Mission Trip 2015, Day 5

One of the best things about mission trips is getting to know other believers. Our faith is strengthened as we serve together and encourage one another. It’s simply amazing to see the faith that others have, especially that of young people, how they take their faith so seriously and are really growing and asking the tough and deep questions about their faith.

God doesn’t call us simply to attend church services and live out our quiet Christian lives. He calls us to push back the darkness. He calls us to be salt and light. He calls us have hope, even when life seems hopeless, so that all might see that He is the One who gives hope.

One of the first days of the mission trip, I wrote about how we were so excited about leading a backyard Bible club, but then no kids showed up. Well, tonight that backyard Bible club had 17 kids at it. And most of those kids have little to no church background, so we got to tell some of them about Jesus for the very first time.

That didn’t just randomly happen. It happened because faithful believers went out of their comfort zones and continued to go door to door, even though they were discouraged at first, in order to invite people to bring their children to the park so that they could hear about the love of Jesus. And they did that because they had first experienced the persistent love of God.

We love, because He first loved us.

We’re heading home tomorrow, but we pray that we’ve planted a few seeds that others will water, and we trust that God will bring the growth. That’s really all we can do.

But that’s enough.

Because we know that God is all-wise, and sovereign, and that just as His love pursued us all the way to the cross, God will continue to pursue each of these that we’ve ministered to this week. And knowing that, we have the great expectation, and maybe even the sure hope, of seeing them again, and when God brings us to our eternal home, where we will rejoice with all believers from all times and places, because of the relentless love of Jesus.

Mission Trip 2015, Day 4

Pray for Kay.

About thirty of us went out surveying this evening. That’s when we go door to door with a survey in order to gauge each home’s interest in being followed up with by a church. Tonight, we were surveying on behalf of a local church plant.

We expect a lot of rejection as we survey. Most people aren’t interested in talking at all, and most who are willing to answer the questions on the survery aren’t ultimately interested in being contacted by a church.

But once in awhile, we run across someone who may very well be the next person to trust Christ and follow Him.

One such person that we talked with tonight was Kay.

Kay doesn’t attend a church, but she’s open to hearing more about the church plant. She doesn’t have a lot of time due to her work schedule, but she’d love to get her daughter involved in children’s ministries. Kay was very kind, and very receptive, and everything just kind of clicked.

Pray for Kay. Pray that when the church plant follows up with her, that they would be able to connect with her in a meaningful way, and that she would feel welcome by them. Pray that she would realize her sin, yet also God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and that she would embrace Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

Jesus said, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)

It’s been hard much of this week because we haven’t been seeing much fruit despite all our work. But we heard from other groups about kids who were excited about backyard Bible clubs, and about women who were being encouraged through a women’s Bible study. And from our surveying this evening, the small church plant we served received twelve solid people to follow up with. And another small church heard about what we were doing, and asked if we could go out and survey for them.

So churches are getting excited about meeting their communities, which is awesome, and that in itself is amazing fruit that will continue to last long after we go home.

Mission Trip 2015, Day 3

Today has been very…wet. It rained quite a bit of the morning and afternoon. Most groups chugged right along, distributing VBS invitations for a local church, along with some general church information and the gospel of John. I had the privilege of being in such a group. We got a lot of exercise, and wished that we had some soap to go along with our shower.

But some of our construction teams which had been installing siding and painting the exterior of churches and parks had to find other projects to work on. But they found things to do! They went inside the church, painted room, washed windows, installed a baby changing station on the wall, and helped the church out with some technology improvements.

Our plans aren’t always God’s plans. Sometimes we need to be willing to scrap our plans to follow God’s plan. And sometimes we have no choice but to do so. But even then, we can choose to embrace it wholeheartedly, or complain about it every step of the way.

So even when it starts to rain on your plans, just keep on smiling. Maybe you’ve just entered into God’s plan.

(But we are praying for dryer weather tomorrow!)

Mission Trip 2015, Day 2

We often think of mission trips as being mountaintop spiritual experiences. But that’s often far from the truth.

There can be a lot of disappointment and low points associated with mission trips.  I spent several hours today just riding in vehicles, going from place to place. Hardly exciting. I also spent a few hours just walking around and distributing flyers for backyard Bible clubs that were starting this afternoon and tonight. I didn’t talk with many people outside of our group, and I never talked with anyone about Jesus.

Then, in the evening, I was with a group that was supposed to start a backyard Bible club in a park. We were all there, excited to begin, and we had all our stuff ready, and then…no kids showed up. It was very anticlimactic.

But God never promises that every moment will be a mountaintop experience. God never promises excitement around every turn. And although our walk with Jesus is certainly fulfilling, some of that fulfillment comes when we remember that God is good even when we walk through the valley.

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to minister to more people and maybe even see some people come to know Christ tomorrow and later this week. But even if that doesn’t happen, God is good, and God is drawing us to trust and rejoice in Him more, no matter what happens in life.

Mission Trip 2015, Day 1

There’s not much to say about today in terms of our mission trip. Although we had a great time of worship and encouragement from a guest missionary speaker this morning at our church, when we afterward left to ride in a van for 6 hours, it became a pretty boring start to our mission trip.

We rode in the van. We got stuck in traffic. We got to our destination and sat around awhile while we figured out what we would be doing tomorrow.

Pretty boring.
But not all of life and ministry are filled with excitement. Sometimes we need to patiently endure the boring times in order to be prepared for the great times of life and ministry that God is preparing us for.

So now, as I lay in bed, I thank God for this boring day, and I thank God that He’s going to do exciting things through us this week.