talked
about our John Allen Chow moment and how
it really was this seismic shift and he
talked about you know understanding why
the secular world and the media would
respond the way they did but the
surprise was the way that the church
responded could you talk a little bit
about that
you know the church’s response and how
you process that as an organization yeah
you know Ed Stetzer
thought about the entire situation has
been very good and very helpful and like
I said we’ve been really thankful
actually for the leadership that he’s
provided in the midst of this discussion
he’s been immensely helpful to us and
all nations and I think also the body of
Christ and he helped us to define the
fact that we began to realize that a lot
of believers actually didn’t think that
Jesus is worth dying for that a lot of
people who call themselves believers
don’t think it’s worth taking on risk
for the sake of sharing the gospel and I
would say in the midst of the sifting
that began to happen during that time
some people that we thought were our
friends and all nations turned out to
not be our friends but then we also
found other people that we didn’t know
about before who became our new friends
and we discovered that we don’t want to
be flipping we don’t want to be stupid
we don’t want to just you know run
headlong headlong into danger but that
we agree that Jesus is worth it
not only is he worth it but the peoples
of the earth are worth it
and I think that John helped us to
create this defining moment where we
found which side of that people were on
well to me it’s it’s also this little
self-serving animal because I’m with
Miss you in excess but it’s another
reason why we need to have a strong
missions community so that we can rally
around each other and inform each other
about what’s really happening perhaps
even behind the scenes that we might not
want out there in the general public but
that would be one other mission leaders
to know about and you know now’s the
time for us all as leaders to be
thinking about the relationships that we
would rely on in times of crisis it is I
would just say this to you know we’re
the midst of this Cove in nineteen let’s
call it the Cove in nineteen eighty-four
event because it feels like we’re living
in the nineteen eighty-four knowledge
days but this type of crisis was not one
that any of us anticipated we have four
years had crisis training and mission
agencies most of that centered around
hostage taking and violent acts against
mission teams in the field and that’s
very legitimate I’m not down on that but
this crisis that we’re facing now is
none it’s unlike anything we ever
prepared for in the missions world and I
will tell you that in discussions I’ve
had with a number of mission agency
leaders they’ve told me especially in
the early days that they were
purposefully deploying people into areas
affected by the virus but then they
would say but please do not share who we
are with anybody because we don’t want
to have any backlash for putting people
at risk that may be doing that kind of
ministry now contrast that with the
church historically which sought to
serve in plagues in wars you name it
it’s there’s really been a kind of a
change in terms of this whole safety
thing and how we treat and you
missionary work yeah one of the things I
think that surfaced as I thought through
what happened after John Allen Chows
martyrdom was the need for a robust
theology of suffering and risk in our
churches as you mentioned Pam you know
there was major pushback from those who
are Christian so to speak and it was as
ed mentioned it was a cultural paradigm
shift we have often gone to the
dangerous places we’ve moved towards
risk and difficulty for the sake of the
gospel and for the sake of loving others
but with John situation and even with Co
vyd as you described Ted they keep this
under the radar there’s now hey we need
to pull back you know I think these are
interesting days yeah you know I think
we take risks because we love I actually
think that love is a very risky thing in
every loving relationship there’s a risk
right of rejection of failure of not
loving well or even our best intentions
not being received and I actually think
love and risk are just tied up together
and of course Jesus himself said you
know when we love will be willing to
give our lives for other people and he
himself defined love in that way being
willing to give our last drop of who we
are and so yeah I think love is
inherently risky well you know I moved
into Bosnia with my family during just
at the very end of the the war in Bosnia
and the funny thing about it was is from
the outside it looked like a really
risky thing to do to when people who
weren’t living in that context looked in
but from where we were it did not feel
risky in the least in fact when we came
home on a couple occasions for wants to
have a baby and then prefer all the
Bosnians were deathly afraid that we
would somehow get involved with a
shooting in the US or some other type of
think they saw the US as a violent and
unsafe place and so I think risk is also
sometimes not I of the beholder and that
what may feel really risky from an
outside perspective if you’re in the
midst of an event it may not be quite as
risky but certainly we live in an era
where there is so much emphasis on
safety and duty of care that we’ve got a
hack we’ve got to be asking ourselves
also you know what risks are we willing
to take that others may know Christ and
I would sure hope that we’d be willing
to take substantial risks you know Ted
you said something to me a couple years
ago and actually turned it into a
message the title of a message and you
talked about one of the greatest dangers
we face many dangers in this world and
one of the greatest of them is safety I
know if that’s an original but boy I
love that and paim you bring something
up you know risk and difficulty are just
a part of life and the irony of this
whole thing is we risk daily for
ourselves and yet when it comes to
gospel opportunities we shrink back from
those risks but where our ideas we’re
preserving safety but the safety is an
illusion anyway as you pointed out that
it’s in the eye of the beholder so Pam
what would you say to church missions
leaders who you know we live in a
culture as Ted mentioned where we
prioritize safety it’s very important to
us from car seats to bicycle helmets we
try and mitigate all of life’s risks and
as you mentioned when we’re sending our
loved ones into dangerous places we
should do everything we can we should be
prayerful we should be wise but we can’t
remove all of the risks what do you say
to them to prepare for some of those
challenges that a company sending loved
ones into danger
yeah preparing to send your loved ones
into danger is very difficult and I
think for me sometimes it hasn’t hit me
until I’ve driven somebody to the
airport and dropped them off and thought
I just sent this person into a really
dangerous situation and I love them and
I care for them and you know to see the
the tears that
used to stream down my parents face when
I would leave and go to the mission
field and knowing that I was going to a
dangerous and difficult place I think we
need to recognize that our emotions are
a part of it and that’s ok but be
willing to actually have open and frank
discussion about those emotions instead
of just requiring people to only be like
Jesus is worth it you know and stop
there but say Jesus is worth it and my
heart is broken because I just sent my
kids to a dangerous place Jesus is worth
it and I my heart is broken because I
just sent my grandbabies to a dangerous
place to actually be willing to have
those frank and open conversations while
at the same time saying that Jesus is
worth it you know yesterday in the
course of just my regular quiet time I
came across 2nd Corinthians 4 and I
wrote down some of the key words here
pressed on every side knocked down
hunted down perplexed and sometimes we
just get perplexed in the midst of this
right a constant danger because we love
Jesus we’re in constant danger that’s
actually what Paul said and then he
finishes by saying I believed in God
therefore I spoke and so I think we need
to acknowledge all of those things but
also just talk about our hearts in the
midst of it and take our broken hearts
to Jesus and say Jesus we’re gonna do
this you’re worth it but we need you to
heal our hearts in the midst of it that
brings us to a close on this edition of
the mission matters with Matthew Ellison
from 16 15 missions coaching and Ted
Esler president of missio Nexus our
guest today was Pam Ireland from all
nations before we close let me give you
the website for our sponsors of the
mission matters please note 1615 org and
missio Nexus org that’s where you’ll
find a wealth of interesting and
challenging information about the state
of the Great Commission that 1615 org
and missio Nexus org the mission matters
is presented through a partnership of 16
15 missions coaching and missio Nexus
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