I started to write an entirely different post, one updating the opportunities God has given us over the last three months–the folks He allowed us to minister to and the walking sticks we have given away. But God clearly said, “NO. Save that for your next post. Write about your last Sunday in Minnesota…and the question that will not go away.”
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
On that last Minnesota Sunday, our son and his wife, all three of our Minnesota grandchildren and their spouses, three family dogs…and Jesse, our precious great-grandson came for a Sunday cookout at our campsite.
When they arrived, little Jesse with his fire-engine-red hair and contagious grin, proudly wore his Sunday school name tag. According to Jesse, his teacher had taught the class about the really nice boy who wore the pretty robe with lots of colors and the very mean guys who took the nice boy’s robe and threw him in a big hole.
Joseph’s story was the same Bible story God used to bring me to Jesus when I was 12 years old.
I just knew Sunday was going to be a wonderful day.
We climbed the man-made mountain in the county park that borders our campsite and, like our granddaughter Emily, felt as if we had climbed to the top of the world (for certain our legs felt that way).
We ran down mountains, laughing all the way. I’m happy to report not one skinned knee or twisted ankle resulted from our folly.
We ate invisible hamburgers prepared by chef Jesse and we declared them delicious.
Pete, otherwise known as Great grandpa, followed Jesse up the mountain.
Cassie taught her dog how to swing.
We played games and later gathered outside for a picnic meal seasoned with typical “Singer humor.” It was if we didn’t have a care in the world.
And we didn’t.
Not even when we gathered around the picnic table to pray.
We stood out in the open, everyone’s head bowed and hands folded, and we offered thanks to God for the food and for our family.
When we prayed, not one family member feared for his/her life. We didn’t have to hide under cover of the forest or secretly whisper our thanks.
Proudly wearing his Sunday school name tag, little Jesse ran and played, his laughter echoing from one end of the camp ground to the other. He could freely climb the mountain in the government run park wearing that Christian tag and not one authority was there to insist it be removed.
Our family could openly be who we are.
Followers of Jesus.
I often wonder how long we have remaining before our freedom of religion, especially our freedom to share the Gospel and live out the Great Commission, will be stripped away. Most see our freedoms eroding. That is why, mingled with the joy of that Sunday were heartbreaking thoughts of believers in other parts of the world, places where being a Christian or telling others about Jesus almost certainly leads to death.
Places like Afghanistan.
As I’m sure you have, Pete and I have been on our knees for the people of Afghanistan, crying out to our LORD. We have no idea what it is like for these precious people who are literally “putting their necks on the line” that Christ may be glorified in and through them, even if it means horrendous torture or death.
Their children cannot wear Sunday school name tags in public, as our Jesse did.
It is not safe for fathers to openly lead their families in prayer, as Pete did when we gathered on that Sunday. It is not safe for children to learn Bible stories. And praying to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior comes with risks greater than those in our worse nightmares.
I have tried to imagine what it would be like handing out walking sticks and sharing the Gospel on a busy street corner in Afghanistan. When my thoughts go there, a gut-wrenching question comes to mind, a question that will not go away.
“Under threat of being beheaded, would I still be passionate to share Jesus? Would I still hand out The Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ walking sticks and witness to those who do not yet know Jesus as their Savior?
We have all read stories of Christians in Afghanistan. We have prayed for them. We have cried over their bravery and pain.
If someone tried to silence me, threatening me with torture and death for myself and those I love, would I deny the calling God has placed on my life? For Americans, it’s easy to witness, easy to live for Christ. Sure, unlike years in the past, there are places we are not welcome. But, to be honest, the price of openly being a follower of Jesus Christ is no greater than having an unbeliever look at us and roll their eyes, or at worse listen to a few unkind words.
II recently read a missionary’s account of one Afghan Christian who said he had no desire to flee his homeland. He cared so deeply about the eternal destiny of his neighbors that he was openly going door-to-door telling them about Jesus and praying with all who wanted to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Because of the Taliban takeover, he didn’t know how long he would be able to continue witnessing in such a bold way before he was arrested, tortured, and put to death. But he had no intension of stopping until his arrest. This man’s Paul-like zeal feeds my question. Would I?
Do you ask the same question? Under threat of torture and death, would I openly live out my Christian faith?
At the risk of sounding preachy, I believe it is time for American Christians to ask themselves the “Would I?” question. We do not know how long we can count on the freedoms we so enjoy. One of the reasons I love the Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ walking stick approach is that it is so easy to share the salvation message. It’s simple–as simple and uncomplicated as Jesus intended salvation to be.
Pete and I would love for you to join us at an event when we are in your area this fall and winter. And you will have more opportunities than ever before.
Just yesterday we learned the sad news that Bill Brown (center) has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and must begin treatment immediately. Bill undoubtedly has more passion to see souls come to Jesus than anyone we have known. Bill lives in upstate New York and is responsible for the work of the Christian Farmers from New York all the way down to Florida in the eastern third of our country. He has asked Pete and I to be responsible for the events here in the south since he will be unable to take care of them. Of course, we agreed. That means Pete and I will be doing quite a bit more traveling this year.
And it all starts in just a few weeks at the beginning of October!
I will be sending out another post in a week or two updating everyone on our schedule and sharing stories from this summer. In the mean time, will you pray for Bill and his wife Kathy as they go through the weeks ahead? Especially pray for Bill’s healing. Please keep our Afghan brothers and sisters in prayer as well as the Taliban and Isis, that many will receive Christ through the testimony of the brave believers they seek to harm. And please pray for Pete and me–that we will remain healthy during this time. Please pray for the Lord to supply our needs as our traveling schedule will require additional funds. Thank you so much for your prays.
Thank you also to each of you who support us.
We can always be reached at 239-849-5527 or 239-233-4359.
By mail 14880 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, Florida 33955.
We love you!
In His Grip,
Pete and Sandy Singer