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building a community to reach a community

The Core of our Mission: Making Disciples

To teach and write books about discipleship is one thing; but making disciples is another dimension of the task. I can even assure you that it's impossible if we want to do it with our own strategy. W. Henrichsen was right when he said, “Discipleship is woven primarily through personal relationships, and relies on the love of others that only God can give us.” Our own strategies are part of the reason why the task is so complicated and even impossible.

Jesus was a man of relationship and love. At the end of his life on earth, he said to his disciples, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT) One commentator says we cannot emphasize the well-known Great Commission text (Matthew 28:18-20) without mentioning this new commandment. Therefore, we can summarize and conclude that the commandment is “make disciples”, and the strategy is relationship and love.

We don’t overlook the fact that this project was given to weak human disciples by our all-powerful and all-knowing Lord. Yet our very lives today are a testament that they have accomplished their mission in their generation. It was through their work, and through the Holy Spirit, that the Good News and the strategy of discipleship has reached us. And we realize that this great project does not reach its completion until disciples are made among all peoples until the end of the world.

The mission is complicated and vast. Its cost is so dear. But there are factors in our favor that we must not neglect or ignore. In this more complicated world, the Lord who promised to be with us every day, to the end of the world, provides for us every means necessary to accomplish the task. In our modern time, he has reduced the distance and cost of the mission by bringing the people of the world into our educational institutions and communities.

When God, in his sovereignty, wanted the Good News to reach the known world of the first century, he allowed the extension of the Roman Empire, the general peace, the good condition of the roads favoring travel, and the spread of the Greek language, which was understood everywhere. What we now see as challenges of life today can be turned into opportunities for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our generation.

We (Cru and Bridges International) as well as other organizations wishing to reach international students for Christ, consider the massive presence of these students here and all their challenges as great opportunities to make disciples among the peoples of the world.

In our work at ETSU, the momentum of this academic year came from a Vision Conference in Baltimore last December. This is a Cru/Bridges winter conference that exists to serve, promote social connections, and engage in spiritual conversations with international students so that students become leaders internationally. Thanks to everyone who assisted and prayed, we had eight active participants from ETSU excited to travel to the Vision Conference. This has become a great boost for our work this year.

Coming back from the conference, our student leaders were encouraged and motivated to meet together more regularly than ever before. We are now meeting with them weekly to help them and their friends grow spiritually and share their faith with other students. The photo is from one of these amazing study nights. There are thirteen people gathered together around these tables. We meet with them every Thursday evening from 7:00-8:30 on the ETSU campus. This small group represents eight nations: USA, Zambia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, DR Congo, China, and India.

Our objective, for the few remaining Thursdays of this semester, is to help them prepare and better communicate their personal testimonies. They will also learn to use a tool, the Know God Personally brochure, in their personal witnessing. We appreciate your prayers for us as we continue to strive to reach the goal!

To learn more about what Kamate and Kavira do with Cru and Bridges International, visit the table in the lobby this Sunday, April 15. 

Kamate and Kavira Basolene

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