UNREACHED

A Special Episode: Sending Kate to the Unreached in the Middle East

September 13, 2023 UNREACHED Season 1 Episode 4
UNREACHED
A Special Episode: Sending Kate to the Unreached in the Middle East
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this very special episode, we meet Kate, a missionary preparing for her journey to the Middle East. She shares how the biblical story of Abraham's obedience fuels her passion to reach the unreached. Our conversation with her reveals the unique beauty she finds in Muslims coming to know Jesus and how she views Jesus' cultural interactions, his honor for women, and the gentleness and mystery he brings with His presence. 

Navigating singleness, sacrifice, and calling is never an easy feat, yet Kate's story is one of faithfulness and surrender. Her perspective on the freedom and responsibility in her calling, the significance of leaning on the family of God, and the beauty in sacrifices for the Kingdom is truly inspiring. We also unpack the concept of "calling" and its three distinct aspects: identity, purpose, and role. Trust us, this is not a conversation you would want to miss. 

Finally, we delve into the cultural nuances of serving in the Middle East. Here we underscore the importance of understanding and respecting cultural differences and the model of Jesus worth emulating. We wrap up the episode with a look ahead to Kate's mission work, her preparation, and a heartfelt prayer for her journey. Her commitment and courage are truly a testament to her faith and it's our hope that her story inspires you as much as it has us. Tune in and be moved by Kate's undaunted commitment to reach the unreached.

Follow @unreachedpodcast on Instagram for more!

Dustin Elliott:

In Revelation 7, john shares his vision of heaven, with members from every tribe, tongue, people and language standing in the throne room before the Lamb. Yet today there are still over 7,000 unreached people groups around the world. For the last six years, my family and friends have been on a journey to find, vet and fund the task remaining. Come journey with us to the ends of the earth as we share the supernatural stories of God at work through the men and women he has called to reach the unreached. Hello friends, welcome back to the Unreach podcast. Dustin Elliott here, your host, and today we have a very special episode, a totally different one than anything we've done before.

Dustin Elliott:

Don Ellsworth, mission's pastor at Austin Ridge, literally just reached out to Clint and I within the last couple of days. There's a young woman who's a missionary, who's been working with our church and working locally in local missions, and she is being commissioned right now to go to the nation. She's getting ready to go to the Middle East. It's happening in real time. She's literally signing her will this afternoon to get ready to go and Don's like, hey, while she's here, if we can find a window to record, kate, we need to do it. And I said great, but I don't really know Kate, and I don't know Kate's story, but you do and Clint does, and so today I've got Clint and Kate and Don all on the mic. We're going to have a conversation and talk about what it means to be commissioned, what it means to be called and to go to the nation. So first, kate, thank you for being here and welcome.

Kate:

Thank you so much for having me. This is a blast.

Dustin Elliott:

And, of course, don Ellsworth. And real quick, I'm going to back up. Six years ago, seven years ago, the start of bless bless started with Heath and Tabitha, as you know from episode zero, with Todd Aaron and perspectives. After Todd mobilized them, they went to Don Ellsworth, our missions pastor. They're like Don, we're on fire, we're supposed to go do these things. What are we going to do? And Don's like well, what are your gifts? And he's like well, I'm an auctioneer and I raise money for charities. And Tabitha's like well, I'm an event planner and I put on events. And Don's like well, maybe you could mobilize a lot of other people to go to the nations and raise a lot of funding and other things, and that might be your skill set instead of being goers. Hence the birth of the bless foundation.

Dustin Elliott:

So, don, thank you for being here and being the representative of our local church and our missions pastor Right on. And Clint, our editor, our producer, all the things that happen behind the scenes to make this podcast sound great. He's here as well, clint, thanks for being here. Yep, so, kate, you're working particularly with one of the other world major religions and that's the Muslim community. So what is, in your perspective, the unique beauty of Muslims coming to know Jesus.

Kate:

Wow, there is a lot there. It is an Abrahamic religion, so they also call Abraham the father of their faith and they account the stories of Abraham as sacred. Some of their biggest holidays revolve around Abraham. They revolve around the sacrifice of Abraham's son, and when you go to the Middle East during these holidays, it's crazy. The streets are packed full of sheep and rams and all these different animals that will be sacrificed in honor of Abraham's obedience to God during that time. So when we think about the story of Abraham, it's amazing. That was when the voice of God broke through, after a lot of silence, historically speaking, and found Abraham and promised him something. He promised him he would make him a great nation, he would multiply him. He also told Abraham, ironically go from your land, go to a place that I'm going to show you. And so there's this crazy, just active faith that Abraham stepped out in.

Dustin Elliott:

Genesis 12, 1-3.

Kate:

Exactly, and because of that, most of the world's religious people, the people of the Abrahamic faiths in the world, came because of that obedience and because of that faith. And so when I think about my Muslim friends, and they revere God so strongly, Absolutely.

Kate:

They revere the God that they worship More than many believers that I know here in the West their respect for his holiness, their desire to be in alignment with righteousness. Though it is a self-attempt, it's really strong and I really admire it. I've learned a lot about how to love God through my Muslim friends.

Dustin Elliott:

I love that.

Kate:

And so there's something so crazy too about what happens when Christ comes in, and it's similar to what happened in the world. When Christ historically came here, there was only Abrahamic religions. Beforehand there was the Jews and they were the people of Abraham and they were there as we see Jesus interacting with the Pharisees, really on top of the law, really able to do the law and do the rules of God and honor him in this way. And then we see Jesus step in and he comes in with grace and he comes in with a righteousness that we could never attain and he comes in with gentleness and mystery.

Kate:

There's so many stories throughout the New Testament that if you read what Jesus is doing through the lens of a Jewish person or even a modern-day Muslim, the way that he interacted with people culturally, it's absurd, it's audacious. It's why they killed him. And so to see my Muslim friends here and now encounter Jesus through his word when we sit down and we look at the gospel of Luke together and my Muslim friend sees how Jesus honored women, sees how he stooped down, held their hand, says when he healed the bleeding woman, he says daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace. That's a type of God they've never seen before. It somehow fills the structure of what they were born into, what they were brought up in, the structure of reverence and holiness for this God of Abraham. But all of a sudden, the life is breathed into it for the first time in your life.

Kate:

It's the most fun thing to see.

Dustin Elliott:

So, Don, how did you meet Kate? Did she just show up on the doorstep one day and knock and say hey, I'm here in town and I want to help?

Don Ellsworth:

Yeah, kind of Not really. I'm familiar with the organization that she works with and so, having reached out to them earlier, knowing that we were getting ready and praying about a ministry here in our city among Muslims, asked their company if they knew of any workers or mobilizers that they had in the area to let us know. And it was at that point that Kate was here and introduced us, and we met soon after that and have been working together here in the city ever since.

Dustin Elliott:

Yeah, so let's talk a little bit about that local mission. So part of what our church, austin Ridge here is doing locally is a lot of folks with a Muslim background have moved into a particular neighborhood in town and so you've made a commitment to go into that neighborhood and take people from our church and just walk and pray and introduce and meet and invite these folks into community.

Don Ellsworth:

Yeah, our church has a growing conviction of reaching the unreached and just following God's heart for the nations, and so, as that prayer, it's easy to think about people like Kate that are going overseas to do just that, but the reality is is that those people are in our front yard, and so we have been aware of a significant influx of Afghan refugees that are coming to Austin over the last number of years and have started relationships with them. So for us it's kind of a two pronged approach. We want to be aware and available and to mobilize people to go to those places, but just get, given current trends, those people are absolutely here and so we wanted to address that. We're addressing as best we can, by God's grace, addressing both of those needs, again overseas and in our city. Oh, I love that.

Dustin Elliott:

I love that. And so, kate, you've been here working and serving, and you have obviously a particular affinity for the Muslim people. You just gave more wisdom on that topic than most people would be able to in their lifetime, and through the work you've had here you have some stories you wanted to share today of Muslims you know that have come to know Jesus. You want to tell us a couple of stories.

Kate:

When I've gone on short term trips to the Middle East, it's not uncommon at all to meet people who are maybe followers of Jesus or maybe even not yet, but who have had encounters with Jesus. So one of my favorite stories comes from a country that I visited last summer and there was a woman who at the time was a follower of Jesus, coming from a Muslim background. Under this day, her parents do not know that she's a follower of Jesus. In fact, if it's found out that she is, her son, whom she's raising by herself, will be taken away from her by the government, as conversion in this place is illegal. So her story of coming to know Jesus is pretty wild. With that much cost at risk, he's got to show up pretty strongly and he typically does so. What happened with his friend was she had known of this worker, this missionary in the city, and they were friends. They were all and started hanging out. And this young woman we'll call her Diana, this Muslim background woman. She was asked by this long-term missionary if she had heard much of Jesus, if she knew much about him. Of course she does, as a Muslim woman. They revered Jesus highly as a prophet. My Muslim friends tell me all the time. If I didn't love Jesus I wouldn't be a good Muslim.

Kate:

So this woman, diana, loved Jesus as much as she knew how to. But then she started getting these weird dreams and they were confusing to her because it was a very vivid scene. And she started telling this long-term missionary about the first dream she had. She said it was crazy.

Kate:

I was in a boat and it was the middle of the night and I have some other friends with me in the boat and a storm starts to kick up and I start to get pretty scared. But then we all look out on the water and there's this man on the water dressed in white, and he's walking towards the boat. But he calls me to go out to him on the water. So I have this boldness and I stand up in the boat and I put my leg out onto the water and I stand on it and then I get fully out of the boat and I start walking to him. But then I get scared. I see the wind, I see the waves, I think what's going on and I start to sink and Jesus comes up to me and he holds his hand out and he pulls me out of the water.

Kate:

And so, as this long-term missionary is hearing this story, she knows that this is an exact story from scripture that Diana, this Muslim background woman, has never read before. She's never heard the story, and yet Jesus gave her a dream where he put her in a story of scripture, showed her that. So now, how do you think a woman like that goes to the scripture now when she reads these stories? She has lived them before. She ever read them. It's absurd.

Dustin Elliott:

Our friend John. He was talking about the earthquakes that hit Turkey recently and the workers there, the church there, going in through the rubble and pulling these kids and women out of the rubble. Three and four days under the rubble and they're alive and they're healthy. And across town, across different parts of the place, the same story kept being told a man in white came and he gave me water, he gave me milk, he took care of me. A man in white and the news stations there not the church, not the missionaries, but the literal news stations there. They started to refer to the people of the Messiah. The people of the Messiah. They were who showed up, they were who brought it, they were who got there and pulled us out. It was incredible and you just told that dream and in that story you said, walking towards her in white. So there's something there.

Kate:

I think one of the things that is there is in Islam the color white is really respected. It's really valued. It's something that people of higher status or of honor would wear. If you've been in the Middle East, it's a very dusty place. It's hard to wear something that's white and keep it clean. They really value purity throughout the culture and so to have someone dressed in white it does symbolize purity, as we know intellectually in the West, but for them it's such a tangible real thing. So when they see him, they know the honor that's due him and then when they experience his gentleness in these dreams and visions over and over, it's the sweetest person that they're getting interact with.

Kate:

So when I was in again the Middle East last summer, just for a short-term trip, there had been a family that many long-term missionaries had been going to and trying to visit for a long time, trying to share the good news with which, in a Muslim context, often comes with many, many six-hour dinners where you're sitting there, you're getting to know everybody, you meet the whole family, you are adopted into the family. It's a very relational process and for years people had been praying for this family, that they would come to know him, and they had been praying, as some people would often think to, for the parents. The parents would hear, the parents would have a dream. The parents would somehow come to an understanding, and last summer, when I visited, we got an update on this family that Jesus had come to one of them in the dream, and it was one of the youngest daughters, and so we asked her about her dream.

Kate:

How did you know it was Jesus? What did he do? What was going on? And she said I was in my house in this dream and it was my house as I normally know it, except all of a sudden there was this door that I'd never seen before and there was light coming from behind it. So I went into it a little bit nervous, and there's this lush garden right inside my house and I go into it and there's this, in her words, very happy man in white sitting on a bench and all these little children are around him and he's giving each one of them new clothes. And that was her dream.

Dustin Elliott:

Wow.

Kate:

So I was reading this morning in Luke 10, how Jesus hides things from the wise and the understanding people of the world and reveals them to little children. And as Jesus says that, he says this is your gracious will. And I see the gracious will of Jesus being poured out in the Muslim world in countless, countless ways.

Dustin Elliott:

So, kate, you've been serving here locally, you've been on and it sounds like an onboard for you to do. Now. Long-term mission was these short-term trips. It's where you went over. As Todd said in our first episode, the heart can't feel what the eye hadn't seen. Right, you've gone, you've felt it, you've seen it. God kept you back over here, almost incubated you in practicing here locally, where you got a lot of reps, you got a lot of time in. You had mentors around you, folks like Don, who've been in the game a little longer that could coach you along and got you ready. And then what happened? What triggered this? Like boom, it's time for me to go, moment.

Kate:

I think for years, my initial response to knowing the needs in the world, knowing the needs of the unreached people in the world, knowing the needs of the unreached people within the Muslim world, which is hugely disproportionate, my first response and gut reaction was well, I should go.

Kate:

And even when I was 17 years old, my dad and I had a conversation where it was outside my house, we had gotten home but we're staying in the car. It was one of those conversations where you're just you gotta go for it. And I was telling him I just came back from a short-term trip to Asia and I was like dad, why would I waste four years of my of my next four years at university? Why would you waste four years of that tuition Trying to get him through that angle there? And when people in this country are dying without hearing the name of Jesus, why, why not? And in his wisdom, my sweet father talked me off that cliff, cause if I had gone to East Asia at age 17, like just nothing would have gone well. So in in my dad's patients and then the Lord's patients. Things took longer than I thought. I've been actively trying to go for 10 years and things have taken their own pace. For a long time I thought that something like what I've gotten to do the past couple of years in this neighborhood in our city was was merely strategic. And yet, when we look at scripture, it's just called simply being faithful with the small and then being entrusted with more, and the more that I've seen the unexpected difficulties of living among, among a people who don't know him, who've never met a believer before me in many cases, and who just have a lot of need. These people are refugees and they have a lot of practical need. All of these things have caused me to wrestle and wrestle, and wrestle in ways that have so wonderfully prepared me for this next step, though also sobered me like crazy. I have very little confidence left in my flesh, and I think that's a really exciting thing and at the same time it's it's taught me so much about the needs in the world. I think that initial gut reaction I had to I should go.

Kate:

I was humbled early on in living where I do currently in the city, amongst these Muslim friends, by reading Luke 4, where Jesus just read the scroll of Isaiah in the temple, essentially proclaiming himself to be the Messiah that they're all waiting for, and right after that. It's the weirdest thing he says you know, in the days of Elisha there were many widows, but Elisha was called the just one. And in the days of Elisha there are many lepers, but he was called the just one. And that is the least strategically efficient thing that I've ever heard of, and it infuriated the people that he talked to. And yet that's what following Jesus means.

Kate:

It says, okay, it's not just about what makes sense or what's possible, it's what is he, what is he inviting you into and when. And because he is way more patient than I am, I can trust that process of waiting that what he brings will be good and what he provides along the way will be good, and that I am not the one to evaluate what is best and what's not, what I should do and what I shouldn't do Do for one what you would do for all right Is one thing that comes to mind.

Dustin Elliott:

The other thing you remember Jack Crabtree from Papua New Guinea in his episode, and he talked about how they were so eager to get to the field that he actually married his wife in their senior year because they had been told you need to be married for a year before you go. He goes. Then they end up finding their agency. Then they spent four years training in their agency, right, and he's like God was actually slowing us down all along the way. It wasn't a speed ramp, it was a slow down. Pray up, get prepared, get ready, and that's exactly what your story has been like. But you have something different than Jack. Jack, I married, you aren't. So you are strategically going as a single woman. Tell us about what that feels like.

Kate:

Absolutely. There's many layers to it. Obviously, the first one I think of is my parents. I am their youngest, only single daughter.

Kate:

To let me go to the Middle East indefinitely, lord willing, for years and years and years, is a scary thing. I think of my own desire for companionship or consistency, knowing that as I go to the field the odds are going to be much less likely that I will find someone who wants to be in that work with me. But more than any of those apprehensions or fears, there is a deep excitement at the fact that, overall, my life is not my own. I've been bought with a price. My singleness is not my own. It's been given to me for a reason and I love the ability of getting to jump into any opportunity the Lord calls me into without honestly needing to check with somebody, without needing to be home at a certain time. The freedom that comes in singleness and ministry those things work so well together.

Kate:

Where I live now, the other night I heard a loud knock at my door at 8.30 pm. I was doing some work on my laptop, ready to go to bed early, but here come three of my little neighbor girls precious ones, who come over to my house, often for juice, sell them at 8.30, but they were there and they come in, we're talking for probably an hour and then they ask me to walk them to the road so they can cross safely. So I do, I don't even have shoes on. This is how unprepared I am. And then we cross the street and then we go to the park and then we walk to their house and then I have dinner with their parents for four hours, and the freedom to get to do that as a single person is an incredible gift.

Kate:

The relational capacity available through not only ministry and the people who invite you in, but also the family of God, to be in a posture of dependence on the family of God is such a gift in our very independent culture that the reason why I went to college is so that I could have the skills necessary to not be dependent on people. And yet the family of God is something where we are meant to be dependent on each other, and even in ministry I am meant to be and I have a strong conviction that as I go to the Middle East, I'm meant to be dependent on the people that I've gone to serve, just as Christ when he came to earth. He had to learn how to walk and how to talk, and he learned grammar and he learned how to make friends. He was dependent on the culture of earth when he came here, and singleness has taught me a lot about dependence.

Dustin Elliott:

You have a note here how sacrifice is really exchange. Tell us what that means.

Kate:

In preparing to move to the Middle East indefinitely. People have asked me a lot about the sacrifice, or I've even used that word myself when thinking about the things to give up. My whole family lives in the same city together. My two nephews and my niece are people that I adore, with all of me and without the future of potentially not having kids myself. These are dear people to me and that's the first thing I think of when I think of sacrifice, leaving this place that I love, the city I was born in. But, my goodness, it doesn't take long for my brain to turn and see what is being given to us in this kingdom of God that is coming here on earth. He says directly in Matthew 19 that for anyone who gives up land, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers will, in this life, be given back a hundredfold with persecution. But oh, my goodness, it's so.

Kate:

I don't see the word sacrifice often occur in scripture, where someone gives up something and gets nothing in return, if anything, even Isaac, this beautiful gift given to Abraham promised to Abraham. When Abraham steps up to sacrifice him, he gets him back with probably a much greater appreciation for his son in the first place. There's really a constant pattern throughout scripture of when God calls us to give him something, what he can give us in return is so much better. So the idea of sacrifices, a gift that I give God that doesn't get repaid, it's not a prosperity gospel thing. It's not that we give him this so he gives us this back. But if I think that my sacrifices aren't worth it, then I think that I'm a better gift giver than he is.

Clint Hudson:

All right. So, Kate, you've mentioned that you feel called to the Muslim world. You feel compelled to go and serve and to live amongst these people. What does calling actually mean? I think they'd be really helpful for people that are listening, whether they may feel the calling from the Lord. How do they discern what that looks like, what that looked like for you?

Kate:

I've heard the word calling my whole life, growing up in church, and to me it always seems like this elusive but grandiose purpose. It was this thing that you discover, and once you have it, then you feel secure, you feel like you know what to do. You feel like, even if it's a hard journey, at least you're set on the intention. And I spent a long time expecting that and hoping that and creating that even. I think that's what we do if we don't know what else to do. And I recently learned that when we say calling, I think we're talking about different things. I think it can be pulled apart into three distinct categories. So I'll try to be brief. But I think overall, when we say calling, what we're trying to tap into is identity, calling in a really specific sense and then role so really quickly identity as children of God. Our identities are set at the moment of salvation. Whenever that is, we are children of God and that is what we are. Scripture is very clear on it. There's nothing we can do to enhance that or nothing we can do to detract away from that. It is set. So our calling, when we think of what that might mean for us, it doesn't affect our identity. It can't touch our identity and if our identity is set, it will impact everything else that we do.

Kate:

The second thing, calling, I think in the sense of it being a purpose or what you were designed to do. I think, biblically speaking, the way to look at that is, as the church, as the people of God, what is our ultimate purpose? The Westminster Catechism summarizes it pretty well the chief end of man is to glorify God. You know the way you can say that is make him known, to glorify God and enjoy him forever. So that's our purpose as children of God, and that also will never change. Wherever we are, whatever we do, whatever we're doing, our identity of children of God plays into our purpose to enjoy him and to glorify him.

Kate:

So the last thing left there and I think this is what we often mean when we say calling is just role. So if those two things are set, what is my role? Is my role going to be a stay-at-home mom? Is it going to be to be an engineer? What is it going to be a missionary? What is it going to be?

Kate:

It doesn't really matter if the identity and the calling and the ultimate purpose are set. The role is up to God and we actually get to hold it pretty loosely. So if I think of calling in that sense really just my role, if those other things are set within my life, then there's not this pressure to figure out what do I do, how do I make my life useful and productive? Because it turns out Jesus wants our faithfulness and our surrender more than our productivity. So it doesn't really matter what I'm doing, as long as I'm listening to what he says, I'm trusting him in faith and I'm doing it to the best of my ability. If that is a businessman or a missionary or a mom, whatever, it doesn't really matter.

Clint Hudson:

Okay, I love, I love the way that you said that and I think you broke it down in such a special way. The identity, that's, that's who you are. That was decided at the moment that you were born and that the calling is just your purpose. And the purpose is to glorify God. The the role part. You said it so well that that's the thing that we often talk about when we're saying calling.

Clint Hudson:

But the role is that that's the thing that God appoints. He will appoint as he sees fit. He recognizes the kingdom from the beginning to end. He knows what needs to happen to see the kingdom come and his will be done. And for us to just be open-handed and say I will accept whatever role that you have for me, whether it be a worship pastor or a podcast host, or In the finance world, or a mom or a missionary into the Middle East, that's what he appoints us to do. Some of those roles that were called to require a tremendous amount of courage. I could say that what you're being called to, the role that you're being asked to go and fulfill, is that requires a lot of courage. What is propelling you? What's giving you the courage that you need to go and do this now?

Kate:

It may just be the fact that I'm young and haven't lived very much life so far, but there is a really palpable sense of the finitude of a human life. I don't have that much more time. I'm not even 30 yet, but I don't have that much more time. There's something about knowing that what we have is, as Romans 12 once says, our, our bodies are living Sacrifice that we are to offer to him, holy and pleasing to God. This is our spiritual act of worship. So if I think of what to what to do, I mean even this. This imaginative experience can come up where I think if I Could be used by God to do anything, knowing that faithfulness and surrender are all he asks of me. But if I, just for fun, could think of what I would want to be used for by God moving to a place where the Light of the kingdom of God has not been for a long time and getting to be a part of this forward movement of the kingdom of God that Christ came and told us about, where the gospel started to spread to the Gentiles and Then it started to spread out for more than that. You see in the church of Acts, this crazy Pivot early on in the book where the people suddenly realize this isn't just for us anymore, this isn't just for the Jews, this is for the Gentiles too.

Kate:

Jesus says that I have sheep that are not yet of this fold. I must bring them also. They will hear my voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd. It's a promise, it's a guarantee. There are people in the Middle East, there are sheep there that are not yet of this fold. They don't know it yet.

Kate:

It's our family members. Another way, it's our brothers and sisters. We, as the people of God already in the family, we get to be the doorman. That's all I see this role as. It's a greeter at the door on a Sunday morning to say howdy, welcome in, so glad you're here, come in and enjoy the presence of God. That's all this role is. So there's there's tricky elements to it. Sure, there's discomfort galore. It's not a beautiful place to be, and we can talk about that more, but it's the most beautiful posture I can imagine being right on the edge of where the glory of God and his tenderness and his goodness has has yet to be known but is about to be acknowledged. That's the best place I can imagine being in the world.

Dustin Elliott:

Don, I want to know from your, from your perspective. There's a totally different journeys for getting to the field. Some, some take a long time, some take a short time. But but for Kate there was a short-term trip, or two or three or seven or ten, I'm not sure. You keep referencing them. How do you use in the, in the mission, in department of Austin Ridge? How do you use short-term trips to bring people in and let them go see and experience this?

Don Ellsworth:

when you put a name to a story or a name to a face, or a name to a concept, a name to you know, a people, group, then it starts to become personal, and so a short-term trip for us is it's not a Magic thing that we just do, but it could be going across town to where we're meeting with Muslims here in our city, and so, again, the main thing is that we want to expose people to those stories. We want people to meet these other people, want our people to meet Muslims. Our culture is Generally remarkably void of meaningful, deep relationships. We're a culture of task accomplishment, get things done. Other cultures, like the Muslim culture, the Eastern cultures, they are highly relational.

Don Ellsworth:

You've heard Kate mentioned a couple times four hour meals, and I don't know if you did the math. This was after she took kids home, probably at 9 pm, so that you know that's a, that's a four hour meal to 1 am. In our culture we just don't tend to think that way. So there's a, there's a discipline, there's that sacrifice, there's that willingness to learn. That's why we want to take these trips, that's why we want people to come down and meet people. We want them to know Muslims, we want them to know the people that Jesus died for. We want to know, want them to know the people that Jesus made that are not like ourselves, and that just takes stepping out, and so that's what these experiences are about.

Dustin Elliott:

Well, you just teed up the next point perfectly, because we want to talk about the importance of coming in as a learner, coming independent somewhat on them, and also just that humble posture. So, kate, talk us through that and how that's important to you.

Kate:

There's a Tendency that I definitely carry within myself. Where am I, if I'm at home, thinking about going whether it's short term or long term to this new place? My first reaction is to is to gear up with all of my explanations, with all of my maybe? Arguments, with all of my Ability to articulate a certain thing, thinking that the salvation of my friends that I pray for will somehow come through my own Articulation. It rarely does, mercifully. Instead, what happens is when we go to these places we learn so much. I think it's almost a cliche of short-term trips. You say I went there to serve these people and be an impact, but they were an impact to me. It's almost a cliche. It's a common experience that we have and taking them into the idea of long-term work In the mission field, that is a necessity in in my head there's a lot of disconnects and differences between Western culture and Eastern culture, like Dawn just alluded to.

Kate:

There is this Efficiency driven productivity, strategic driven purpose that we bring from the West into these places, and there is certainly a time and place for that. My goodness, we would fall apart without a plan and at the same time, there is something to the model of Jesus that he did specifically that is so worth emulating. He came dependent. He came as a baby. He came in need of people and you mentioned to it throughout his ministry. He needed people.

Kate:

In Luke 10, when he sends out the 72, he says go into this home and accept the food they give you, spend the night there, stay there, be a. Be a person with these people. Don't be the savior. You don't know everything and that's okay. Be someone who comes in with dependence, because through that People get to see the, the humble posture of the servant king who did the same. If I come in with the answers, I'm no better than a Pharisee, but if I come in with this tiny posture, willing to learn and Engage and give my life to people, I think that's where the goodness of the kingdom of God comes through.

Kate:

There's there's something really striking about when Jesus was last with his disciples before the crucifixion. At the supper he has the bread and first scripture says that he blesses it and then it says he breaks it and then he gives it. And I don't know about y'all, but if you think back on your testimony, for me I feel like my testimony has been a series of being blessed, broken and given, and I think ministry, though we often sequestered off to this little side category of our lives, may be a hobby, maybe a vocation. When we put it aside, we've, we've, we've categorized it in a way that Jesus doesn't. He gave himself, and I think we are to be in the process of being blessed and broken. We are to be given to something. For some of us it's family, it's a nuclear family. For some of us it's a ministry, it's a people, and I'm really eager to give myself to this culture, to become a child in it, to grow up in it again at 27, starting over that.

Dustin Elliott:

Concept you just described. At your age, with your experience and already grasping that is so compelling. I'm on team, kate, just so you know. If nothing else, I'm figuring out how to get on your team, that's it, with prayer for sure, and obviously sharing your stories. But you, you talk about and we talked about this before with Jack and the people in Papua New Guinea the want to Kia tribe. They're an honor shame culture. Honor, shame culture is not something a lot of folks running around in America Maybe understand. It's very different, and so why don't you speak to your understanding of that, that culture, and the differences between kind of them and ours, and how that, how that works?

Kate:

What's interesting about this topic is we don't have to necessarily read books on the matter or even do a lot of study about it. The entire Bible was written in an honor shame culture by people who were from that same context. So I mentioned it before. But when Jesus goes about his ministry, the way that he interacts with people broke so many paradigm shifts of the way that they had seen the world and us. In the West we come from a different cultural premise. We would call it guilt innocence instead of honor shame, and you can Google that and read that. It's a lot of interesting stuff on it. But the example of I mentioned it before the story of the bleeding woman is the story where there's a woman, a Jewish woman, living in an honor shame culture. She is a woman, is of lower status and so she is of less honor, naturally more shame, and she had this health condition that was very shameful. When a woman is in that state, she can't be touched, she can't go to the temple to pray, she can wash and do the typical ritual cleansing, but it doesn't do anything on a spiritual level in terms of the culture and what they expected. So she's a woman who had been so rejected, so shamed, to know fault of her own. She is living in the shame. She is in a status of shame and it's pretty permanent, until Jesus. So he's walking through the crowd. It's a really busy time and if you read the story in context it's hilarious. He's just had this thing that he did and he's on his way to go heal somebody else and all of a sudden, as he's elbowing his way through a crowd, he feels himself the power. Leave him. And he says who touched me? And he looks around and the disciples one of them says everybody touched you in a really busy crowd. And he says no, somebody touched me. And he turns around and he sees this woman of shame and he goes up to her and she's repentant. She's terribly embarrassed, even more in shame than she was before, because she just touched a rabbi, a holy man, who now has to go in wash so that he himself is worthy of the temple again To their standards. That's what he had to do. And yet he goes up to her. Everybody around knows what happened. Everyone's expecting him to shame her even further. And that's when he bends down and he says daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace. He honors her, he calls her daughter in front of all of these people who are really happy for her to just be a woman of shame and for that to never change. So to see Jesus interact with people of this culture.

Kate:

I would never read the story that way unless I knew friends who came from a culture where shame and honor are such a big deal and it's complex. It's different in a lot of ways. There's less practically speaking to being cultures like this. There's less drive for efficiency or linear thought.

Kate:

If I invite a friend over to my house, even here in Austin, in my Muslim community that I live in here, if I invite somebody over to my house, they'll say yes, yes, sister, I would love to come, and I'll say, okay, great. And then hours go by, past the time they were supposed to be there, and I say, hey, where are you? And they say, oh sorry, sister, something came up. I can't come To me in my guilt innocence posture. I think, well, you could have just told me that I would have been fine, that would have been okay. But to her saying no, rejecting an invitation put shame on me. She loves me, she doesn't want to shame me, so she would rather have that lull happen, have that time occur where I'm waiting for her, than to shame my response directly or my invitation directly. So you never really know if somebody's gonna show up or not.

Dustin Elliott:

No, I mean not to shed a little light on this, but you don't know. Let your yes be yes and your no be no, and anything after that is from the evil one, right? So that's how we try to operate, right? But, when you're throwing a party, you're not sure if they're coming. Sure, yeah. So you may buy the food and get everything set up, and you may eat alone or have too much. Hey, efficiency's not the way of the kingdom either.

Clint Hudson:

Jesus left the 99 to get the one, just saying.

Dustin Elliott:

Very good, just saying Very good. Next thought the theology of risk, servanthood and Jesus' model.

Kate:

When it comes to the kingdom of God and what is coming, what is guaranteed to happen. Even from the Old Testament, it's been prophesied from Habakkuk that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. We see revelation. It's packed full of the fact that every tribe, people, nation, will be around the throne. Matthew 24.14 says that there will be a witness in every tribe and then the end will come.

Kate:

It is clear throughout Scripture that it's going to happen. The family of God will be gathered, the new heavens and the new earth will be established, regardless of my obedience or not. With that guarantee in mind, there is really no risk Similar to sacrifice. There's really nothing that I could give or risk that won't be abundantly worth it. And certainly there's this future hope. Right, of course, when heaven is here, all things will be set right. Every tear will be wiped away. In the words of Lewis, everything sad will become untrue. That's absolutely for sure. But also I see the hope that Jesus brings, despite our fear of risk and our fear of giving up things.

Kate:

I see that it play outside the tomb in John 11, when Lazarus is raised from the dead. Right before Lazarus steps out, he's having a conversation with one of the sisters and he says your brother will rise again. She says I know, I know he will, I know in the last day he'll be raised again. In other words, sure, when heaven happens, this future thing, I get it sure. Eventually and this is this famous line I am the resurrection and the life. There is something immediate life and life abundant here now available. So when I think of risk, I think okay, yeah, something dangerous, something to give up for a little tiny bit of time before the goodness of God sweeps in and makes me forget the risk or the sacrifice in the first place.

Dustin Elliott:

You aren't questioning your calling, you're not wondering if you've misheard right now or if you've been equipped differently or you're going to the wrong place. You know it, you're confident in it. It's like the Psalms. You've prayed it in assurance of the answered prayer and you're going on the wings of that assurance and you're going with all of us Don myself, clint and everybody else here holding the rope, praying for you, supporting you, encouraging you, here for you in every capacity that we can be, and I can't thank you enough.

Don Ellsworth:

I think I'm going to jump in just real quick. One of the effects that sin has in our life is it narrows our view. Like immediately when sin entered our life, there was this narrowing of our scope and our understanding of things. And I think that what Jesus brings to our lives as we choose to follow Him, is a broadening, a re-broadening of that view, and that's a view of the Kingdom of God, not just my Kingdom. It's of eternity, not just my lifetime.

Don Ellsworth:

You know, dustin, you're a financial planner. You are training people to look to the long haul, to look down the road. The future you I've heard you say many times, not just the now, you and I think that that's what Jesus calls us into is not just the earthly here and now you, but think about the you that has impact into eternity. And so I just I constantly use that picture of pulling the curtains back. The Spirit of God Scriptures, the presence of Jesus in my life pulls the curtain back on time and on God's purposes and how he wants to use us. And so I think that that is the beauty of what Kate is describing is my life, in contrast to the narrowness of a worldview that is living for the here and now. It's a small thing. It's a small thing that the Lord is asking me to do, because I see, by God's grace and by the enablement of the Spirit of God, I can see those things now.

Dustin Elliott:

Well, let's look to the future. Let me ask you a question. Let me ask all of you a question.

Dustin Elliott:

Listening right now, when you think of the multicultural worship service in the throne room in Revelation 5 and Revelation 7, do you see that vision as someone standing outside the throne room looking at that going? Man, that's cool, I'm so glad that worked out. Or are you in there looking around at the brothers and sisters both that were there before you came to Christ and helped you along the steps of your journey, and those that are downstream of your coming to faith that you've then had a role playing in getting them there? Because that's where all of us get to celebrate all the people you're going to meet on this journey, all the ones that we've met with, the other people we've had on the podcast and we've interviewed. And knows that, by the grace of God, as long as he has us here, we'll continue to go after and go get it. We know the end of the story, we know who wins, but picture yourself in that worship service. That's where we're headed.

Dustin Elliott:

What's next? What happens now? We're at this point. The commission's gone on, you're prepared, you're equipped. What's coming up?

Kate:

As mentioned before, I have some logistical things to do, things like power of attorney, things like riding a wheel and getting that signed off. These are things done obviously out of an abundance of caution, but mostly it's Time with family, it's praying together, a lot of fasting. I'm really aware that the attack of the enemy at times like this is really strong. I found myself being distracted, being dissuaded, being discouraged in ways that I never have before, even in this past week, and I know that it'll only continue over the next two weeks before I get on a plane. So I'm aware of those things and, at the same time, working in this really practical, operational space of mailing letters and writing thank you notes, but also praying and fasting for the sake of my soul and praying that the Lord would sustain me by his strength. There's a lot to do and a lot to think about.

Dustin Elliott:

Kate, would you like to pray for the people you're going to serve and everyone listening on the podcast?

Kate:

Yeah, I would love to.

Dustin Elliott:

And then maybe Don, when Kate's done, would you pray over Kate as we send her out? Absolutely.

Kate:

Yeah, yeah, jesus, you are the Lord of the harvest. Salvation belongs to you and God, we get to step into the darkness wherever the darkness is. We get to step into it with boldness and joy. And, oh, thinking of the angels who first came to announce your birth. They did so with light and joy and singing that this is good news, of great joy that will be for all people. God, we join you in saying that that is true for the Muslim world, that you have brought great news that is for all people.

Kate:

Jesus, through whatever means you call individuals, father, would we, as your kids, be a part of this welcoming committee, this force that launches out? You say that the light, your light, shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. God, with that assurance and power, would we step in boldness, into darkness wherever that is, jesus, with the efforts going towards the unreached, towards missions, towards the Muslim world? Father, would you multiply these efforts, whether it feels triumphant or it feels like bread and fish, that you will multiply and we trust you with However we step into this, jesus, we trust that you are the one that will orchestrate all things, that will bring things together, will bring this family together. God, would you do that today? Would this be the year of salvation that you mentioned in Luke four, the year of the Lord's favor? God, in whatever way you choose to, would these next 12 months in the Muslim world hold so much change, so much life, so much newness by the power of your spirit, jesus, would you do this?

Don Ellsworth:

Jesus, we come on behalf of our dear friend Kate, and we just ask that you would continue to enable her, that you would bless her, that you would provide the things that are necessary for the task at hand, for her to fulfill the things that you have placed in front of her, jesus. She has been asking to go for a while and it seems like now is the time that you have appointed for her to go. And so, god, in Jesus' name, we lift her up and we pray, blessing on her A blessing of courage to be able to keep her eyes focused on you at all times. You bless her with perseverance to get through those times that are hard, that are lonely, that are curious, that are just difficult maybe illness, opposition. God bless her with the perseverance to step through those times into the time that you have for her to be fulfilled in those places that you're taking her.

Don Ellsworth:

Lord, bless her with relationships, bless her with community, bless her with intimacy with you, and I pray that, just like the branch on the vine just abides, it rests in you. May she do that with you constantly, so that fruit would be born through her presence in you and your power. Through your power, it made those things happen. We love Kate, we love the mission, we love you, jesus, and are so grateful for the privilege of being able to partner with her in these things. We ask that you would accomplish these things in and through her, for your name's sake, jesus' name, we pray amen, amen, amen, amen.

Dustin Elliott:

Thank you for listening to Unreached. Our sincere desire is that what you've heard today will cause you to see the mission of God differently and you're rolling it more clearly. If this adds value for you and we hope it does would you please rate and review the podcast wherever you listen. Also, share with your family, your friends, your church, your life group, small group, d group, wherever you do life, and if you want to connect with us, find us on Instagram at Unreached Podcast, or email us at unreachedpodcastatgmailcom.

Reaching the Unreached
Jesus in the Middle East Encounters
Navigating Singleness, Sacrifice, and Calling
Calling and Role in Christianity
The Importance of Cultural Understanding
Looking Ahead
Prayer for Blessings and Partnership