I begin writing this Journal in the Moscow airport while waiting for my return flight home. It is nearly one month since I came to train national leaders, pastors, and students. But first…
Let me share with you what has been on my heart and what the Lord is working deeply into my spirit at this time—the mystery of humility, brokenness, and the Cross—Incarnational love to the bitter end and the triumphant new beginning. What searchings of heart! Being exposed to selfishness, pride, glory-grabbing, boastful servanthood, and deceptions of the heart is both painful and humiliating! How the Spirit lays bare the uncircumcised heart!
Crucifixion, Love’s merciful end to sin and means to sanctification, is ghastly and final! The last to die, self-love, makes us afraid of mortification (John 12:24-26). The Cross is not only to wear around our neck, sing about, or remember only as a historical event. The Cross is a place to die! Only in “death” (I Cor. 15:31) can one experience the resurrection Power and Life of Christ (Phil. 3:10).
The pride of seeking the honor of men (John 5:41,44; 12:43; Prov. 16:18), the destructive power of success (II Chron. 26:16; 32:25), strife (party-spirit) and vain glory (Phil. 2:1-5) so often become the motivational powers in the Kingdom of God! It is this false “wisdom” that is “earthly, sensual, and devilish” (James 3:14-18).
How deadly and devastating is the “touching of the Ark syndrome”! All with good motives (to help God out, to protect His good name, etc.), we who are accustomed to the manner and ways of the “goings of God” can assume ownership and the place of God. Oh, the arrogance and deceitfulness of our “humility” (II Cor. 4:10,11)! Washing feet is still a “dirty” and humiliating work, yet the servant is not above his Lord (Matthew 10:24). “Lord, change me …”
“Things that are not”, “empty vessels”, “nothing”, “thorns”, “filth and spectacles of the world”, “mangers”, “little maids”, “servants”, “foolish things”, “bushes”, “unknowns”, “pitchers”, “things that are weak”, and “thorns” are still God’s “tools” for ministry. Pinnacles are places of vision but also of greatest temptation (Isaiah 14:12-15). One does not fall from lowly places.
Emptying of self is God’s prerequisite for His filling and exaltation (James 4:6-10). Self-reliance is a defiance of God (John 15:5). Most of us would rather be “ruined by praise” than “humbled by reproof”. Oh, the pride of walk, face, look, dress, ministry, intellect … of success, size, title, degree, edifice and monuments, ministry and attitudes. Oh, for the “covering” mantle … the “swaddling clothes” of death’s victory!
Can God’s character be perfected by us? In one sense, yes! How can that be? The Scriptures tell us that “His strength” is made “perfect” in our weakness (II Corinthians 12:9)! What a thought! What a challenge to magnify God through our weakness! To glory in the Cross alone … (Gal. 6:14, I Cor. 1:29)!
The Lord allowed us to meet with nearly 200 leaders and members of evangelistic teams from Sweden, England, Bulgaria, Romania, Holland, Hungary, and other countries. I was part of the ministry team to train and challenge them before they left for several countries to evangelize alongside the national churches and other nationals in their respective countries.
I was again renewed in the knowledge that God is working through many channels to accomplish His purposes in the world. Our sometimes limited perspective can produce a sort of frustrated and myopic view of Gospel labor and cooperation. God is moving by His Spirit… moving through all the earth.
For nearly one month I had the joy and privilege of training leaders, pastors, and students daily. We witnessed a hunger for God, a desire to know His Word, and a willingness to be “sent out” to the vast region of the Russian state and beyond! The annals of heaven will record the exploits of these eager and bright students, filled with the Spirit and desirous of sharing the Hope of Christ to their world.
Sovereignly and uniquely, God descended upon us on three separate occasions. What a thrilling experience to be serving when He is present! We also preached in the churches and experienced people responding to God’s gifts of salvation, the Spirit’s infilling, physical healing, and spiritual restoration.
Leaders shared with us their continuing concern about the time left for religious freedom in their countries. Leaders from other eastern countries share the same concern. These countries’ greatest need is not finances (contrary to what some of them [and us] think). We can best assist the Church through strategic prayer and “strengthening of their hands” for the work of the Kingdom.
Besides primary evangelism, this ministry would include training leadership, providing them and the Church with ministry tools, doing cooperative endeavors and, at times, providing counsel on how best to “thrust in the sickle” and “gather the harvest”. Church leaders, both home (senders) and abroad (receivers), need much wisdom, faith, and boldness in making these critical decisions.
Our hearts are full of thanksging to the Lord Who has been faithful in His presence and provision. Also, we again say “thanks” to you for your faithfulness to the Lord and to us. We remember you continually before the Lord, knowing and feeling in prayer some of your struggles, pain, joys, tests, and challenges to faith and obedience.
The battle is one! The “turf” may be different, the geography different, the cultures, languages, and peoples are different, but the strategies of the “Enemy of our souls” and his work to “kill, steal, and destroy” are the same. However, our Commander and Chief goes before His own to bring us through! Jehovah-Nissi is the Captain of the Lord of Hosts!
Our furlough, after 6 years here in Eurasia, begins in July of 1995. Our plan now is to attend the School of Missions in Springfield, MO, in July; possibly the General Council in St. Louis, MO, in August, along with some services in the surrounding vicinity; and then move to California, where we will need to find a house and establish our home. As the Lord wills, our fourth son, Stephen, plans to enroll in college in the fall.
Scheduling of Services
Several have already scheduled services for 1995/1996. Should the Lord direct you and you have not yet contacted us, write, call, fax, or e-mail to schedule a meeting(s) with us. We are trusting the Lord to direct our way to many of you. We want to simplify this process for both of us, by beginning early. Thank you for your understanding and help.
We continually need your prayers as we enter into this phase of ministry. We covet them for ourselves, family, ministry, and for the furlough process. We are trusting the Lord to continue to direct our paths in the future.
To the King Immortal, Invisible, Imminent, and the only wise God,
Reuben/Carmen Sequeira & Family