Anthony Ellis spent eight weeks in two regions of east Asia during July and August of 2018. This post focuses on his five weeks in the first region. Part 2 focuses on his experiences in the second region. For security reasons, the regions are not being identified, and any names given for residents are not their real names.
Ellis met Patrick at a game night and saw him again at a meal arranged by the pastor’s wife, who also tutored Ellis in the local language. Patrick is not yet a Christian, but he attends a local church as he seeks to learn more about Christianity. “We talked extensively about his doubts,” Ellis said, “and what the Bible had to say about them. He seemed engrossed in the conversation and seemed encouraged by it.”
God used the two men’s time together to benefit both of them. Ellis said, “Afterwards, I felt very grateful to God and incredibly fortunate to have an opportunity to play a small role in what He was doing in Patrick’s life.”
Knowing the local language and establishing connections with people are essential to sharing the Gospel. While Ellis studied the region’s language, he networked with university students in the area. Eating lunch in the university’s cafeteria enabled him and a roommate to meet local students and begin to get acquainted with them. The roommates extended hospitality to the local students by regularly meeting them for dinner and occasionally hosting game nights and movie nights. Those social contacts provided opportunities for Christian outreach. “We regularly shared the Gospel with non-believing students,” Ellis said, “and we spent time mentoring some of the college students that attended a local church.”
Ellis’s work was far from a solo effort. He and his two roommates worked with a husband-wife Journeyman couple who mentor both believing and non-believing college students at house churches in the locality. Sundays provided opportunities to meet with additional Christians — several families whose children ranged in age from 1 to 16.
“The team had a very strong sense of community,” Ellis said. Sunday sessions included discussions of prayer requests and praises for what God had done in individuals’ lives. Each meal provided additional opportunities for sharing. Ellis said that he valued the advice of the group’s older men, who had “a lot of valuable insight.”