Elizabeth Schenkel
Mon April 10, 2017 · Comments

Resurrection Hope

During a time when everyone who could was moving into the capital city, Makhmud and Ruthina decided to move out of that city to a remote village. In doing so they left behind the comforts of modern life. Their electricity was off more than on. They had to carry all their water for drinking, cooking, washing and flushing up four flights of stairs to their little apartment. The apartment was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

Why would they make this kind of move… a move that cost them so much? Makhmud and Ruthina knew that no one in that village had ever heard the good news that had totally changed their lives. They knew once those people had a chance to hear, many of them would likely commit themselves to become followers of Jesus and would then be in need of follow-up. So they moved to that village to plant a church.

This decision was consistent with so much in their lives. In a place where a bold proclamation of the gospel brought unwanted attention from the police, they proclaimed the good news anyway. Makhmud had been arrested and interrogated countless times. He used his interrogations as opportunities to share his testimony with his interrogators. He gave them “JESUS” film copies. His fearlessness was remarkable. And Ruthina was equally bold.

We were privileged to serve on staff with Makhmud and Ruthina for many years. We were inspired by their lives and helped train many of the people who came to Christ as a result of their witness. And we were challenged by their example to live our lives in the light of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4. This verse is actually an explanation for Paul’s boldness and willingness to suffer. He speaks of his team being hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, carrying in their bodies the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed through them. But why go through all that? Read on:

“Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak (at great cost!), because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself!” (2 Corinthians 4, New International Version)

When we truly believe that our destination, our destiny, is resurrection with Christ in the last day we will live our lives and make our decisions in the light of that day! How many can we win? How far can we spread the good news? How can we contribute to the work and the will of God in this world? How will our lives look in the light of that day? What do we want to answer for when we see Him face to face? Those are questions that will often guide us to live our lives in a way that may be counter-cultural or striking to critics around us. 

May God grant us, this Easter, the insight we need to evaluate our lives and decisions in the light of His resurrection… and ours! May we, with Paul “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, New International Version).

May the hope of the Resurrection embolden you this Easter!

Elizabeth Schenkel has been actively involved in Christian ministry on three continents over the past 39 years. From 1974 to 1996, she worked alongside her husband, Erick Schenkel, to plant a thriving church and launch an innovative elementary and junior high school in Massachusetts. From 1996 to 2007 Elizabeth and Erick lived and worked in Central Asia.

In 2007, they moved to France and then to Turkey to serve in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Turkic and Persian world. In April of 2012 they moved to Orlando where Erick is serving as Executive Director of Jesus Film Project®. They have five children and two grandchildren. Elizabeth attended Duke University and is fluent in Russian, with a working knowledge of French. She works as a screen writer with Jesus Film Project.