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Bells That Ring without Hope of Being Heard

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mathew 28:19).

This summer while doing City Project, I have been able to see first-hand why we are called to go and make disciples of all nations and all people groups. I, among several other City Project students, had the opportunity to go to South Asia this summer and see the global need for the gospel.

Empty Bells

On one of our first nights there, we visited a Hindu temple. As we were leaving, having seen the many idols they worship, they began ringing bells inside of the temple. Confused, we all looked around and at each other. One of our team members explained they rang bells to get the attention of their gods. My heart broke. There was such a desperation for their gods to answer their prayers that they were ringing bells hoping to be heard.

The weight of their desperation allowed me to understand how lost the city truly was. As Christians we have assurance that God will hear our prayers. We don’t have to ring bells to get his attention because he lives inside of us. He sees us and hears us, and it’s not because of what we have done but because of his character. These are truths to us but foreign in other places.

Fulfilling Truth

Throughout the week we had opportunities to hold many spiritual conversations. The question, “Do you believe your gods answer your prayers,” was commonly asked. In every conversation where this question was asked, the answer was usually “no.” To our advantage this was the perfect opening to the gospel. We were able to share with them about the God who hears our prayers and knows our needs before we tell him. We were able to tell them that our God is with us and he loves us. By God’s grace, these conversations were frequent in a place where it is uncommon to be a Christian. Our team was able to see how clearly God is moving. He is still sovereign even in the darkest of places.

After the week was over, my heart was broken again. I felt selfish getting on an airplane and heading back into comfort, knowing the need for the gospel is not met there. For most of the South Asians we spoke with, this was the first time they had heard about the character of God. It was the first time someone had spoken the truth about God to them, and sadly, for most, it will be the last time. We were in one of the most lost places in the world where the laborers are few, but the harvest is so plentiful.

I know that God is still working there. Until the day every knee has bowed and every tongue has confessed, he is still there. I pray for the day that I am able to go back and be sent into his harvest once more.

“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).

-Abi Stanley (City Project Participant)