It is the best of times and the worst of times for Sally and me right now. This little literary phrase really boils down our lives. We are so thankful for you and others who have stood alongside us through so much, so of course we want to keep you informed to what is happening in our lives. I’ll start with the “best of times”.
Ministry is exploding. The Church Planting Experience (CPx) training school is raising up new leaders, with our students learning everything from inductive Bible study techniques to how to reach Muslims to a trade (like how to run an Internet café or a preschool, to enable them to be self-supporting as they move into closed nations).
These reports back to us from countries where we have sent workers have been beautiful:
“One of the young men … actually said he had been waiting for somebody to come and teach himabout the Bible, as he was eager to know more but couldn’t find anybody to help him.”
Another man said—from the Muslim nation where our team is working:
“Some of our guys have a group meeting in a park nearby almost everyday to read theNew Testament and talk about Jesus. We also have some of our team members reading through theGospels with one of the local Imams [Muslim leaders] and other men we’ve met on theisland. Some of our ladies met 12 students at a local school who wanted Bibles and havebeen meeting to discuss the life of Jesus and his teachings...”
Muslims are coming to Christ. Muslims are responding to the Gospel in our ministry, and in huge numbers all over the world. I know Muslim terrorists are at work around the world, which raises the question, must we love Muslims even though there are terrorists among them? Sally and I have chosen not to operate in fear because of terrorists. We take the Bible literally when it says we should love our neighbor as ourself.
Why? I refuse to be afraid of Muslims because I want to see people the way Jesus sees them. I reject fear because that plays into the hands of a few violent extremists who want to see a gulf of fear and prejudice between Muslims and the good news of Jesus.
I don’t fear terrorists because fear is not of God. God loves the whole world, including the Muslim world—even the terrorists who, like Saul before he “became” Paul, hate and kill Christians. God loves the world so much that He sent Jesus to redeem the world by dying for it. In the same way, God has called us to lay down our lives to bring people to faith in Jesus. We cannot win those we fear and hate.
One more deeply penetrating reason not to fear Muslims: The terrorists are the ones who areafraid! Muslim terrorists are a tiny, tiny minority of a huge religious block of people in the religion called Islam. They are afraid because the good news of Jesus is impacting millions and millions (this is not an exaggeration), of Muslims. They may not understand the spiritual dynamics, but there are spiritual forces at work to stir up hate and fear.
They are coming to faith in Jesus in the Middle East, in Indonesia, and here in Africa where we live. Terrorism is the response of a losing cause ... it is almost as if there is a spiritual force stirring up terrorists to detract true followers of Jesus from loving Muslims, and we must not be thrown off by this tactic. We must stay focused on praying and loving and taking the good news of Jesus. Jesus called us to love not hate.
We must not draw back in fear, but move forward in faith! I want to encourage you and other friends and fellow believers: the Lord loves Muslims. And we are thrilled to be a part of raising up a movement of disciple makers to take the Gospel to them. Just this week I heard from one of our teams in a Muslim country that they have begun three "underground" churches among Muslims who are coming to faith in Jesus.
God is at work bringing people to Himself like never before in history—and we are so grateful for your prayers and support that allow us to be part of what God is doing! The Lord is using you in ministry with us here in Africa and the Middle East —your prayers, your gifts, your encouragement makes it possible. Thank you!
In spite of the good news, this also seems to be the worst of times for Sally and me. Sally and I see the “worst” of times as God’s opportunity for the best, but it is still hard. We know tough times are God-given opportunities to grow, but that doesn't make them any easier. God is using what we are going through to refine us. In that light, here is what’s been hitting us hard these days:
First, Sally’s had a rough go of it physically, dealing with painful shingles for several months now, as well as two major dental surgeries that cost us a lot ($9,500 which we had not budgeted for).
Secondly, we’ve experienced a family member in crisis. We’re helping and praying, but it’s touched us deeply, both emotionally and financially.
Also, I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed on a personal level. The ministry activity is thrilling … but the long days are just that, long and tiring. I’m still praying (and I hope you’ll join me in this) for a gifted assistant. Plus, and it's embarrassing to say this, but I sprained both my wrist and my ankle in a nasty fall a bit ago (I’m happy to report I'm healing ok - fortunately the x-rays came back negative yesterday - no break or fracture).
All in all it's been an emotional few months, including a lot of highs and some lows. As we look ahead, we see so much potential, especially in the Muslim world. But both Sally and I also feel a little overwhelmed with the personal challenges. We see the Lord's blessings, but we also see the practical realities, such as our need for help to cover the “extra” expenses, as well as our regular living costs.
If the Lord leads, whatever you could offer toward these needs would be a tremendous blessing. I have provided details below for your convenience. Regardless of whether or not you can send a financial gift, we’d love to hear from you with any prayer requests and any family news you can share with us. We would love to partner with you in prayer as you pray for us.
Thank you for standing with us in the face of many challenges. May the Lord bless you with His grace and mercy.
Thank you for your love and prayers,
Floyd & Sally McClung
P.S. If you’d like to read more updates on how lives are being touched through our training school CPx, please visit the outreach blog of our teams at http://cpxoutreach.posterous.
Support Address in the USA: All Nations Support, c/o Walsh and Washburn, 5360 College Boulevard, Suite 100, Overland Park, KS 66211 - Please attach a note that says your gift is for Floyd & Sally McClung
In South Africa or Europe send a bank transfer to:
Standard bank Account # 072110619 Swift code - SBZA ZA JJ (for international transfers) 77 Main Rd.,