On to more Internet campus "faces"...... Meet Gabriel (AKA Gabe) from Indonesia. Gabe was literally the first "international" I met on the IC. I was so excited to hear that someone from Indonesia was online with us!! Then, as the months passed on, Gabe became a steady volunteer and a welcoming "voice" in the lobby chat ( he also became a friend:) . I still remember when they had their baby and how excited everyone was in the lobby chat (knowing that we might not ever get to hold that baby in person). He is passionate about Christ and passionate about Lifechurch.tv.
Hey all! I'm Gabriel. Hiro's already done a great job of talking about our Lifegroup. I'd like to take a few moments and let your mind take a walk overseas.
A little background: I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I met my wife there. We started going to the campus there back in early 2005. Lifechurch blew our socks off and we kept going. My wife is from Indonesia, and though it took a while, through her prodding and prayer, I finally felt the call to come out here. The biggest drag was having to walk away from the church we had grown to love. THANK GOD for the Internet Campus. I remember the launch, and I remember the thing that hit me the most about the IC. Even in a digital environment, people were still raising their hands to accept Christ! As flashy as a website or online Experience might be, what is the point if no one meets our risen Savior?
Aside from being a part of something that is actively reaching people for God, the IC has been a great source of consistent Biblically-based community. Though I've not been able to attend the actual online Experience for a while, I have been able to meet with my Lifegroup buddies! I have never met one of them in person, but I consider them some of my closest friends – which are priceless for someone living overseas. Which leads me to this…
Why does it take someone living overseas to be considered a missionary? How exactly do you define a missionary? The fact is that we are all called to reach those around us. It was a seismic shift in my thinking when I realized that, but after I made the shift, it opened up the opportunity to come pour into the lives of those living here. True, Indonesia is 82% Muslim, but does that make me any more of a missionary than you?
I would ask you to take a step out of the four walls you are likely bordered by right now. Perhaps you are at work, school, home, or Starbucks. ^_^ Did you know that there are people just like yourself living a life like yours, only in a foreign country? Problem is, there is very little spiritual support for someone that doesn't speak the local language. The Internet Campus has been that support for me and others like me. I talk about it to everyone I know that speaks English. I even tell some who only know a little English! Why? Because I've seen changed lives. I've seen people reach breakthroughs spiritually online. I've seen prayers prayed over a Skype chat answered. I've seen people come to Christ. Fact is: God can even use a computer – and He can do it anywhere in the world.
Also, realize you don't have to live in a grass hut to reach people overseas. Right now, I teach at a Christian school during the day, and do ministry at night (with my family as well!). I have a vision to reach certain people groups that have been forgotten by the government and humanitarian groups. I have a vision to reach the youth of Indonesia for Christ. I have a vision to launch a LifeChurch.tv campus here. When you step out in faith, God will open up your mind to people you can reach. The key is to start small. Got a vision for youth? Volunteer as a youth leader! Don't have any vision? Start doing something! Many times, you can hear Him speak as you do His work. It happened to me, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
So, stop calling me a missionary. Start calling yourself one. Realize you can change the world, right where you are. Also, realize God can also call you to the far reaches of his creation. And in all things, trust in Him, and He will let you know where to go.