Working in a country in which Christianity is overshadowed by animistic and pantheistic religions has been challenging. Many people simply aren't interested in spiritual things and rebuff any attempts to strike up a conversation (many also have a bad taste in their mouth left by christian cults). So it is discouraging to see people turn down or show no interest in "the good news."
After a while it can produce a longing for America with its "healthy" church. That is until one reads the news back home about Christians being asked leave a public beach because the police have received calls complaining of harassment and private companies being denied business licenses because the CEO happens to have a different opinion than the city major about what is or isn't a sin.
It's enough to remind us that this world is not our home and that no country or land has been or ever will be truly Christian until Christ returns. As for the rejection, God had to remind me that it is Him and His teachings that is being spurned and spat upon, not us. The pain He feels far exceeds any frustration and discouragement we face as a result of following Him.
And the Lord is faithful. That very same night during an English class I was able to share the gospel with a woman named Miharis. After presenting the story of Adam and the Fall, Jesus was introduced as an "intercessor" (a theological term WAY over the heads of these novice English speakers). Thankfully a Japanese christian named Mauoko and I were able to work together to answer her questions about the concept of original sin and how it separates us from the God the Father (Kami-sama in Japanese, literally something like honored emperor God). To try and explain "intercessor" the bridge model suddenly fit perfect to show our separation and how the cross bridges the gap (I used a kanji interpretation app to draw it on my iTouch). As I fumbled around for simple English words and explanations, and Mauoko explained with greater clarity in Japanese, everything took on the proper perspective as understanding and amazement dawned on Miharis's face.
The gospel and it's dissemination to all people truly is the good news and can overcome all discouragements.
Reconciled by Christ, Brett & Beth recount their tales of service to God through their gifts of ministry & medicine with Jethro & Edessa in tow.