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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

The Spirit Knows

By L. John Bueno
April 3, 2011

When I became executive director of Assemblies of God World Missions 14 years ago, I was overwhelmed at the enormity of the task. After years of devoting my attention to Latin America as a missionary, area director and regional director, suddenly I was faced with the needs of the whole world. I knew I needed the Lord’s direction to lead our mission to meet the challenges that lay ahead.

As I prayed, I sensed the Holy Spirit’s leading to focus on certain parts of the world that were too big to really zero in on them as we should. One of those regions was Eurasia. At the time, our Eurasia Region encompassed more than 60 countries and stretched across 18 time zones. It included all of Europe as well as Southern Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, and all the former Soviet republics. I felt we needed to make Europe a region of its own because of its economic, political and spiritual differences from the rest of Eurasia.

When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something, we don’t know all the reasons why because we have limited insight. But the Holy Spirit sees the broad picture and knows what’s happening in the future as well as in the present. I had no idea of the enormous influx of immigration that was about to take place in Europe, but God did. He knew that reaching out to these immigrants would become a major factor in reaching the continent.

In recent years, God has confirmed our concerted focus on Europe. The missionary staff there has more than doubled, and we have seen a noticeable healing of divisions among some of the region’s Pentecostal churches. In several countries of Europe, the Assemblies of God worked with two or three distinct church organizations. Many of these churches have come together and are now presenting a united effort as cooperative fellowships eager to reach both the Europeans and immigrant populations within their borders. When God initiates a plan, He knows what He is doing.

Reaching immigrants in Europe carries eternal consequences, not only for the continent but for other areas where the knowledge of the gospel is not welcome. Every person who comes to Christ from a restricted-access country will be a testimony for the gospel when they return to their homeland or communicate with relatives and friends. Their witness will establish entrance points for what God wants to accomplish around the world.

As we depended upon the Holy Spirit’s leading in the past, we now must seek His direction for the future. We can devise plans and strategies, but unless the Holy Spirit is behind them, we will miss the purpose that God has for the Church and for us as His servants. Missionaries and national believers are depending on our prayers and intercession for God’s direction in effectively sharing the gospel. As we are faithful to pray, He will be faithful to prepare hearts to receive the Word of God. The effects will change not only Europe, but also the world.

L. JOHN BUENO is executive director for AG World Missions.

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