Taking the Word to the World

Posts tagged ‘Guest Post’

Young Adults and Involvement with Global Missions by Eric Morley

Guest Post by Eric Morley

Many young adults make one of the following statements:

  • I want to be involved in Global Missions but I don’t know how
  • I feel drawn to overseas missions service, but I have no idea what to do

First, let’s get some background on how we normally get “direction” in life. 

Global Positioning System

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In 1974 the U.S. Department of Defense developed and deployed what is today known as the Global Positioning System.  This system consists of approximately 30 satellites that circle the globe and can provide precise location data to users of GPS enabled devices on the ground or in the air.  During the 1970s and 1980s, the Air Force reportedly wanted to end the program, but after its success in the first Gulf War it enjoyed new popularity.  The U.S. Government opened the GPS signal up for civilian use and today it has become a mainstay of our economy and is used in everything from agricultural production, civilian aviation, car and truck navigation, the service industry, tablet computers, and cell phones. 

According to the Department of Defense, GPS is a space-based positioning, navigating, and timing.  Everyone who has used GPS to find their way knows it isn’t always a perfect process, but it removes a lot of the uncertainty and mystery of getting from point A to point B. 

That is great, but what does this have to do with missions?

Just like the GPS can provide precise data to someone on the earth enabling them to pinpoint location, heading, and direction, God’s word provides its own GPS to guide you as you seek to involve yourself in the work of missions. 

Involvement in Missions – The Missions GPS

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    • Give to Missions – God trusts people with stewardship of funds and other resources in order to enable the carrying out of missions work both here and overseas.  As soon as you have an income, make it a regular practice to give a monthly offering.
      • I Corinthians 9:14.  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
      • Philippians 4:16-19.  For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
        • The promise of God supplying all your needs occurs because they provided for Paul’s needs
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    • Pray for Missions.  It is always in order to pray for the wellbeing and effectiveness of our missionaries and their families.  They need God’s protection, provision and assistance.  However, the Bible also gives us some specific things that we can pray for to advance the work of missions. 
      • Colossians 4:2-3.  Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
      • Luke 10:2. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
        • Laborers are needed from North America to help build up a church in the nation
        • Laborers are also needed from that nation to build an indigenous church which can then reach the people of that nation. 
    • Serve in Missions.  If you wait for the perfect time you will likely never get involved in serving in missions.  Talk to your leaders, mentors and pastors about getting more involved.  For a missions experience join a church/district/Youth Division sponsored YOM/AYC type of trip.  Go on Next Steps which is a two-month program involving 3-weeks of hands on training followed by 5-weeks of working directly with a missionary on an overseas field.  Serve as an AIMer and watch your small contribution have a major impact overseas.  But do something and see if God wants you to engage in missions service as part of your life’s efforts.   
      • Mark 16:15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
      • Matthew 28:19.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
      • Romans 10:14-15. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
      • While we need teachers and preacher, there is also a great need for encouragers, administrators, educators, music leaders, medical personnel and other assistants. Think of the examples of Barnabas and Oneisiums who were a great blessing to Paul. 

Your path to involvement doesn’t have to be confusing.  Use GPS to guide your involvement and don’t wait.

Conclusion

Start putting the GPS to use in your own life. 

Guest Post – My Missions Journey by Jennifer Short

As a teen, I wanted little to do with God. Responding to a call on my life? That would never happen. I had plans. I had goals. I thought I knew the direction of my future. God was writing my story even though I hadn’t relinquished control of the pen.

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Missionaries always fascinated me, but taking on their burden was never a priority. That concept was nonexistent. When I released control to God in 2006, He began cultivating a burden deep within me. I vividly remember standing in the arena during NAYC 2011, listening to a presentation about Apostolic Youth Corps. As I heard testimony after testimony, I caught a glimpse of God’s plan for my future. In that moment, I knew an AYC trip was on my horizon.

You can say I officially started walking this missions path in 2012. Having never been outside of the United States, I decided to jump in with both feet and head to Africa–the place that stole my heart. I will never forget the sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro as we flew into Tanzania. Catching a glimpse of a fellow AYCer making a return trip, I couldn’t understand the silent tears flowing down her cheeks. She saw a country in desperate need of the gospel.  It only took ten days to grip my heart. As we taxied off the runway headed back “home,” I was the one with tears streaming down my face, the thought of leaving too much to bear. Home had taken on a new meaning in those ten days.

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As deeply as the African people touched me, God led me to the Dominican in 2013. There I learned some of the toughest lessons of my life. Through unimaginable tragedy, God taught me strength. He instilled courage like I had never known. For the first time, I truly understood what it meant to have peace that passes all understanding.

Over the next year, I continued seeking God’s will. Even though my heart was firmly planted in foreign soil, I continued making myself available in my local church. After much prayer and counsel, Next Steps felt like the perfect opportunity to further my missions journey. I questioned how I would fare being gone from my family for an extended period of time. The two month Next Step trip seemed to be the perfect proving ground.

On May 31, 2015, I stepped onto a plane and deeper into the will of God. Headed for Guam, our team of young adults eagerly anticipated what God had in store. Those two months profoundly affected my soul and my future.

The first three weeks of training felt like a Bible school crash-course. The information was priceless. Every session was jam-packed with tidbits of knowledge and wisdom we stored in our brains and notes for future reference. I gleaned invaluable understanding about missions, and about ministry as a whole. And what a privilege to sit with real-life heroes of the faith, being taught and discipled while on the mission field!

Opportunities arose each day to minister alongside the local churches. Putting our learning into action allowed God to birth a deeper desire in me to see souls born into His kingdom. He renewed the burden in my heart and confirmed His will in my life.

Through all three short-term trips, I’ve come to realize how amazing this call of missions is. He has entrusted me with this burden and daily equips me with the necessary tools. When we sacrifice our comfort, allowing God to take us outside our self-imposed security, He shows us things we would never see on our own. In that place of vulnerability, God equips us with the necessary tools to carry the burden He has placed within us.

In August 2016, I will once again plant my feet on foreign soil for a six month AIM term in Ghana, West Africa. Because I have given God complete control over the navigation of this journey, He continues to lead me to places beyond my wildest dreams.

When Pulpits Preach – Guest Post by Paul Records

“Mop water and pray,” she said. “Mop water and pray.” I listened, mesmerized by her words. Sister Laura Long stood and recounted what it was like to endure the magnificent power of a category five cyclone. It hovered directly above the Bible school, where many sought refuge from the wind and rain. For hours, mothers clung to their children and flinched as the storm pounded the doors and windows. The shrill of the wind was deafening. Sister Long’s husband used his body to brace the door. Water shot in through the bottom. Both AIMers, the Long’s were stationed in Port Villa, Vanuatu to serve with missionaries Peter and Robyn Gration. At the mercy of a storm raging at 200 miles per hour, all they could do was “mop water and pray.”

But that was over a week ago. Along with two others, I had landed in Port Villa to form a CSI response team. Over the coming days, our job was to assess the damage done to the national church infrastructure and develop a disaster relief plan. After being briefed by the Long’s, our team hired a local pastor and together we drove around the island. On day one, we counted three churches that were either completely or mostly destroyed.

CSI Truck

Talking with local pastors and saints, we discovered that the cyclone had destroyed Vanuatu’s system of crops. Because it was a country built on subsistence agriculture, the lack of crops was the most devastating result of Cyclone Pam. Even if families planted new crops immediately, it would be 6—9 months before sustainable harvests were available.

Analyzing the situation, the CSI team decided to create strategic locations to store food, tools, and other goods. Just as Joseph in Egypt stored goods in the seven years of plenty in preparation for seven years of famine, we established “The Joseph Project.” In time, we were able to stock multiple pallets with rice, flour, dry noodles, canned meat, and crackers in expectation of national food shortages.

Into the Bush 1

After hearing of damage done to other islands, the CSI team along with a local pastor and missionaries Long and Gration chartered a plane to establish multiple Joseph Project sites on Epi Island. After a shaky plane ride, we landed on a bumpy grass runway. A truck met us onto which we loaded our gear and supplies. While sitting on bags of rice in the back of the truck, our delegation drove an hour into the bush before arriving at a village called Nuvie. There, we presented dry goods along with hammers, nails, saws, and tarps to the village. Before flying out later that day, we presented resources to a second village.

During our two week stay in Vanuatu, the CSI team worked alongside men in Port Villa’s churches to demolish the destroyed church sanctuary located on the Bible school’s compound. Lastly, we were glad to provide the necessary materials to help rebuild two homes.

Pulpit 2

In all of the damage done by the cyclone, there was great beauty to be seen. I will never forget the pulpit that I saw after walking into the mangled sanctuary of the headquarters church. Though covered in debris, wires, and metal beams that had fallen from the roof, it stood ever so stalwartly. As we began to cut down the twisted beams and shovel the sheetrock and insulation moistened by the rain, I kept looking back to the pulpit. Like a soldier tired by battle, it was bent but not broken. To me, it stood as a testament to the church. What a sermon it preached. Yes, the church in Vanuatu was weakened by winds and rain. It was weakened, but not destroyed. Like the pulpit which stood and preached in the sun that day, it holds true. As the pulpit was bent but not broken, the church in Vanuatu will continue to shine reflecting Christ and his magnificent glory. In the end, after the ceiling had fallen it landed and found a resting place on top of the pulpit. In like manner, God’s great church scattered among the many islands of Vanuatu will hold together a nation and be the hope that rises in the remains of the storm.

On Grabbing the Pen Again – Guest Post by Melinda Poitras

Were you to open my journal you would see it all throughout. You could not fail to notice all of the places where the stiff necked soldiered lines of proper words standing at attention turn to jagged, fluid flops of gibberish. What formerly held the promise of prose slumps off into scribble. The thoughts I have been rushing to ink out onto paper are cut short. The paragraphs I meant to pile up into pleasing turns of phrase have turned another direction entirely.

Why?

Because a tiny hand keeps grabbing hold of my pen.

I could take it back. I could pry that pen straight out of those pudgy hands by force of my own superior prowess.

But I don’t.

Instead, I teach her how to pass it back to me.

I am in control. I can give commands but I with all my power, I wait with open hands.

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She tries to create for herself. Even now. Even early. She tries to create while she cannot possibly comprehend what she is crafting. She scribbles for a little while, observes her craft and then, weary of her writing work she hands me back the pen. And that, that very instant is the moment when I with all my knowledge can begin to write again.

I write words beyond her imagining. Words she cannot possibly begin to understand.

The story begins to make sense once more, when the pen is in my hand.

It is this mystery miraculous that He who crafted space waits for us to make room for Him.

He sits enthroned on high, yet we can knock Him off of the throne of our hearts any time we feel like it.

He created time, and sometimes we manage to spare a bit for Him.

He can chase the east wind at the speed of light but He waits with wild tenacity for us to be willing to walk with Him.

It is a mystery miraculous, this mystery miracle love.

As you go on in my journal you will smile much now and then when you see all of the places that she grabbed the pen again.

But greater still the times she placed it back into my hands, so I could write the harder words, so I could etch out plans.

She will grow. And she will know that all the time it seemed

That I took from her

That I cheated her

And did it with a smile

On every page

At every age

I was writing all the while

The rhyming and the rhythm of things she’s never dreamed.

photo credit: Fuji X100S Macro via photopin (license)

Next Steps Togo – Guest Post

Sixteen young people were heavily involved on our Next Steps program including four AIMers.

Already nearly 100 have received the Holy Ghost.

I wanted to share just one of the reports.

This past month has been the most impeccable time, eye-opening experience, and biggest blessing of my life. What an honor to be here on Next Steps Togo 2014! Not only is it a gorgeous, tropical location. But, the Togo Team is seriously top notch! Hosted by Bro. & Sis. Adams, Bro. & Sis. Sully, Bro. & Sis. Sarsfield, and the awesome aimers Amber Davenport, Logan Blackmon, and Rashe (who’s last name I don’t currently know). Month one down, one more to go in Togo.

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Right when I stepped off the plane I realized I wasn’t in Arkansas anymore. It honestly wasn’t at all what I had cracked up “Africa” to be like. I had put it in this little bubble of desert sand everywhere, and the “brush” being common. However, it’s actually a rather beautiful location here! I was greeted with palm trees, a sea of motos, glorious sunsets that Picasso couldn’t even fathom, and constant access to fresh fruit! Simply amazing. And can I just say, the people are the happiest people I’ve ever encountered my whole entire 21 years of existence. I think we all had assumed they’d be sad since they are “poor” in our first-world perspective, but they are full of pure joy. Always smiling, always waving, and saying “Bienvenue, yovos!”I love it here, I really do. So, I can’t really say that culture shock in the way us Americans do with a negative connotation, it was more like, “Thank God, for culture shock because I now know what true happiness and simplistic living really is!”

On another note, the classes were phenomenal! It was seriously so humbling to be able to sit there and listen to tons of real-life, superhero missionaries pour their hearts out to us, and be so personal. Also, I was appreciative that they weren’t all topics we wanted to hear, but all topics we needed to hear. Like the good, the bad, the ugly. It’s necessary to focus on the whole picture, not just the pros of it. And what a once-in-a-lifetime privilege to fellowship with Bro. Howell (no big deal!), The Poitras’ (my faves), The Richardson (whom made me feel at home), and some of the local pastors who are the hands and feet of the work here in Togo. I’ll never forget those classes! Especially when they’d just be teaching, and God’s presence would just sweep over us in such a marvelous way. And hearing all of the Next Stepper’s devotions was so the perfect way to start our days! Oh God is just so good! We’ve all bonded and literally it’s like we’ve all known each other prior to this trip. There is indeed unity in diversity, because we are all here for the same cause. We are family.

The outreach that we’ve done here is by far, my favorite part of the trip. The Kid’s Crusades every Saturday are SO powerful! I can’t even tell you the total number of people getting the beautiful Gift of the Spirit, because its happening left and right. A moment, more like a memorial that I will always have from this trip, was from last week. We went to the “village” church; it was super duper tiny but a load of people to fit. At the altar call, we were all praying for kids, but then I needed to step away because I got a little overwhelmed and claustrophobic. I stepped with my back against the walls, aka bamboo tied together, and close my eyes to begin praying. All of a sudden, God’s reverent and holy presence overtakes me and I was truly lost in Him, and I fell down on my knees. For some reason, I remember opening up my eyes real quickly and right when I look up I locked eyes with this little girl. She was a few rows away on her knees praying, and as soon as we made eye contact a tear streamed down her face. I motioned for her to come over. So she gets on her knees beside me, hands raised, and I begin praying over her. Then, praying led to travail. Next thing I know, her head was nuzzled in my side, and she was speaking in tongues and bawling. I’ll never forget that. EVER. I don’t know her name, but I’ll always remember her and that moment God gave us. This place has humbled me so much more than mere syllables or words  could ever portray. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to go home the same.

So there’s a little sliver of my experience here in Togo. I could honestly right a book, but the connection is decreasing so I must send this now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. Peace + Blessings to you all!

– Courtney Boyd

Like Never Before – A Guest Post by Melinda Poitras

By Melinda Poitras

birds

I asked You to make me strong
I forgot that You walk in perpetual paradox
I forgot that strength doesn’t need
You 
So strength is weakness
Weakness is strength
You knew what I meant
And you made me just “weak” enough to do the right thing
Thank You

I asked You to make me happy
I viewed happiness as some mysterious distant destination
Naturally assuming I would one day wake up and be there
Happiness forgets You
Happiness can stand alone
You knew what I meant
And you made me just miserable enough to experience true joy
Thank You

I asked You to be near to me
I wanted You to come here
Fill in the space around all I was holding
Emptiness is full
Wounds are counted faithful
And You knew what I meant
So you broke my heart just enough – to open it
Thank You

I am so impossibly in love with You that everything is pink
Because You do exactly what I ask – when You don’t

“The songbirds keep singing, like they know the score
And I love You, I love You, I love You – like never before.”

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The Day “It” Died

Guest Post by Nick Sisco – UPCI Missionary to Ghana, West Africa

No one remembers the day, or for that matter the year, “It” died, but we all experienced the emptiness “It” left within society. “It” was not loud or bossy. He was not arrogant or proud. “It” was honest, faithful, blameless, dignified and honorable. “It” lived according to the strictest code of conduct and could be depended on to do the right thing, even when no one else was looking. Yes, “It” was complete within himself. He had nothing to fear, nothing to hide and nothing to prove. He was always just himself. “It” had a wholeness that few, if any, could match.

You will remember “It” when I use his full name, “Integrity.” In a world of relativity, integrity has become passé, old fashioned, and unpopular. Get to the top at all cost seems to be the order of the day. Yet the Bible has a lot to say about “It”.

God told Solomon, “And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.” (1 Kings 9:4-5)

Job, when answering one of his so called counselor friends in Job 27:5 declared, “God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.” David invited God in Psalm 7:8 to judge him according to his righteousness, and “according to mine integrity that is in me.” “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” (Proverbs 10:9) The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” (Proverbs 11:3) I like what Proverbs 20:7 has to say, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.”

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If my life was carefully investigated, would I be embarrassed by what was discovered?” What would be revealed if God set up a big screen that would display our lives… our integrity? A person of integrity has nothing to fear because of the consistency in his life; examinations are not an embarrassment. Integrity does not mean one is perfect but it assures consistent movement in the right direction. A person of integrity has the desire to live an honest, complete life that avoids deception and is sincere in thought, word and deed (Psalm 19:14).

“It” lives in you but can die overnight. The pressures of life, the pain of reality or the case for compromise can all assassinate “It.” We have to decide in advance to protect “It”. Integrity is not something you hope to have it is a choice you make. The choices made today determine the future experienced tomorrow.

Charles Swindoll wrote five things integrity produces.  First, “It” produces lasting character.  Integrity is long obedience in the same direction.  Living in the midst of a society that cannot tell the difference between good and evil, we need to cultivate reliable integrity. “It” produces a character that will last.

Second, integrity offers a clear conscience. You can go to bed every night with a totally free and relaxed conscience.

Third, integrity provides intimacy with God. Living a life of integrity will allow you to live a life free from guilt and sin because when you do something wrong your integrity will tell you, Hey! You need to repent of that and make things right immediately. When this is done it clears the way for a close, daily walk with the Lord.

Fourth, integrity produces a lasting legacy. What will you be remembered for?  People will remember you more for who you are than what you have said. People will remember how you lived faster than they will remember what you did. What they will remember is your lifestyle of integrity.

The fifth and final benefit from integrity is ending well, with no regrets.  May I remind you that over half of the people who failed in the Bible failed in the last half of their lives (Sampson, Saul, Solomon)! I want to go to heaven without embarrassment.

Let me leave you with a few questions to ponder as we reflect on integrity. What does integrity look like in my life? If my friends were questioned, would they affirm that I am a man or woman of integrity? In the end, will my children or those who walk with me be blessed after me?

Let’s protect integrity in a world that has removed “It” from everyday life. Let’s remain committed to living “It” so we can teach “It” and then reap the benefits of “It” within our lives and ministries. Integrity, you cannot effectively minister without “It”.

photo credit: contemplativechristian via photo pin cc