“From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.” 1 Chronicles 12:32, NLT
October 9, 2016. Seattle, Washington. A brown skinned young lady rushes toward my wife and me, beside herself with joy and exclaiming, “Uncle Bakht Singh, Uncle Bakht Singh!”
“What is going on?” I wondered, bracing for one of God’s frequent pleasant surprises.
It was a joy to be invited to Seattle Missions Fest early last month to serve as a keynote speaker on their insightful theme, Global Disruption: Problem or Opportunity? How appropriate, considering the present, unprecedented global movement of people—voluntarily and forcibly—be they economic migrants, refugees from war and terrorism, or international students. There are more people on the move than ever in world history: 245 million of them crossing international borders, including over five million international students. That is a wave!
Why? Because God is on the move! Paul’s message on Mars Hill makes clear the sovereignty of God in determining the eras of history and the locations of people. God makes and moves in waves so His people get to spread His fame (Acts 8:4) while others get to know His name (Acts 17:26-27).
We cannot create these waves but can learn to surf them as God makes them. As a mission agency, we feel honored that God would open our eyes to see His latest wave. We are learning to surf it. Welcome to the new era of mission where globalization has so shrunk time and space that international student ministry is not local, not global, but glocal. Small local action in any Canadian city can have huge global ramifications through a ripple effect.
For a perfect example of surfs and ripples, consider the young lady I mentioned earlier.
Her name is Lima. When she saw a slide of Bakht Singh, a Sikh international student who was transformed by the love of Winnipeg’s John and Edith Hayward, Lima couldn’t believe her eyes. That young man, Bakht Singh, returned to India to disciple her parents, marry them, commission them for ministry among university students in India, and dedicate her (Lima) as a baby.
Lima’s father later became an international student in the U.S. where she was raised. She served as a missionary in China and now serves the Lord with her Chinese husband and three children among low income families and refugees in the U.S.
The pebble was dropped in Canada, rippled to India, returned to the U.S., spread to India and China, just reconnected to Canada and . . . who knows what and where next?
May we understand the times we live in, learn to surf God’s waves, and allow Him to use us to cause glocal ripples from where we work and live to the ends of the earth!
Dr. Yaw Perbi