Sunday, February 10, 2013

My half century of ignorance....

It is not often that I recommend a book that has opened my eyes and revolutionized my thinking on an important topic, but this is one of those times.  It comes just after I reached a life landmark in late January that my loving wife told me is "the new forty" (Yes, I am the big FIVE-OH).  In December, at our WGM Christmas Gathering in Marion, IN,  one of our fellow WGM missionaries, working in the Middle East, shared his ministry with us.  He recommended a book to those of us on HMA (Homeland Ministry Assignment) entitled "Muslims, Christians, and Jesus" by Carl Medearis (see picture below).   I got the hard copy and downloaded the e-version on my Kindle.  This book is the most succinct and informative book I have ever read on Islam and Muslims.  As an American missionary from the midwest who has had little contact with Muslims, even while serving in Africa, the information Carl shares in this book was a tremendous challenge to me.  It is a powerful assist to any follower of Christ who desires friendship and fellowship with Muslims in his/her life.  Reading this book has made me realize the huge "black hole" that exists in my knowledge base and experience in relation to what Muslims believe and who they are as a people/culture.  I was amazed to read that the Qur'an, the Muslim Holy Book, is full of references to "Jesus the Christ" and that Muslims are encouraged  by the Qur'an to read the Gospel of Jesus.   Many Muslims are willing to read from the gospels including the book of Luke to study the life and teachings of Jesus.   It is the religion of Christianity, especially its western contextualization, that often turns Muslims off from the Church and Christ.  Mr. Medearis shared many stories of faith in which Arabs and Shia and Sunni Muslims alike were attracted to Jesus the Messiah and his Book.   Jesus is considered one of the great prophets of Islam and therefore revered.  As I finished reading the book, I had a wonderful opportunity to put into practice what I had learned from "Christians, Muslims, and Jesus". Less than a week after starting back on the surgery service at Tenwek, I had the opportunity to meet and care for a Somali patient requiring surgery whom I will call "Sunni" (not her real name).  She and her husband had come to Tenwek from Nairobi because (as her husband told one of our residents) "doctors of faith will do the best job in caring for the sick".  After doing her operation, just before her discharge, I had the opportunity to tell "Sunni" why I was serving at Tenwek,  as an ambassador and follower of "Jesus the Christ".  The following conversation ensued....
"Dr. Chupp, you know that I am a Muslim, right?"
"Yes, I do, and I know that your Scriptures have a lot to say about Jesus the Messiah, whom I follow."
"You mean you have read the Qur'an?"
"I am familiar with many of the passages that refer to Jesus, yes."
"Well, we don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God and we don't believe in the Trinity like you do."
"Yes, I am aware of that.   Would you mind if I gave you a copy of the Bible with Jesus words highlighted in red?"  (This was the first time I had ever offered a Muslim a copy of the Bible.)
She looked at her husband, a very well educated and well spoken man, and then accepted the offer.  "Yes, Dr. Chupp, I would like a copy of your Scriptures. Thank you."
We set up a follow-up time in our surgical clinic after a couple of weeks and said goodbye.  I hope to see her soon in our outpatient clinic.   My daughter Ashley, ever the tenacious prayer warrior, has been praying for "Sunni" and her husband nearly every day since I shared the story with her and Pam. 

A very short and simple interchange between doctor and patient but one in which both parties respected and listened to the other.   I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book which shares concepts that some may find very uncomfortable at the least and just not "Christian" enough in principle.   I challenge you to get a copy and ask God's Spirit to open your heart and mind to Carl's message of reaching a huge population in our world that God loves and Jesus died for. 


Children's Bible Quizzing at Tenwek:   Acts for Kids!

Over 200 children and coaches have joined us this year at Tenwek and a second site called Mosop Mission School about 30 minutes from Tenwek.  Last weekend we had our first competitive quizzes and even many of the new schools, Sunday school teams, and quizzers showed they had really invested in studying and memorizing God's Word.   This year the kids will receive gold medals if they quote 50 verses from Acts chapters 13 to 28.   I have posted pictures from the two quiz meets on the Google web site with the following link: 
A really neat testimony from the Mosop headmaster is that some of the quizzers from the newly added schools nearby are coming from non-Christian families.  Some of the most active quizzers come from families that are unchurched and unreached in the community.  Please pray that God's Word "will not return to Him void" from its work in the lives of these children, grades 5 to 8. 

Family Update

Our son Steven has called Pam's parents a couple of times from San Antonio, TX and reports that he is really enjoying this two month basic training in the US Air Force.  Pam's parents are planning on attending his graduation ceremony the weekend of March 1st and we hope to be able to have real time conversations by phone after this two month period of silence between us.  Melody and Kayla are on midterm break this weekend but Melody stayed at Rift Valley Academy with her classmates to prepare for next weekends Jr./Sr. banquet, one of the highlights of the school year.  Kayla has really enjoyed getting to see Tenwek, other MK's and our home for the first time in nearly 8 months.  Ashley has enjoyed the weekend visit of her sister and continues to study the book of Acts with the other four members of her team in the younger quizzing division. 
Prayer items:
1) Praise God for abundant rain, even in the dry season.  This means that electric power is available in abundance from Tenwek's hydroelectric turbine saving the hospital many millions of shillings and supporting our desire to care for the poor and needy of this region.
2) Praise the Lord for a growing Children's Bible quizzing program with many committed coaches at two sites.
3) Please join us in prayer for Kenya national presidential elections in three weeks.   Our local Kenyan leaders feel that peace will prevail this time around but many international watchdog organizations are less optimistic.  The church in Kenya is praying....will you join us, praying for God's peace to come over this land?
4) Pray for the results of an inspection Feb 11th (tomorrow!) by the Medical Practitioners Board in Kenya to consider accreditation of our five year general surgery training program.  Up to this point the Board has not officially recognized our graduates so this could be the much awaited review that would allow the Board to give its "stamp of approval" to our program.  We do not know what to expect and a few other programs in the same college in Kenya have been rejected.  We would appreciate you taking time right now to ask God to come to our aid on Monday. 
Hope to send out another update before the national elections in March.  Until then.....let me close with a verse from I Corinthians 9:22 in which Paul explains how he reached out to build bridges with those from different religious backgrounds to win as many as possible:
"I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."
If Paul could become "like a Jew" to save some (and the Jews killed our Lord),  it behooves followers of Christ to consider building bridges to Muslim neighbors, professional colleagues and others so as to save some!  Again check out the book pictured above which does a great job explaining such a ministry.
Your ambassadors for Jesus in Kenya,
Mike and Pam Chupp


  1. I'm so glad for your encounter with 'Sunni,' and the well-timed book that prepared you just for this conversation. I'm praying that she and her husband will read the Bible with the intent to find truth, and that God's word will cut right to their hearts. Let us know what transpires at the follow up appointment!

  2. Hello Dr I have sent u an application form by your email address, but i haven't seen
    answer so far. so please will you let me know.Thank you. GOD BLESS YOU.