This Month's Letter

This Month's Letter

 

Dear Friend of Insight for Living:

I love these words from Henry David Thoreau: "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."

I'm absolutely convinced that life is not something to be endured, but lived—with enthusiasm! And when I think of enthusiasm, one name stands above all others: Charlie Costa.

Charlie serves as Insight for Living Ministries' Arabic pastor and translator in Beirut, Lebanon, and his animated attitude of faith is one I have rarely seen. Fifteen years ago, Charlie began translating my sermons into Arabic for broadcasting throughout the Middle East. He also sensed God was leading him to translate some of my books and distribute them to Arabic-speaking pastors to train them for ministry. In addition, he began to establish brand-new churches with and for those who had listened to the broadcasts in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and other countries throughout the Middle East.

That was more than a decade ago, and Charlie's enthusiasm has yet to diminish. In fact, it's more vibrant than ever because of all that is currently happening in the Middle East! He recently told us that the Syrian churches he started are packed so he is starting some new ones. The hunger is great!

Recently, Charlie and his wife, Mona, have witnessed the influx of over one million Syrian refugees into Lebanon. These refugees have spread out into Lebanon's residential communities, renting homes or rooms and clustering together in neighborhoods. All of this change has drastically affected Lebanon's economy. But for Charlie and Mona, all of this activity has had a different impact, because they've realized that God is bringing to them the people to whom they could not otherwise go. With enthusiasm, they have been fasting and praying for God to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these refugees who have endured so much loss. And God has been answering . . .

One of the biggest answers came through Charlie and Mona's physician daughter, who provided free medical checkups to over one thousand refugee families. This act of grace opened the door for the refugees to hear of God's grace through Jesus Christ. People began to turn to Christ and began to hunger for God's Word.

Mona and four other women began visiting with the new believers and their families living in one of these new Syrian neighborhood communities. One day, they were confronted by militia men from Hezbollah. The ladies had a camera. Hezbollah asked, "Why are you here, and why did you come with a camera?" Mona answered, "We came to show love to the ladies and reach out to them." Hezbollah took the film out of their camera and told them to leave and not come back. So, Mona and the four ladies simply moved on to other neighborhoods. Before long, Charlie and Mona started an English-language class, youth activities, special meetings for women, and a Sunday evening service that now averages 120 in attendance.

Talk about living with enthusiasm! Charlie's ministry approach finds its roots in Jesus's command to all Christians:

"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:19–20

When I asked Charlie how we could pray for him, his response was immediate: "Tenacity! Because sometimes we can get discouraged." He added with a grin, "You cannot live for God in the Middle East without faith." The man's enthusiasm is downright contagious!

If I could compare Charlie to someone in the Bible, it would be Abraham—a true model of faith. This old man—who is considered the father of three major religions worldwide—lived on the raw edge of trusting God every day . . . starting when God called him at age 75. I have spent the last three years studying Abraham's inspiring life. That study has resulted in a CD Classic Series for our broadcasts and my brand-new book, Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith.

The longevity of great women and men of faith is no accident. They face hardship with enthusiasm. They refuse to allow any obstacle to rob them of their positive attitudes. It was true of Abraham . . . it is true of Charlie . . . and it can be true of you.

So, I have a question for you: Are you ready to live enthusiastically by getting involved in the exciting things God is doing around the world?

Charlie's impact in the Middle East relies heavily on the materials he receives from us. They enable him to minister with great effectiveness to pastors and laypeople. These resources are made available to Charlie through the gifts of friends who believe in the work of Insight for Living Ministries worldwide.

So, if your answer to my question is a resounding, "Yes, I am truly excited about what God is doing around the world!" I urge you to act on your excitement by sending a generous gift to Insight for Living Ministries. Please don't hesitate . . . send it today! To thank you, I will send you a copy of Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith. Simply request your copy when you send your gift this month. When you join us in this mission, you will stand in the ranks of those whose enthusiasm for Jesus Christ covers the whole globe!

Living enthusiastically with you,

Charles R. Swindoll