Thursday, December 20, 2012

SAM




I will be a missionary one day, but I am a missionary now and have always been one. I became a missionary the day the Lord saved my soul. Therefore I am not called to mission work. Mission work is not a calling - it's every Christian's life. This is a lesson the Lord was revealing to me before I left and He completely reaffirmed during my trip. I can no longer live a day for myself. This life is too short. My God is big and faithful and worthy to be served; therefore, I will serve Him.

God has set a very specific job on my heart during this trip: to start a boys' home. I don't know where or when, but I know He will be faithful to make all things happen in His way and in His timing. God will be glorified in my life. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be "mom" to 29 girls who God has used to teach me so much about Himself and about myself. Glory to God.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

KRISTINE

Kristine  is wearing in white on the left.
This was my first 2 month long mission trip, and I'm 23 and about to start my second year of grad school. I've been wanting to go on a summer trip since the summer before my junior year of college, but things of this world kept holding back, from doing a summer internship to studying for the MCAT and working to save up money.

My summer working in the red light districts of Thailand and reading Nehemiah Team's World Christian Bible study has completely changed my life. God commands all of His followers to take the Gospel to all nations, and I now realize that anything less than complete devotion to this end would be disregarding God's will for my life. I believe I am called to international missions and am planning on applying for the Journeyman program as I finish up my last year of grad school. God-willing, I'd like to attend seminary afterwards and then apply for the Apprentice program.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SAMANTHA


Samantha served on the Waray Waray Riverboat Team in the Philippines.

What has God taught you this summer?
One of the biggest things God taught me this summer is that discouragement is not from Him. He promises all over the bible that He will not only go with us, but also before and behind. Knowing those two things should give us a boldness to share His name and goodness with others fearlessly.

In what ways did knowing that people were praying for me help? 
I saw so many specific prayers requests answered this summer. A friend sent me an email about half way through the summer with a prayer that she had been praying for me and everything in the email I had seen God answer. There are many more too such as not letting physical discomforts distract or discourage. So knowing that many were praying for the team and for the people just gave me a bigger view of how God is working. It kind of made me zoom out some more from the world I'm seeing right in front of me.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

KRYSTEN


Krysten served on a medical team in the Philippines.
What has God taught you about himself this summer?

This summer has taught me a lot about God. How wonderful and present He is. That He wants to know everything about you and you are wonderfully made. How He loves everyone and wants everyone to know Him in a personal relationship. Also, I have learned that God is a jealous God yet a very loving God. That I can't just brush Him off until I have a time where I'm really struggling, but I need to everyday have a time for Him and it's just Him and Me talking.

How have you changed this summer?

This summer has changed me by the way I look at things. That everything I am doing now, the choices I make, are going to affect my future. I have learned that prayer is VERY important. This summer has really opened my eyes to God and that He is really there and that He really wants a relationship with me. That he wants every part of me.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

MELANIE


Melanie served on the Love the Children in the Philippines. She is the one in purple.

·      How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions?
My involvement with Nehemiah Teams has really shown me the need for missions and how everyone is supposed to take up the call and do their part. I realize the crucial need and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to spend my summer doing God’s Will. And even if I never have the opportunity to live overseas, there is so much I can do to be a missionary at home.

·      What one story/experience sums up your summer?
My favorite story from the summer was when we decided to go tubing down the river. We had to have a strange man lead the way because we had no idea where we were going. It turns out we were on the wrong side of the river so my entire team had to join hands and physically cross the river. It reminded me a lot about God and how we have to follow His Plan even if we have no idea where we are going. And sometimes we have to cross over rivers in order achieve the ultimate goal of spreading His Gospel. But in the end, the experience is so worth it and if you let it, it can be a ton of fun!

·      How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?
Because I know that people at home are praying for me, I’ve stayed encouraged because I know with so much prayer on my side, I cannot fail. And I want to make the best of my time so that I can share with them everything that I did and that their money and prayers were used 100%. So many people have supported me this summer and I don’t want to let them down by not doing my absolute best!

·      Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
I think people should sign up for Nehemiah Teams so that they can have a full understanding of the crucial need for missionaries. It’s really helped me realize my full potential and the call I’m supposed to answer. Even though I am only 19, I feel like I have a much better understanding of missions now that I have actually gone and seen the world. And the entire experience is so rewarding. It has definitely been the most productive and beneficial summer of my life.





Thursday, October 25, 2012

KYLE

Kyle served on the Cebu Basketball Team in the Philippines 
• How has this summer changed you?
 I definitely have a bigger picture of the world and how different it can be. I have also realized how much more I need to rely on God than on myself.

• Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
 I would recommend Nehemiah Teams to anyone who is looking to doing summer mission work. I think it has a great set up with orientation that prepared me for the trip. The lesson guide you go by was also a big help to me with just getting through day to day.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

AMBER


Amber served on the NFFF Bukidnon Team, her life verse is Romans 10:14

 What has this summer so far taught you about God? It has taught me that He is faithful to do what it is that He says he’ll do and never forgets His promises.

 How has this summer changed you? Throughout this summer, I have learned to have more faith in God and his provision and His love. I’ve also learned the true meaning of being a missionary and that no matter if you stay where you’re at or if you go overseas, you are to always be a missionary.

How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions? I’ve seen what they mean about missions is not supposed to be an experience but an act of service and being there to reach the lost.

·      What one story/experience sums up your summer? One of the young college students was telling me about how his grandmother raised him his whole life because his parents split when he was a baby, and his mother went to work abroad in order to support him. His attitude is so positive, and he told me that by the grace of God, he has come to be grateful for what God has shown him in his life. That reminded me that no matter what the obstacles, God will always get you through it and nothing is to huge or too difficult for God.

·      What story will you share with friends and family to encourage them in sharing your vision? I would encourage anyone who thinks that they can’t do missions to reconsider. I thought that I wasn’t capable of being a missionary, but God has shown me that EVERYONE is called to be a missionary and that He wants to use everyone in a special way to reach those who are lost.

·      How has your worldview changed this summer? I’ve seen just how much the world is hurting. Seeing this has convicted me and has shown me that I need to be more grateful and not take what God has given me for granted.

·      In what ways did God surprise you this summer? When I couldn’t do it, He showed me that I’m more capable of doing things that I was surprised I could do. I didn’t know that I could spend a whole entire summer in a foreign country.

·      How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong? It definitely motivated me and to keep on pressing on. It would be very encouraging to see emails that said “I’m praying for you” or “I’m continuing to pray for you” or “Let me know if there’s anything I can pray for”. That just kept encouraging me and kept me from being as homesick as I would have been if they didn’t. I think of Matthew 18:20 which says “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” When people are gathered together in prayer, God hears that and answers that prayer. I felt the answers to those prayers.

·      Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52? I feel like people should sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52 because so many times we get so used to the things and life that God gives us that we take that for granted. These mission trips will help you to see just how back the world is hurting and how important it is to reach the lost in the unreached areas of the world and not just where you are at.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Open your box



For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:20

First, I write this to everyone. But, I want to let Bre, Blue, and Jillian know I had you guys in mind when I wrote this. Miss you guys so bad, you each have no clue the impact you made in my life, and do not be silent about what God done in your life this summer.

I will never forget coming home from Sudan the first time. Perhaps, the strangest thing was that home was no longer home. I didn’t move, my house was not rearranged, and my friends were still there. Actually nothing much had changed at all, but I sure had. Over the summer I felt as if I was to die that day I would have truly lived more in that summer than many people get to in a lifetime. Home was no longer home, and I simply was not comfortable in my own skin. But after a few weeks passed something dangerous happened…

I put my summer in a box. I literally unpacked my backpack that had been my best friend all summer and stuck him in the closet. I put the money, bracelets, and the pipe made of shell casings on the shelf to be put on display to collect dust. I emptied my memory card on an external hard drive and looked at the photos of Peter, mapuar, and Elizabeth as I compressed them in a folder. Then I took the letters, my journal, and my notes and stuffed them in a box that went under my bed.

See what happened over those weeks was one of the most trying times in my life. One of my biggest mistakes in my thinking came when I realized time simply did not stop because I was gone. Some friends had transferred college, people had broken up, and church had a summer full of activities. It simply got tough when my hopes ran high at the question of “How was your summer?” I was so excited to tell stories of how I had seen God move in nomadic African cattlekeepers, stories of how we danced in the rain with tribal drums, or stories of how people burnt their handmade idols, but almost every time that question simply wanted a “It was good,” as a response. It got old, it got old real quick. I will never forget when an older gentlemen patted me on the back and said, “Well, it’s back to real life.” I found it ironic, that the experiences of attending a five year old’s funeral (dead from malaria), seeing twelve year olds constantly carrying AK47s in their arms, and seeing people pray to idols was some how equated to a false “reality.” Because the truth of the matter was it all seemed very “real to me.”

Eventually, it got old being known as the “summer missions” guy, so I learned to keep quiet. The faces on the slideshows I showed was just that to many, just faces. But, to me the faces had names and souls. They mattered to me and they certainly mattered to God. I found out that summer that until you know there is a problem, you do not look for the solution. That summer I found a huge problem, 2.7 billion people had never heard of Jesus Christ and I wanted to be part of the solution. My heart now broke for the man who “prayed to a tree, because he did not know how to reach God” and I knew if I didn’t do my part in sharing Jesus with him, who would.

But others didn’t really want to hear this. So I shut up. Before I knew it, my life had became routine again. I was working, going to school, and life was back just the way it had been before. I had put my summer in a box and it simply was too tough to look in it and try and share it with others. I took on the fortress mentality and decided I was an island. That I would do this by myself and everyone else could go on their own merry way, unmoved by 2.7 billion people not knowing Jesus.

Until I received a little letter in the mail addressed to myself that we had written the last week of the summer. It was now February, and honestly Africa was not on my mind. It was cold and civilized where I was now, but the letter took me back to a time I felt alive in the heat of the wild. I remembered what God had done in my life and when I did I could not be silent. I opened the box.

Over the next few years I would walk several students through the World Christian Bible Study, speak at many churches, and often times be the “summer missions guy” in many social gatherings. It was not easy, at all. Most of the people I shared with did not go on to do summer missions, did not ask me about my experience, or even say anything. But a few did, a few even went on to do summer missions and God has done great things in their lives also. I learned this, just like people need to hear the gospel, we have to help people realize there is a problem, and there is a solution. Through God’s Word, stories, devotions, and living out your gospel experience you have an opportunity to impact the 2.7 billion. No man is an island, and God never intended on us doing this alone. The channel in which God uses is not an individual or a single organ, it’s a church, it’s a body. And that same grace and patience you show to the refugee, has to be shown to the Christian who does not understand why we travel to third world countries to share the gospel. They both are essential to the kingdom, and both have a part in God’s plan of redemption.

So share your stories, live through your Gospel experience, anticipate friction, open the box, but know this might be the greatest thing you may be able to do for the kingdom right now is to never, ever, be silent.
-Justin

Thursday, October 11, 2012

LAUREN


Lauren (in the middle) served on the Ruel Team in the Philippines 
· How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions?
Before coming on this mission trip with Nehemiah Teams, I have been on several mission trips, two of them being overseas. Both of those mission trips were no longer than 2 weeks. As I prepared for this trip, I was very excited and could not wait to come. I saw this trip as being an adventure. Missions is something that I really love being a part of. I pictured this summer as being amazing and everything working out just fine. I knew it would be hard sometimes but thought that I could handle it. However, upon arriving to the Philippines my first week, it was not really anything like I expected. I was more concerned with my comfort and wanting that “feel good, excited feeling” that I had before coming. God has showed me that missions isn’t about me. It is all about Him. Letting Christ be all in me. God is teaching me to serve Him with gladness (Psalm 100:2). I have learned this summer that before going on mission trips, it is so important to pray fervently and frequently about what God will call me to do. It is not always easy but the Lord will always be our strength. I just need to get out of the way and let Christ accomplish his will through me.

· How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?

Back home, my Dad is the pastor of the church that I attend, and I am very involved in the church. I made prayer bracelets to give out to people who were willing to pray for this trip this summer. I handed out around 85 bracelets. It was so encouraging to see people wearing the bracelets and having them come up to me and tell me that they were praying for my trip. Knowing that many people are praying for me this summer has been such an encouragement and inspiration. I have seen God work in amazing ways so far this summer and I love getting to email and let those people that are praying for me know how God is hearing and answering their prayers. Prayer is so powerful and essential to living God’s will out to the fullest.

· Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
This summer is my first mission trip with Nehemiah Teams. I only knew little about what to expect of this summer and orientation. Orientation was amazing. I was so thankful and encouraged by all of the speakers, other members of NT/P52, and the training. I was so full of God’s word and the Holy Spirit. It was a great time of preparation for this summer. I am thankful for that time of encouragement, and it really helped me to feel prepared about what I was to expect in the Philippines.  

KELLY

Kelly served on the P52 MNYBA team in NYC
·      How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions?     Through the article and stories we've read as a team, I've been presented with the idea that those who stay should have to provide a reason why they've been called to stay, while those who go are simply following the command of Christ.  I hadn't thought much about this before.  Also in reading Acts I've seen how important prayer and fasting is in ministry and gospel-sharing opportunities. 
·      How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?    It's a way of knowing that we're not along; our team consists of not just the four of us that are here but all the people back home who are our prayer partners.·      Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?    It gives you an opportunity to widen your view of the world and get to know and understand people in different cultures.  Even in New York City, God is teaching me how to communicate with different kinds of people and to love the least of these.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MARY




Mary served as the media person for the Luzon nanny teams.
·      Has this summer changed your understanding or view of God as father?
  This has actually been a really big theme of my summer, since I worked with the nanny teams. I have been really struck by how much children LOVE to be loved, how they delight to be delighted in. How sweet it is that our Father God delights in us, delights to call us children. This summer has renewed my joy in being able to run to the Father as His daughter. At the same time, God has also taught me to delight in His discipline. It is a good and necessary part of growth, and God's character is such that He cannot help but grow us. In watching babies and children develop and grow over the past two months, I have realized how important it is for us as Christians to grow into maturity. Discipline is humbling and uncomfortable, but it is evidence of our sonship. 

·      How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions? 
Doing good does not relieve us of the responsibility of preaching the Gospel. I'm not a missionary unless I'm doing that! It doesn't happen by accident.
Spending the summer with 3 different teams has also shown me how different missions may look from place to place. It has shown me the importance of a biblical foundation for any ministry, that at its core every mission must be based in Scriptural truth and a desire to see people come to salvation in Christ. The point is not to heal someone's body so that they live longer before dying and going to Hell, to put it bluntly - the point is to tend to people's physical needs while sharing Christ with them at every opportunity, that He will bring the dead heart to life.
  
·      In what ways did God surprise you this summer?
This sounds silly, but I was surprised at what a huge role prayer played in my roles on teams this summer. I thought my media position would be the big contribution - photography and writing, telling the stories. And while I spent a lot of time on those things, God showed me that I should do those things with the purpose of better equipping people at home to pray. At each children's home there were problems I didn't have answers to and issues that I couldn't help with, since I wasn't there full time. But always, always I could pray. I truly believe that the best hours of the whole summer were those I spent in prayer for the other teams, for the people who run the ministries, and for the children. God hears and uses every prayer - I just didn't expect that He would use it to teach ME how to pray, too. Sometimes we don't realize how much we have to learn until we are in the middle of learning it. 

·      Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
Short-term missions will not reach the world, it's true. But God can and DOES do big things in 52 days. As a college student, it's probably not feasible to pack up and go live in another country long-term, but you do have a summer. Give God your summer (since every day is from Him and doesn't belong to us, anyway!) and see how He can use it. NT/P52 gives you a taste of missions experience, ignites a fire for the nations, and may be something God uses to reveal more of His plan for your life and how you fit into His grand kingdom plan.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

MEGAN

Megan served on the Ruel Team in the Philippines in 2012

·  How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions?     This trip has changed my whole view on missions. I have been on a few of short-term missions to Uganda and Thailand, but it was not until this summer that I really began to understand the sacrifice required.
    I was not sure what training would be like since I had never done something like that before, but at the end of it I felt more prepared mentally, spiritually, and physically for the mission than I had ever before. My team was already one unit, we know how to react if even the unexpected happened, we knew the language, and we were ready to share our testimonies and lead Bible studies.
    I felt a call to missions on my life at a young age, but it was not until this summer that I saw this as more than just an adventure and actually being willing to give up all my own desires and dreams to follow His plans for me. From the stories we have been reading about Jim Elliot and Lottie Moon I now realize that this means going to the really hard places where there are no Christians and being willing to sacrifice your won life for this mission. This is not an easy decision to commit to life like this, but I still feel this calling even knowing what I must give up. This both terrifies me and excites me, but I know that I can do it because of His strength and none of my own! This is how Nehemiah teams has challenged and strengthened my view on missions.
       One of our memory verses this summer, Acts 20: 24 says “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” I want this to become my life verse. 
·      How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?     Knowing that people were praying for me gave me so much motivation and strength. I can’t tell you how many times I got and email or message that just brightened my day and reminded me that I was not in this alone. My team members each shared how many people were praying for them and me, and it is just incredible to have that kind of strength behind us.
     Missions is not just about the person who is in the other country spreading the gospel, but it is also about everyone else who made that possible. I think about the people supporting me through prayer, financially, and I think about the churches and friends who backed up the 155 students that were a part of Nehemiah teams this summer, and the churches from Rainsville that supported us and it makes me so excited. This is how the body of Christ needs to work, coming around those going out and loving and encouraging them. And seeing this in action helped me realize what we can all accomplish together. Thinking about all these people reminded me to stay strong and persevere even when it was tough. Thank you so much to everyone who was a part of that!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BRITTNEY



Brittney served on the Love the Children team in the Philippines.
What has this summer so far taught you about God?This summer, I have learned to trust God in all of the small things. He has taught me so much about myself and has challenged me to grow in my walk with him. He has shown me how faithful He is despite my lack of faith. It has been so encouraging to see him work in my life and grow me in ways I never imagined.

Has this summer changed your understanding or view of God as father?
I have seen how faithful He has remained. When our schedule was changed constantly for two weeks straight and when I got sick for two weeks straight, God never ceased to amaze me and give me strength. His love for me as my Father has been one of the coolest things I’ve experienced this summer. He has shown me His love and shown me that I can come to Him with anything, even the smallest things, and He will take care of me.

How has this summer changed you?
I have learned to really value the relationships that God has blessed me with. When you spend a summer with children who don’t have families to be with and who take care of them, you really learn to appreciate how God has blessed you. I know that when I return home I want to show my love for the people in my life. God used this summer to help me see what is important and to help me grow in my walk with Him so that I can rely on Him for everything.

How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong? Knowing that people back home were praying for me was the biggest encouragement I have ever had. I could feel the prayers every day. Even when times were tough, I had a sense of peace knowing that I was being prayed over. I can’t even express how much it means to have people on the other side of the world praying for you. I’m so blessed to have godly influences in my life for spiritual encouragement. It definitely made finishing the race strong possible.

Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
People should sign up for Nehemiah Teams because it is an awesome way to see the world through God’s eyes. When you are on the other side of the world, disconnected from technology, and a part of the culture for seven weeks, you really fall in love with the people you are ministering to. This is my second summer to be apart of Nehemiah Teams and I have seen the Lord do so much in seven weeks. You really get the opportunity to grow close to the people, learn some of the language, eat different food, and there are so many outlets in sharing the gospel. I encourage everyone to consider signing up for Nehemiah Teams so that they can find out who they are in the Lord and grow closer to Him. It’s an opportunity to be challenged and to grow close to the Father and to share with others how awesome our Heavenly Father is.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

GREG


Greg served one of the Health Care teams in the Philippines.  His life verse is Joshua 1:9 and Acts 20:24.
What has this summer so far taught you about God? I have learned about he is our provider. Several times this summer we thought we were going to run out of food and it so happened that several people invited us over to their house for dinner different nights.

How has this summer changed you? Well, I feel this summer has made me realize how God is calling me to care for others around me, whether that be in the US or on the mission field. I feel that I am taking my relationship with Him more seriously and I can feel his presence like I never have before.

Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52? 

NT, in my opinion, is a well organized team that will help you grow in your faith, as well as grow as a Christian. Through NT, I have been able to get a vision of world missions and also get a vision of what God has for my life. It will challenge you, which is needed for growth. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BRANDON

I'm the one in the orange.
  How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams changed your view on missions? 
Involvement in NT has changed my view on missions by opening my perspective to the bigger picture. Since we are working with full-time workers, it takes away the short term feel and replaces it with the grander scale of a 10 or 15 year mission. This definitely is raising questions inside of me and has/is still convicting me about doing more than a few short terms. I had this mentality that if I just agree to go on a short term per year and continue to live the rest of my life the other 52 weeks then that will be suffice. But recognizing that short-termers will never reach the entire world really brings the reality of the Great Commission back into perspective.  
How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?There have been several days where God has just given it to me…physically, emotionally, spiritually I just always felt like I had to keep picking myself back up. While that was happening, my fleshly body kind of forgot about those praying. It wasn't I would open my bag up and start to read the encouragement letters people wrote me. In every single one of them, multiple times it would say, "I'm praying for you." That one sentence is what helped me wake up in the morning, looking for any open door to share. You can definitely feel prayers even from 12,000 miles away. Knowing that there's an entire body of people praying for you not only encourages you so that you can finish the race but also encourages you so that you can complete the task that the good Lord has given us all.  
In what ways did God surprise you this summer?There isn't any particular way that God has surprised me this summer per say, but He definitely has kept me on my toes. As I was preparing for this trip, I read through the Gospels and prepared my heart for sharing the story of Jesus. Now don't get me wrong, we're definitely sharing about Jesus, but we have been using OT stories to transition in. Time and time again these people have never heard about Noah or Moses or Adam and Eve! All these stories are both in the Bible and in the AQ. God has definitely pushed us physically, emotionally, and spiritually in every which direction. Whether it would be experiencing resistance from our translator or impossible terrain or outrageous thunderstorms, He's never ceased in testing our faith. One thing that we repeat to ourselves every night is, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel." Those are words to live by. But in all seriousness, the greatest "surprise" that the Lord has opened my eyes to is the tremendous lost-ness on these islands. If the rapture happened this very second, not a soul would come off that island…no one would be missing…no one would know. The urgency of the Great Commission has been brought into perspective, now its time to fulfill our duty as Christians, that the Lord has given us. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012

BEN



How has this summer changed you?

    God has really humbled me this summer.  At home, I'm constantly thrust into leadership positions--always teaching or leading worship or organizing things.  This summer, God has put me in a position where I don't do hardly any of those things.  I serve behind the scenes and help the gospel go forth through the mouths of others who work around me.  He's been rounding off my edges and building up supports in areas where I've had no experience.  Sometimes, ministry can be different than what we think it is.

In what ways did God surprise you this summer?

     God surprised me by placing me where I'm not involved in doing hardly anything I thought I was good at.  Whether it's been construction or cleaning, God's been using me in ways I never would have expected.

How has your involvement in Nehemiah Teams/P52 changed your view on missions? 
   I've always viewed missions as taking the gospel, audibly in some sense, to people who have never heard it.  I now understand that, in the context of short-term missions, it doesn't always look like that.  Sometimes, God uses short-term missionaries to help a ministry for a time without using them in the front lines.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

CAT


Cat served on a nanny team in the Philippines during the summer of 2012.

·      Has this summer changed your understanding or view of God as father? I thought I had forgiven my earthly father for leaving my family and I, but this summer God really convicted me of grudges I held against him. I realized even if my dad had stayed, he could not fill all my needs anyway. I’ll be honest, I’m still no where near perfect and I still have hurt feelings concerning my earthly dad but I have truly begun to understand how God is my Abba Father and loves me (and the orphans I’m working with). His love is better than and deeper than anything anyone on the earth could give any of us!
 ·      How did knowing people at home were praying for you affect your performance/determination to finish the race strong?
 It was almost like I could feel their prayers covering not only me, but also my team and the people we were serving. It was the first time I could understand and experience personally how God wants to use prayer as a part of missions. Knowing that I had multiple prayer partners in the States brought the stories of the early church praying earnestly and fervently for each other to life for me.
 ·      Why should people sign up for Nehemiah Teams/P52?
 If anyone has ever thought of being a life long missionary but has never gone on a mission trip longer than a few weeks, they definitely need to be connected to Nehemiah Teams. NT doesn’t sugar coat the hard truths about the missionary life. At the same time, NT helps the participant grow in Christ and truly shows them how awesome it is to be obedient to the Great Commission.
 ·      Is there anything else you would like to share?I was one of those who never thought I was ‘ready.’ I had a slew of excuses and reasons not to go on mission trips. However, I know God called me here this summer mainly because he didn’t let my heart rest about it until I applied and got accepted. Nobody is ready, but that doesn’t change the fact that God calls all Christians to take his gospel of grace to the nations.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Returning Challenge

It is ironic but often the most challenging part of short-term missions is not the going, or the culture- but the returning. It is so hard to express all that one has seen. Seeing poverty changes a worldview. Watching God at work in impossible situations changes one’s understanding of Him. Being used by God opens up realms of possibilities never before thought of by the individual. It is amazing how simply leaving a comfort zone can completely change a lifethat starts a fire.

A fire that burns and refines- leaving the believer feeling the depth of what they are: a new creation. Eternal results. Salvations. Baptisms! DISCIPLESHIP! In short the goer “the missionary” is changed by what they experienced. And then of course the inevitable happens- planes are boarded, tears are shed, and everyone returns home.

At home, their fire still burns- their memories are fresh, names, and faces, and the stories attached have not begun to fade yet. They enter the organized chaos of America with a determined resolution to remain changed. Eventually though what was a luxury this summer becomes once again a necessity. The memories of the trip become just that, memories of a trip, slightly fuzzy but still convicting. Their audience is less interested as the stories are put on repeat. The fire begins to die, slowly perhaps but steadily.

I am not sure who is to blame, but I have seen it happen again and again. Please understand it’s not the memory of the trip or even the trip it self that is the fire. It is not even the memory of God at work- the fire is not a memory at all! It is the very presence of God at work in the students' lives. In your life.

Church Family: Fan the flame! The students are returning from service- encourage them! Thank them for going! Give praise to our Father that we have young people who are willing to go! Ask them to share- in Sunday School, a ladies tea, or 5 minutes on a Sunday night. Push them towards holiness- encourage them to be Godly and do not hinder their excitement for missions. God is calling out young people to long-term service through short-term missions- do you really want to discourage the next Lottie Moon from God’s calling?

And to the returning missionary: Feed the flame. Stay deep in Scripture. Meditating and memorizing. Apply Scripture to your life- do not just read it. Live it. Be purposeful in praying for missions, be determined in casting a mission vision where you are. And never underestimate what God can do with faith the size of a mustard seed. Do not be deterred by disinterest. Do not live for man’s approval. Follow God, go where He leads. And obey the Great Commission where you are now.

The older I become, the less impressed I am with humanity, and the more in awe I am of my God. His love is worth any small sacrifice of man. His salvation is worth proclaiming. And the home He offers to those who believe is beyond imagination. What an amazing God that inspires such wicked people towards holiness. What a good God that gives new life to a decrepit creation. May the fire that burns within those who believe burn bright- may our life’s mission be to proclaim His love. The only love that brings salvation.

Original post by Lizzie Holmes from The Same Plate.