On A Mission…
During this trip God basically stretched my heart over 4000 miles from here to just outside of Lima, Peru to a couple of small villages named Tapacocha and Cotaparaco. We had the opportunity to meet a lot of children and adults. It was such an amazing time in which I felt closer to Christ than anytime in my walk so far. It stretched me beyond my comfort zone and opened my eyes to so many things. One of which is a realization that I’m doing a terrible job of sharing the gospel message right here, in my own backyard and that’s got to change. I believe God has and is using this trip to really speak to me about that and while I’m scared about where that may lead me, I’m extremely excited about it too.
We spent a lot of time in the villages trying to build relationships, getting to know people and just sharing the love of Christ with them. We chose some of our favorite Bible stories and kind of tied them together with our own testimony. This is such a great way to present the gospel but in a personalized kind of away that I think people may understand a little bit better and relate too more personally.
I chose the story of Saul when he was on the road to Damascus and the Lord just grabbed hold of him and changed his life. He took him from a man who hated and murdered Christians to a great example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ in the man he became in Paul. Now, I don’t claim to be one of the greatest followers of Christ by any means but I was a lot like Saul and the Lord came to me and turned my life in a 180. He stopped me from persecuting and hating others by showing me the love that he had for me even though I was who I was. I also told them that like Paul I too was going out into the world to share Christ’s message and love. But this really got me thinking and I realized that I’m not doing that right here, or at least not nearly enough. I traveled 4000 miles and 14,000 plus feet above sea level up the Andes mountains to share with complete strangers and I’m not doing it right here with people that I can continue to have a long-lasting relationship with. People that I could really help, day in and day out in their walk.
I do have every intention of going back to Peru, maybe on a regular basis. The Lord has certainly softened my heart for the people there. But He has used this experience to teach me so much about myself and about Him and His grace, love and provision that feel even more compelled to continue His commission here, now.
We also met some great new friends and brothers and sisters in Christ from Columbus that led our trip. One of these new friends told me as the plane landed “we can’t forget there is a huge mission field right here in our very own backyard and we need to answer that call. We need to reach out to those people just as much as any other and spread God’s word with them too.”
I think sometimes it’s easier to use an interpreter and talk to a complete stranger about Jesus because you don’t fear possible rejection or the ridicule. While they may reject what you’re telling them about Jesus, typically people in the South American, warm climate culture, are more polite than the people we run into here. They will generally listen, thank you and move on. While people from the U.S. will challenge you, be rude or even hateful. But I think it’s more our own pride or ego that get in the way then. Maybe we fear that we won’t fit in or that we won’t know enough to answer the questions or challenges they give us. I think that often keeps us from really talking about Christ with others. The fear just freezes us up which is really crazy when you think about it. Often times these are people that we would share the most intimate details of our life with and here we are finding it hard to share one of the most important things in the world to us which is the gift God has given us through his son Jesus Christ.
Well I’m tired of being afraid or just too lazy to share the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I’m done hiding behind excuses of why I can’t or won’t or should share with others. God has really expressed to me that I need to be more bold in my faith. I want to keep to keep the momentum of that going in my life and so that’s why I’ve chosen to step out into some new ministry areas at our church and personally. I’ve seen a need for a long time and it just hasn’t been filled and I feel like God is really calling me to step up and lead the way for others to catch this vision He has for us all in being bold and sharing our faith. It’s my prayer that he will show me how he would have me do that and it’s also my prayer that I would be obedient and in his leading in his teaching. I’m super excited and I’m just blown away and so moved by but what he’s done and is doing in my life. He is once again taking me and reshaping me into who he wants me to be. So, over the next couple weeks I am going to prayerfully work this thing out and see where it leads, so keep an eye out for more information and more the story of how God is using me now and using me next.
Lord, I give myself up to You as a living sacrifice to be used, as You see fit.