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There are a few times in life we find ourselves in those moments that words cannot define. For me, it seems many of those come as I have the blessing of serving on the mission field. God continues to show me amazing things about His grace and mercy. Often I go with the thought of helping those who are hurting and have not heard the Gospel. However, in God’s infinite grace He does even more. What is more than sharing the Gospel you might ask? Let me try to explain.
For the last several days I have served with some ordinary folks in East Asia. Many were smart, young, energetic, gifted, etc.; however, all were ordinary when compared with the rest of the people on our planet. Yet, in the hands of Christ the ordinary people I was with were used in an extraordinary way. The numbers that would typically be reported were greater than we could imagine. Yet, my mind cannot recall nor focus on the total. What I see are the individuals. The children, the moms, the grandfathers, the workers, the people who came through our clinic were just like us. Yes, they spoke a different language, had a different skin tone, were shorter than most of us, and even ate some strange food at times. But at the same time they were just like us. They were in search of what brought meaning to life. We were privileged to be able to share with many who came to know Christ. This morning my heart is overwhelmed not by the multitude but by the individuals that did.
This week I was reminded of the power of one. The difference that just a moment makes in the life of one person. One moment in time that changes all of time and the generational trajectory for a family. What is greater than sharing the Gospel? Being the one who recognizes its value in their own heart and is thus “transformed” more and more into the image of Christ.
I am thankful for a church family that joins me in loving missions. I don’t simply mean by that in going to another land far away from home. That is important. However, I also mean:
- Giving sacrificially to missionaries. Fairview remains at the top in all percentiles in giving to mission endeavors.
- Supporting a church staff that has a heart to go and tell.
- Sending teams on a regular basis to tell those in a foreign land about Jesus. In doing so, they fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandments.
- Participating in ministries that show the love of Jesus in the local community. I can’t wait for “I Love Columbus Day!” which is coming up this week.
- Allowing their Pastor to “go” to the foreign mission field. I cannot express my gratitude enough in this area. These are times of refreshing and renewal for me.
- Raising up a generation of young men and women like those on this trip. I watched each of them share the Gospel and lead others to Christ. What a blessing!
- There are many, many, many, many more. But, I believe you get the point. God is good!
How do you measure the success of a trip? There are several ways.
Brother Breck asked us on the first day of the trip how many people would need to get saved for the trip to be considered a success? Most answered one. The correct answer is zero. He shared with us that if we were obedient in serving God and sharing our faith, then the trip would be a success. We could not save anyone; only God could. By this definition, the trip was a success.
I shared with them my theme verses for a mission trip. It is in Acts 20:17-27
17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
I asked to team to consider this as our measure of success.
To serve the Lord with humility and tears in spite of our circumstances.
To declare to everyone who enters the clinic about our Lord Jesus.
To declare that we are innocent of the blood of anyone we came in contact with this week.
If people came through the clinic and did not receive Christ, it was not because we didn’t do everything we knew to do. We showed God’s love to them by providing medical care and shared with everyone who would allow us to. At the end of the week, we declared we are innocent of the blood of the people we served this week. There were many tears shed by our team for people who did not accept the gospel but there was also rejoicing for those who did, including several of our translators.
We don’t measure success based on numbers, but they do represent a new believer in the kingdom, so in that respect they are of eternal significance. We had around 230 people profess Jesus as their Savior and Lord this week and we give Him all the glory.
God not only worked through us, but He worked in us as well. I saw people share their faith for the first time with tears in their eyes as they discovered for the first time their real purpose in life; to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. When people go on a mission trip for the first time, their focus is on serving others. They are quick to discover that God usually does more IN them than He does THROUGH them. They are determined to take this mission mentality back home. Lives will be changed forever.
Yesterday we got to visit the Great Wall and Alicia Vickers took this picture which represents our purpose this week. It was a beautiful reminder of what the Lord is doing in this country.
Thank you so much for all of you who prayed for us and contributed to this trip. We are grateful.
We had a successful trip.
To God be the Glory
Today was an incredible day. We began the day by returning to the same factory that we visited on our first day of clinics. The factory owners asked us to return because they wanted to bring in some of their employees from their other facility to come through the clinic and hear the story of love and grace of our Father. This is one of the many blessings that we have received in East Asia. Many of the factory owners are our brothers and sisters, and they not only care about the physical needs of their employees, but also the spiritual needs.
However, there was an issue with the transportation of the employees. Many were not able to make it to the factory, so we saw far less people than we originally anticipated. The smaller number of people resulted in a relatively calm morning. That being said, He still worked in mighty ways, and many made decisions in the morning.
In the afternoon we went to another factory, and we saw about 150 people by the end of the day. Today we had many of the local brothers and sisters accompany us, and it was incredible to see them sharing their faith with their countrymen. It was a beautiful thing to see many brothers and sisters, no matter the race, desiring to see lost people come to life. We were trusting the Father to do great things, and over 80 new brothers and sisters have entered the family today.
In addition to that, many others were shared with, including many of the translators we have been working with this week. We are trusting Him to reveal Himself in powerful ways to them and every person that we come in contact with.
Thank you for continuing to think of us,
The work began today with our brothers and sisters at a local orphanage in the morning. We went in small teams to the orphanage. Most of the children were preschoolers. Our job was simply to “love” on them. Each person was reminded of the simple truth that Christ loves us and has adopted us as His own.
After lunch we went to a factory that was owned by a sister in the Father’s family. We saw patients for medical wellness, sickness, and eye exams. After each person was triaged they saw the doctor or eye team. After receiving their medications, they went to spiritual counseling. We were blessed to be joined with local brothers and sisters. One of those sharing with us was the owner of the factory. She shared to story of JC with her employee. She told him that she is his boss, but God is hers. In God’s eyes, however, they are equal. If he accepts Jesus she will be His sister. She told him, “We are the same before God. We are sinners on equal ground.” She led the gentlemen to the Lord as all of us watched. It was a beautiful testimony of Christ’s love for all of us and our responsibility to share with those God has brought us into contact with.
The team today left our medicine. One of our team members went back with a translator and driver to get the medicines from the hotel. During the trip, she shared the story of JC with the driver. He gave his life to Christ.
We finished the day by sharing the Gospel with 26 people. We saw 15 of them become brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord!!! We also had discipleship training on how to share your faith 25 people.
We had a great day in clinic yesterday. We worked in a lamp factory where the owner was a follower. She had built a beautiful Father’s house on the top of her factory that was hidden from the view below. She also had a “talking to the Father” room that was used for a small group of new followers meeting for the first time together to study a “passage”. We had over 70 decisions for the Son
. One of the neatest scenes of the day was to look up and see 12 different “counseling” sessions going on at the same time made up of students, adults, and local followers. We have two “fields” this week. One of the “fields” being our translators and another the factory workers that we are serving. We have a heavy burden since most of our translators are not followers. We have shared with them, but few have responded favorably to the “story”. We are still overwhelmed by the number of people we meet who have never heard of the Father or the story. We covet your “conversations with the Father” as we continue to serve the people of East Asia this week.
Terry & Karen
The team has landed safely and will begin work soon. Continue to keep the team in your prayers!
It is our warmest day in the city and we continued today with two teams at work. The team that was I the cool refreshing mountains yesterday returned to work in the immediate area around the HMM compound. We continued the futball camp in the morning with another great group. The second team walked around the corner for concrete work. That work consisted of removing dwelling furniture, digging out a few inches of dirt, and then mixing concrete Dominican style…it is like making pasta….on the road. Other payed workers smoothed and stained the concrete to complete the task.
The homeowner was a recent widow. As the love of Christ and our love was explained to her she accepted Christ desiring to turn away from her sin and believe. Her husband was a believer. There is still hardness in the family as her teenage and older kids sat in utter rejection of the message. Pray that this mom will attend the last two nights of the ladies Bible study and will use her new Bible to grow and her children believe as well.
The afternoon has us doing additional site work for concrete work Thursday and the third afternoon of the basketball camp.
Pray for rain! There has been no rain in this area for 6 months. Around the shanty homes they have many fruit bearing trees and plants for family consumption or to sell. The air is hazy because of dust, pollution and occasional wildfires in the area.
Pray for the staff of HMM that does remarkable work with a tremendous spirit. They translate for us, worship with us, transport teams, and escort us and proudly share about their country and area.
Happy Mother’s Day and Hola from Barahona, Dominican Republic!!! We had a great trip in yesterday. The ride up the coastline was breath taking. We had an opportunity to tour the market this morning and see how the locals provide food for each other and money for their families. It is such a different pace and atmosphere than the local grocery store back in the states. We will have some beach time this afternoon for a couple hours and then we will worship with Pastor Michael and his congregation tonight. Thank you so much for your support and prayer for this week. We are excited to see what God is going to do in and through us here. God bless and adios amigos!!!!