Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.12.10 AM

While many are busily preparing for Christmas (and other holidays) by attending gatherings, musicals, events, and eating yummy food (that will inspire New Year’s resolutions in the days to come), others are facing the reality of a season that is less than jolly.  I know that many will read that first line and stop reading because they believe that they have a magical “Get out of jail free” card that inoculates them from the holiday blues, but this reality is something that we all should be mindful of no matter how jolly we feel at the moment.

In the course of my journey, I have crossed paths with many in this realm of life experience:

Missionaries who have made great sacrifices to serve among people who could care less that it is Jesus’ birthday.  Great people who are flesh and blood human beings and miss grandma’s sweet potato casserole and brown sugar, honey ham.

Servicemen and women who believe in the freedoms that they defend even though they awake to a mouthful of sand or a bunk on a ship that is about as big as a sardine can instead of the warm embraces of loved ones (even newborn children).

The elderly who find themselves in assisted living facilities without the love and care of family who they loved for years before and many Christmas’ past.

Single adults, internationals, and others who for one reason or another find themselves apart from family and friends during a season when everyone should have someone.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.13.45 AM

And the list goes on.  You surely can think of other scenarios and my intention is not to be Debbie Downer during such a time of merriment, but we do need to face facts.  Does that mean that the suicide rate is highest in December?  Actually no, those statistics have been proven false.  (For more, click here.) Regardless of the suicide rate, people get the blues and we need to be sensitive to those who need the love of Christ during this season.

So if we are going to resolve to live outside of ourselves and help others this Christmas, what does this look like?

1.  Reach out to those who are less fortunate in your community through local charitable organizations.  There are many who publish their needs on a regular basis with opportunities to give and support their work.

2.  Visit those in assisted living.  They rarely turn down an individual, family, or church group who wishes to serve them, sing, or do a craft.

3.  Reach out to family and friends who find themselves alone during this season.  Invite them over for dinner or for a family outing.

4.  Connect with your local college and ask if there are internationals who would like to spend the holidays with a family.  Many of them are far from home and anxious for compassion.

5.  Pray.  Ask God how He would have you to serve this Christmas and then be obedient.  It may entail any number of opportunities, but the fruit of such giving will return for years as that person expresses their gratitude, your children adopt the value of giving, and, most important of all, Jesus is glorified through the giving of his people.

We rarely realize the power of giving, but there is no time like the present to practice the presence of Christ by focusing less on that which we are receiving and more on that which we can give others.  Even to the extent of giving to those who we may not even know during times of great need.  Paul spoke about Jesus when it came to the matter of giving when he said:

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

May God grant you the grace needed during this season to follow his example and give according to the grace that he has given you.  Celebrate the gift of His only Son by giving to others in ways that glorifies your Father in Heaven and then you will know the joy of Christmas.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 10.11.45 AM

 

 

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Digital Discipleship…Friend or Foe?

I have been having conversations lately with some great people about the role of social media and websites in our lives and churches today.  One influence in these conversations has been Cary Nieuwhof who blogged about “Why Most Churches Greet You Like It’s 1999.”  There are many opinions and perspectives when it comes to the internet:

The Primitive Religious view:

“Everything online is of the devil and those who choose to participate in social media, websites, etc. are playing with fire.”

The Reactionary view:

“I will never have a smart phone because there are too many temptations.  So I will just stick with a flip phone because that is what Jesus would do.”

The Socially Ignorant view:

“Smart phones and the internet are just a fad, so we don’t need to address ways to reach and connect with people using such modes.”

Whether you have seen or heard these views or not, they are out there.  They are not only out there, but they are alive and well in churches today.  Living like it’s 1999 is not only an issue in our church greetings, but in the very DNA of who we are.  Nieuwhof is very generous to use the year 1999, because I would have said that it was closer to 1969!  Whatever year it feels like in our churches…it is definitely not 2014 (which will soon be 2015!).

Now some of my friends will say that I have drank the cool-aid of social relevance and that I’ve become one of “those guys,” but hear me out.  When we send a missionary into another culture, they are challenged to study that people group and find ways that effectively communicate the good news of our faith within the milieu of that culture.  So once again we are facing the double standard of sending people off to be missional overseas, but don’t ask us to do the same right here in the good 0le’ U.S. of A.!

It’s time to wake up and smell the Starbucks.  While I may not be an advocate of paying $5 for a cup of coffee, if it will connect with someone who desperately needs Jesus…it is worth it! (not to mention that the coffee is pretty good)  So how does that apply to smartphones and the internet?

Increasingly in our society we are becoming a plugged-in people.  While that has many negative connotations for anyone who has tried to speak with a teenager recently only to have to ask them to remove their headphones, it can also be positive.  I have increasingly found that there is a trend in society that is essentially digital discipleship.  I’m sure that some guru (who is smarter than I) coined that term years ago, but I haven’t seen it.  This implies that among all of the mindless things on social media such as what Billy Bob had for dinner and Farmville, there can also be substance.

While making appointments to meet with people and pour into their lives is becoming increasingly more complicated, there is hope.  It is amazing how many times I have heard someone say that they finished their activities for the day and found a link that I posted on Facebook that touched them.  Others have seen our church’s posts with simple thoughts and scripture on a regular basis and been encouraged by them (even sharing them with others who are not from our church).

Most people think that this is limited to Facebook, but it is much broader than that.  We are seeing a digital migration of such to other forms of interaction such as Twitter, Instagram, and countless others.  I have heard people say that they couldn’t possibly have time for all of that, but it is simply an issue of time management.  Having a device such as a smartphone or tablet that connects us to others on a regular basis does not mean that it is a ball and chain, but, rather, we have another way to do life together that enhances relationships.

I recently came across a video of a good friend of mine from high school today on Facebook.  While it has been many years since he and I have had much in the way of conversation, I learned that his family has been battling a very difficult disease.  If his brother had not shared the link, I would have never known.  That connection with him enabled me to pray for his family as well as minister in a different way to those dealing with cancer in the lives of their children.

There are so many examples of what this looks like, but I will try to wrap this up for now.  Before I go, let me leave you with some helpful thoughts to guide your online presence:

1.  Keep it positive and God-honoring.  While it is tempting to air your cares to the world, it is not always edifying.  Sift every post with prayer and strive to keep a positive outlook even when times are tough.

2.  Encourage others.  Seek ways to share your faith by praying for people who are hurting or connecting in deeper ways than face to face conversations have allowed.

3.  Don’t substitute digital interaction for personal time.  While this is a great tool, we are seeing that some have taken it to the extreme and lost their ability to carry on basic conversations with people.  Moderation is a good goal to have even in the realm of social media.

4.  Take breaks.  If you feel like the instant access to others and the need to post is controlling you…STOP IT!  Not that you need to quit forever, but take a break.

That is enough for now, but I suspect that this will lead to other posts and conversations as we continue to work out what this looks like for churches today.  As we continue to enjoy the Christmas season, I will post a video link below that I am enjoying.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t become a PETA church

Chewy2

The national news is buzzing with the latest PETA scandal.  Only this time it doesn’t have anything to do with scantily clad starlets dressing down for a “good cause” or radical actions to save turkeys from Thanksgiving dinner.  This story is about the stealing of a poor Hispanic family’s pet Chihuahua.  (For the rest of the story, click here).  This story definitely pulls at the heart strings as I cannot imagine how devastated our family would be if someone stole our dog like PETA did.

The thing that makes this story even more newsworthy is who stole the dog.  It wasn’t a puppy ring seeking to profit from the sale of the dog or a neighbor who wanted him for his own after watching a marathon of Beverly Hills Chihuahua.  It was PETA!  Aren’t they supposed to champion the rights and love of animals?  What in the world were they thinking?  And if that wasn’t enough, they claim to have euthanized (KILLED) the family pet.  Charges were pressed, but later dropped by the DA due to insufficient evidence.  Since when is a video insufficient?

So, while we are outraged by the actions of this agency and grieve with this dear family who has been interviewed on tv, I have one message for fellow believers around the world:  Don’t be a Peta church!  How many times to do people look to us as THE CHURCH (not the brick and mortar kind) to be salt an light in a dark world, but we just end up stealing their dogs?  You’re thinking, “What? I haven’t stolen any dogs!”  When we fail to love people and share the truth with them, we steal their dogs.  We fail to be the people that we claim to be.

I think that I get your point, but give me some examples of how churches are stealing dogs today:

1.  One of the hottest topics today is homosexuality.  Like it or not, it is on our doorstep.  Am I saying that we should compromise and perform weddings?  No, but we should approach them as Jesus would filled with grace for people in sin and seeking healing for their souls.  For a good look at this topic, read this.

2.  Another epidemic that has become so commonplace, is that of addiction.  We have people in our churches and communities who are plagued by addictions.  Without going through the laundry list, you know this to be true.  How are we embracing them?  Or are we stealing their dogs?

3.  Tis’ the season…to do good things.  Christians often choose Thanksgiving and Christmas to give back to others, but what about the other 363 days of the year?  That homeless person that you served a meal to is homeless every day.  If you want to stop stealing their dog, serve them on a regular basis by giving, donating clothing to their local shelter, encouraging your church to volunteer there with you on a regular basis.

That is probably enough to “prime the pump” as you seek to consider how Christian people are stealing their neighbors’ dogs.  For a great read about this subject, I encourage you to read Unchristian by Kinnaman and Lyons.

A great way to keep the mind of Christ, is integrate worship into your lifestyle rather than relegating it to a Sunday morning activity.  Check this out and have a great day!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Big is Your God?

IMG_0360

While our future still remains uncertain in the world’s eyes and our house is still on the market, I am once again amazed by the fresh wind and fresh fire (Jim Cymbala reference intended, if you haven’t read his book by that title…check it out!) that God is giving our family.  Many opportunities, near and far (that is not a reference to Grover on Sesame Street), are opening and we anticipate big decisions in the days ahead, God’s peace abides and continues to assure us that “He’s got this!”

Isn’t that tough to acknowledge when God has the toughest things in life in the palm of His hand and that He is able to care for that smallest need?  We spoke with a potential lender recently about our need to sell our house as we anticipate a change of venue and they looked at the past year of our lives and were utterly amazed that we never missed a payment, are not filing bankruptcy, or breaking out the sackcloth and ashes!  There are so many stories of challenges that we have faced, but we have chosen not to go “Facebook public” and rather go “Prayer private” allowing God to be glorified in ways like this.

I can’t even fully explain how God has done all that He has in our lives this year with so many obstacles and hurdles, but I can say that He is Big enough to handle every detail.  I have been challenged lately by a study that Lori (my wife) has shared with me that asks the question “If God is real…then what?”  (For more info: http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/06/19/its-time-a-new-movement-for-our-generation)

IMG_0358

If God is real, then Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath really happened and still happens today:

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.  1 Kings 17:13-16

I find myself wrestling on a daily basis with opportunities to give and help others and then I remember this passage and realize that God is able.  He did it before and he will do it again.  It makes no sense whatsoever and cannot be explained to most people on the street, but faith works.

Does this mean that we don’t work and just sit back on our blessed assurance waiting for God’s provision?  Absolutely not.  We have picked up jobs along the way and trusted God’s direction each and every step of the way.  We have accepted jobs that most people with higher education would not even consider, but we know that it has all been part of God’s greater plan.  Am I ready to work full time and have a little more stability in the support of our four children? YES!  (you can read that out loud and throw your hands in the air if that helps emphasize how I felt when writing this)  But God has shown us what it means to trust Him daily and know that “He’s got this.”

So where are you?  What truth is God teaching you that requires faith?  Maybe you need a complete overhaul because life has  left you dry and without hope.  God can do it.  He is able to take the worst lemons that life hands you and make lemonade that is better than even the nectar found at Chickfila mixed with tea and a spicy chicken sandwich!  Take that plunge today and see how God might work in your situation when you come to Him in faith.  It may not be what you expected, but it might just lead to a miracle.IMG_0355

Some days I am super serious and others, I can be pretty silly.  Here is a silly clip just for the fun of it!

Tim Hawkins Comedy Clip

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Name Change, Life Change

It has been many months since I have blogged.  Most of you know that we have embarked on a new journey as ministry at my former church ended last September.  While many would speculate and much has transpired even since my departure, we have every confidence that God was not taken by surprise or said “Oops!” after it all happened.  Has it been hard? Yes.  Has it been discouraging?  Extremely at times.  Is our faith still in tact?  Yes.

Through the months since my departure, I have longed to write/blog, but I needed to take some time to heal and help my family navigate these waters.  Thankfully, we are at a point where we can say that life is definitely not worry free, but we are healing and moving on.  Many still have questions for us about our departure, but we have resolved to allow the Holy Spirit to fight any battles that we may have and allow any vengeance to be taken by our Father who knows and sees all and judges the hearts of men.

So here I am.  I chose the theme “Ragamuffin Missionary” as we do not know what God will do next, but we are finding contentment and peace despite a lack of the comforts that most take for granted. We are actively seeking where and when God has for us next in ministry.  This means that our house is going up for sale soon, many of our possessions are going to be sold or donated and we are going to free ourselves of as much as possible in order to be ready for whatever God has for us.  This scares a lot of people these days as our comfort and security is often found as Americans in all of the wrong places.  We have complete peace and even look forward to simplifying things in the days ahead.

For those who wish to join us in this journey, we will be having some work days and will involve our friends in this process as much as possible.  I will post on this blog and on social media as steps are taken.  We have every confidence that God is preparing the next chapter for our family, but he has not shown us what that is yet.

Many have asked us about returning to the missions field and we have explored options with our former agency (the IMB), but that door has closed for now as they do not typically send families with older children.  Other agencies have spoken with us, but we have not made any decisions until we fully grasp the realities of fundraising, family needs, and ministry expenses.

So there you go.  God is at work in great ways.  Many of which we do not understand, but we continue to walk by faith on this journey and trust God’s provision along the way.  We ask your prayers for our children along the way as we often do not have the answers to their questions.  We are thankful for our Lifepoint family who has given us an opportunity to serve with this great church plant. 

We will keep you posted as our path is revealed.  Your prayers and support are appreciated along the journey.  Our adoption process is still finalizing, so we covet your prayers for that need especially.  In all things may God be glorified in and through us!

Now that you have “the scoop,” let me share a few things that I have read lately that I believe are worth sharing:

“If I find myself in a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”  C.S. Lewis

“You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”  Augustine

“The word mediocre means ‘halfway to the peak,’ yet God’s Word says that He desires for each of us to go all the way through in realizing the full attainment of God’s promises (see Hebrews 6:11)…Don’t settle for average or mediocre. We serve a great and amazing God, and He wants us to be transformed into his image.”  Meyer, Change your words, change your life

“Ministries and programs, in almost every case, are dependent on literacy.  Most believers in the post-Pentecost world, of course, live in literate settings.  At the same time, it is crucial to keep in mind that more than 83 percent of the world’s unreached people cannot functionally read or write.” Ripken, The Insanity of Obedience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Loving Muslims on September 11th?

Image

Have you ever felt compelled to write something even when it is not popular?  Here I am, once again stirring the pot on today of all days.  Do we really need to talk about loving Muslims on September 11th?  Yes, I believe that we do.  On today of all days as we consider the challenge that Christ gave us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27 and others).  In the midst of confusion and upheaval in the Middle East over what needs to be done with Syria.  Yes, we grieve the loss that we suffered.  Much more than brick and mortar, we lost loved ones who are dearly missed by children and spouses, fathers and mothers.

Yet in all of the pain, God’s great love and forgiveness must reign.  Beyond all human comprehension, the love of Jesus poured out toward those who beat and spat upon him.  He prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”  How we need to pray that for the Muslim people of the world who are only doing what they have seen and heard all of their lives.  Void of hope, peace, and love, all that remains is hatred and war.  This great disease of sin that has misled millions continues today among the unreached people groups of the world. 

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  Romans 10:14, NLT

Yes, days like today remind me of the unavoidable truth that they will not HEAR the TRUTH of God’s good news unless we, the church, the bride, the salt, the light, the hope of the world go to them and share the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  Do we really believe this Jesus that we profess?  Are we too busy throwing stones at the terrorists of the world because even now, even today the threat of their presence shuts down our tunnels, slows our airport security, and inconveniences us.  Have we allowed inconvenience to be the stumbling block of our souls as we hear the challenges of Jesus to love the unlovable? 

Today of all days, we need to love Muslim people.  Is it easy?  No.  Does it mean that we may be inconvenienced?  Probably.  It is the very thing that Jesus would do and he is our Master, our Lord, our Savior.  We must follow him.  People often ask me, “How do you go into some of the countries that you have been to?”  And I can only say, “That is where Jesus would go.”  He looked sin and death in the face, manned up, and loved sinful man.

Are you ready to love Muslim people?  Check out this resource:  http://www.lovingmuslims.com/

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Missions Update

 

After posting a video like the one above, I am tempted to drop the microphone and walk off the stage (aka stop writing because enough has been said).

For the sake of telling the story, I will once again resist.  As masterful as the above video is at telling many of the stories, there is much that remains to be seen.

Such as the story behind the works at Ghent and one of the laundromats.  While you saw many people gathered at each location, there were various people with whom we have been working through ministries such as the Gosnold apartment ministry and the Bobbitt apartment ministry receiving assistance once again from our members.  This seems like a coincidence, but it is much bigger than that.  It is an indication that the body of Christ is reaching out in such great ways that a person in need may receive not only one contact from our church, but multiple because we are being and doing that which God has called us to.  Such a web of influence is not only proclaiming what a great church we have, but even more so what a great God we serve!  It is spreading his fame in exciting ways throughout Hampton Roads!

There are many other stories such as the letter from Jill Gray (see below) regarding the impact of one of our lifegroups in cooperation with this local, Christian shelter.  These are the kind of stories that we long for.  To see God’s hand actively moving through our congregation to reach those in need (aka “the least of these”) where we live.  The goal and vision of Big Serve is that we would feel the impact of this great opportunity as the aftershock is felt throughout the next year.  Teams such as our St. Mary’s group that is preparing to serve on Sunday, September 15th carry this vision on.  Individuals who are reaching out to their neighbors in creative service opportunities on a regular basis who refuse to allow us to tell their story publicly.  Ethnic works that continue to reach out to Hispanic, Vietnamese, Turkish, African, Chinese, and other people groups in Hampton Roads.  All of these efforts may be woven together to present an amazing story of God’s people living the mission in tangible ways.

There are so many other stories, but I will keep this brief so that I won’t lose those with less time to dwell on blogs.  In your remaining time here, take a few moments to read the updates below.  It is truly exciting to see how God is moving!

Letter from Jill Gray/Union Mission:

My relationship with the ladies from Women of Praise Sunday School class began in August 2008 when they decided to bless the women living in the Union Mission Women and Family Shelter for the Big Serve.   On Aug 30th, the class came for the first time to serve dinner, share the gospel, and provide needed items for the shelter.  Six years have passed and Women of Praise continues to faithfully reach out to those who come through our doors.

 

Their purpose has remained the same, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and minister to those who are hurting.  This has been displayed through their acts of service:  serving a meal, singing, sharing a devotion, giving away prizes, taking prayer requests from the women, and bringing supplies.  What a blessing to know that someone is actively praying for each of the ladies.

 

The creativity of Women of Praise has been evident as they carefully plan each visit to the shelter.  Each Bible study is unique.  The women have enjoyed visits from missionaries sharing how God is moving in other countries, a monologue on the story of Ruth, a re-enactment of the Easter Story, a special story teller, and other devotions that touched the heart of the women in the shelter with the wonderful love of God.

 

Their genuineness and concern for the women in the shelter is always evident as Women of Praise serves.  Often the women of the shelter stay and share their lives and burdens with those who have come.

 

Women of Praise has also used their resources to provide for the physical needs of the shelter by providing much needed supplies.  Periodically I receive a call to see what our most needed items are and then someone brings them by.  Every Christmas, each woman receives a pair of Christmas socks and the story of the Candy Cane.

 

As I reflect on all the ladies from Women of Praise have done, I am reminded of the verse from Matthew  25:40

 

And the King will answer and say, “Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me.”

 

Thank you Women of Praise for being the hands and feet of Jesus to the least, the last, and the lost at the Union Mission.  May God bless you!

 

Jill Gray

Administrator, Women and Family Shelter

Union Mission

 

Update from Montreal, Canada:

Hey Norfolk!

Summer is pretty much over here and it’s about time I write with some news of what’s been going on in the past fews months at church. I just want to start by saying thank you for all you have done already and are doing, it is such a blessing to us. Without your spiritual, moral and financial support we would not be able to go on into our calling…we thank God for using you!

This summer was pretty busy during our Sunday services with an average of 400 in attendance which is pretty good considering that people tend to leave during the summer weekends here in the city. We had a bit over a dozen new lives that were given to God throughout these months, with follow ups still being done with our volunteer pastoral team.

We had our church dedication last weekend to mark our official setup as things are slowly coming together in terms of logistics and ministry setup. With an attendance of over 600 people and still new souls accepting Christ into their lives. We have ”become a volunteer” forms that were filled out and contact cards showing us more people deciding to attend La Chapelle regularly and taking the decision to take part with us in the church body. The church is growing!

Our home groups are starting up at the end of the month with an overflow of people wanting to take part which is overwhelming but awesome news! For now we will have around 20 groups with 10-15 people per group. Our group leaders were chosen rigorously through prayer and confirmation from God. As we are focusing on using these groups for creating a momentum in the growth, community and spiritual feeding of our church please pray for the leaders and subscribers to these groups.

This coming week we have a two day retreat for our core staff group as well as an evening in those two days for the church leaders in general. We will be praying and fasting in preparation for the months ahead so please pray for us.

For the coming months we have certain needs that we need to fill especially for our communion services with trays as we would need 16, we have shopped around and for price and convenience wise we have found one that would suit perfectly for our situation with endurance, packing suitability, etc… (here is the link http://www.swirla.com/ )

Another need that we have as a fold in and fold out church is a pulpit. Right now we are using a standard musicians tray but for the long run we are praying for something more suitable that would be more esthetic and follow us in our needs. Here is what we found that would be closest to our fit http://www.procson.com/ .

We have many other needs but these are the main ones right now so keep us in prayer. They are miner details that accumulate for a greater impact in the long run. As I said earlier we really hold to count all that you have been doing for us up to now and are not taking it for granted.

Give us some news from the south!
All for God’s kingdom,

David Mirck
La Chapelle Church Mtl

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts from Peru

Paste a Video URL

The video that I have posted is of some very precious children in Peru who were singing as part of a game to “get into” the church. We would have let them in anyways, but it was a cute game that we decided to play with them one day.

They are just one example of the beauty of God’s creation that we saw while doing medical clinics, children’s ministry, men’s/women’s ministry, and many other things in Lima, Peru.

During our time of service there were many great reminders of the beauty of the body of Christ as we served among this people. We spent days working with people to help their physical needs and in turn they opened up about their spiritual needs. Members of the church circulated and spoke with people about their faith. First Baptist Villa el Salvador had a reputation for loving people in these barrios and our presence there was just a continuation of the great fame of our Lord in these neighborhoods.

Many of our team members did not speak Spanish, but they worked hard to communicate the basics of the faith and collaborate with the Peruvian partners who served faithfully alongside of us.

What will I remember?
On the first day of our clinics, an older gentleman received his glasses and began dancing because he had received his sight once again!

One of our volunteers, struggling with Spanish, asked my daughter how to say ball in Spanish and my daughter responded, “I don’t know” quickly. So the dear team member commenced to call the ball a “Idunno.”

Another of our members was very adept at interpreting and she reached a point in interpreting from Spanish to English that she forgot who “Pablo” was.

One of our members who had suffered much in life was able to connect with a woman through our women’s ministry in such a way that healing took place and she was able to overcome temptations toward suicide.

Our youngest member came equipped to help with balloon animals and any other children’s ministry needed. During her time in the clinics, she learned to do blood pressures and helped many people.

There were so many others who stepped up and worked through their fears to demonstrate great faith in sharing God’s love with the people of Peru. In a day when so many are questioning the value of volunteer missions, I suspect that they have never seen God’s glory shine through people as brightly as our members shined this week. With so many great examples, I would be remiss not to mention our team leader who served so selflessly. She embraced the objectives of our journey, planned with national leadership, cooperated with the local missionary, and even handled a few minor interpersonal issues that arose. Once again, I am amazed by how God worked through all of us to reflect his glory as much as possible.

Pray with us as we look towards next year. This is a great entry level missions opportunity for many who cannot handle longer journeys with more physical demands. In addition to this opportunity, we are exploring with our missionaries the opportunity to do some hiking, camping, and traveling among the mountain people of Peru next year with a smaller segment of our team in addition to the normal opportunities. We will continue to pray that God will lead us to live the mission as he desires.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Peru thoughts 2013

Peru thoughts 2013

This picture of our team was taken on the second day of our clinics where we saw over 100 patients from the community. The house actually belongs to one of the families from the church and is a meeting place for ministry as well. Some of our Peruvian brothers and sisters are joining us in the picture. They served faithfully in various ways during that week.

They are just one example of the beauty of God’s creation that we saw while doing medical clinics, children’s ministry, men’s/women’s ministry, and many other things in Lima, Peru.

During our time of service there were many great reminders of the beauty of the body of Christ as we served among this people. We spent days working with people to help their physical needs and in turn they opened up about their spiritual needs. Members of the church circulated and spoke with people about their faith. First Baptist Villa el Salvador had a reputation for loving people in these barrios and our presence there was just a continuation of the great fame of our Lord in these neighborhoods.

Many of our team members did not speak Spanish, but they worked hard to communicate the basics of the faith and collaborate with the Peruvian partners who served faithfully alongside of us.

What will I remember?
On the first day of our clinics, an older gentleman received his glasses and began dancing because he had received his sight once again!

One of our volunteers, struggling with Spanish, asked my daughter how to say ball in Spanish and my daughter responded, “I don’t know” quickly. So the dear team member commenced to call the ball a “Idunno.”

Another of our members was very adept at interpreting and she reached a point in interpreting from Spanish to English that she forgot who “Pablo” was.

One of our members who had suffered much in life was able to connect with a woman through our women’s ministry in such a way that healing took place and she was able to overcome temptations toward suicide.

Our youngest member came equipped to help with balloon animals and any other children’s ministry that opened. During her time in the clinics, she learned to do blood pressures and helped many people.

There were so many others who stepped up and worked through their fears to demonstrate great faith in sharing God’s love with the people of Peru. In a day when so many are questioning the value of volunteer missions, I suspect that you have never seen God’s glory shine through people as brightly as our members shined this week. With so many great examples, I would be remiss not to mention our team leader who served so selflessly. She embraced the objectives of our journey, planned with national leadership, cooperated with the local missionary, and even handled a few minor interpersonal issues that arose. Once again, I am amazed by how God worked through all of us to reflect his glory as much as possible.

Pray with us as we look towards next year. This is a great entry level missions opportunity for many who cannot handle longer journeys with more physical demands. In addition to this opportunity, we are exploring with our missionaries the opportunity to do some hiking, camping, and traveling among the mountain people of Peru next year with a smaller segment of our team in addition to the normal opportunities. We will continue to pray that God will lead us to live the mission as he desires.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pray believing

The last few days have been the best of times and the worst of times for me on our Middle East journey. The best of times as we spend time with dear friends and share in their experience of living among harsh conditions. The worst of times as I have once again battled two serious illnesses at once. As we wrap things up tomorrow, I have to say that it was worth it all.

On Tuesday I said, if nothing else happens our time with these men was worth the journey and then today happens…After a tour of the city in strategic locations of intercession one of our friends who lives here was approached by a neighbor and invited to break fast. Now that sounds innocuous enough as others were invited as well, but the fact that Americans were invited for the first time in over a year in this neighborhood…answered prayer.

We were told that women and children could come and socialize separately of course, but when we arrived, the women of our group were the only ones present besides the hostess. Nonetheless, it was an amazing evening. My friends who live here spent much time getting to know their neighbors and they would tell me pieces along the way. One guy was the engineer for the communications grid in the capital city. Others were leaders in the community and we were breaking Arabian bread with them! They gave us business cards, fed us, offered us the cultural after dinner vices which we kindly declined, sprayed us with two types of perfume, and then we talked some more.

This does not sound momentous by American standards, but in this country what happened today was miraculous! Among the many people who we met, one young man had lived in Arizona for six years. We had some amazing conversation about his family in Dearborn, Michigan and his plans to return to Arizona. And the list goes on. We must be a people who not only prays, but believes that God can do the miraculous where hope is virtually non-existent!

I have seen miracles today and I’m not sure that I will ever pray the same again. Tomorrow is our last day. Please remember us as we visit the group of men that we visited earlier in the week.

20130720-224114.jpg

20130720-224152.jpg

20130720-224208.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.