Impact Blog

Fruit that Remains (John 15:16) by Steve Stewart

“I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain.” (Jonn 15:16)

East Samar, Philippines - May 2016.

People often ask about the long term impact of a Journey of Compassion on the places where we go. This is a very legitimate question. I usually point out that the immediate impact can be seen in a poor community where many received medical care, water filter systems are provided for a large number of families, and many people are supernaturally healed. (There are many times when, returning to a community a year or two later, that people come and tell us about how they were healed and have remained so.)

During a Journey of Compassion, I usually spend a few days with pastors and leaders, providing ministry training and trying to help them see a new paradigm--extending God's Kingdom in their community rather than trying to get people into their church. I put a lot into this, because I am so convinced that with a Kingdom paradigm, they will see great things happen. But to be honest, this is usually a step of faith on my part, because I don't often get to find out if real change has happened after we leave.

Today I received some very gratifying news.

Last year I met with the East Samar pastors for first time. I taught them about the Kingdom of God, the centrality of the Great Commission, how Jesus made disciples (hint: it wasn't a three month new believers course that they learned in a classroom), healing the sick, how to let the Holy Spirit teach through a relational a Bible study, and how to start house churches. As always, I left hopeful that I had at least got them thinking about some new things.

We have been very busy since I got here. Finally today, I sat down with Pastor Sam who leads many pastors here in Samar, and who is our national partner. Imagine my joy when he told me that since we were here last August, he and the pastors have put what I taught them into practice. Now, only nine months later, Pastor Sam has over 100 house churches! Including the other pastors, there are over 200 house churches. Last August the number of house churches was zero. More are being added all the time. And not only that, the groups are growing with seekers who become new believers, not established Christians.

Pastor Sam said that for years he prayed that God would bring people to the church. Then, last year, he heard me say that our job was not to get people into the church; our job is to help get the church out to people. Before he heard this, Sam told me he was deeply discouraged. Now, he is joyful and amazed to see all that the Lord is doing in East Samar.

So to all those of you who support and pray for Impact Nations, be encouraged.  The Lord is taking what we have to offer Him, and multiplying it beyond what we imagined.

        No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor 2:9)                           

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