Monday, June 16, 2014

Making Missions Part of Family Devotions

There are a lot of ways that you can do this, but here are some thoughts about how you can incorporate the urgency of sending the Gospel as you meet together with your family. Here are some practical thoughts that might help you along your journey. This is not intended to be exhaustive and I'm sure there are even better thoughts out there, these are just some quick points that might be helpful to some.

Where do we start? - It might be helpful to identify either a missionary (or family) or a location with whom you (and your family) have some sort of personal connection. Does your family speak another language other than English? If so an area where this language is spoken is a nice choice. Do you have a favorite cuisine that is "other than American?"  Do you have a desire to learn another language or culture? Does your child have a neighborhood friend who speaks a different language at home? Any of these can be clues that can help you settle on a focus area. Perhaps you are really burdened for the United States and the missionaries working in the USA. Organizations like the North American Mission Board are doing great work, they have prayer resources available.

Once you have selected an area or missionary, then what? - As a family pray for the area and ask The Lord to give you a heart for the people and the work. Contact those who are working and let them know that you are praying. Place reminders on the fridge, reminders in your phone, etc. Take collections as a family and include your children in making decisions about support "special needs" that are available. Don't do this without them! This is the best time to begin teaching them discernment and how to follow up on these matters. Some of those special needs might be to help someone who is working in this area or those who might be going short-term.

Praying for work happening away from home has at-home benefits. - Don't forget that as you are praying for and learning about different cultures this will give you excellent opportunities to share with others back home. So you are burdened for China? Share this burden with those at the local Chinese restaurant. Let them see the love and concern that you have for the true Gospel to be proclaimed in their home land. Pray that God will give you open doors to share the Gospel with them. There are also opportunities for you to then advocate for more missions support and awareness in your small group, Sunday School class, and congregation.

May God be glorified among the nations!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thank you to those who gave

The mission team who served in Mexico this May conducted many different outreach efforts alongside our partner congregation. Under the leadership of Pastor Candido the community was blessed by free medical services and free haircuts one day. However, due to the overwhelming amount of support poured out for this effort we were able to have supplies sufficient enough to continue ministering through medical services at all of the locations we visited. We cannot thank you enough for everyone's prayer and financial support.

Would you join us in prayer for future work? Pastor Candido has mentioned that he and the congregation are specifically burdened to reach their entire community for Christ. Specifically they believe The Lord would have them begin a new work (church plant possibly) in one of the first areas our team visited. Second, they would like to consider ongoing ministry in one of the drug/alcohol rehab facilities that was new to him as well as to our team. This facility is not "faith based" but they welcomed us in with open arms and invited the congregation to lead ongoing Bible studies, etc. Would you join us in prayer that The Lord would give direction, discernment, wisdom as to how to proceed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Reality Check, by Savannah Weber

This past May I was given the blessing to once again serve in Tamaulipas, Mexico with Psalm 67 Missions Network. It’s always an amazing time of connecting with other believers as we partner together to share the Gospel.
This trip was a true reality-check for me. The Lord once again revealed how big, powerful, and active He is. As we entered Tamaulipas I was once more overcome by the love of our Mexican brothers and sisters. Indeed, it felt as if I had never left their company, although we had been apart for five (agonizingly long) months. We immediately sprang to work, side-by-side. Out of almost 20 team members, only two are truly bi-lingual, but we always manage to communicate our love and appreciation for one another.
Click photo to see a video of us singing

As we began our work at the small church God’s hand was felt everywhere. It was even more evident as we visited the Christian rehabs. These tiny concrete bunkers were filled with men completely overcome with love for Christ. The most overwhelming sense of God’s presence came at one particular rehab. As we came in they began clearing the floor. One member told us why: “It’s so they can have room to dance”. And dance they did! For close to 20 minutes these men, formerly wasted on drugs and alcohol, danced their hearts out to Christ. No shame. No embarrassment. No holding back. Just 100% praising Christ. A line from one of the dance songs sent chills up my spine. The line was “Yo soy libre” which means “I am forever free”. I shall never forget the presence of God’s spirit in that moment.
God isn’t just working in the churches and rehabs of Tamaulipas. He’s working powerfully in the streets as well. We were able to assist in some of this work through the hands of Pastor Candido. His has such a passion for the lost of his city. Each night he loaded our team up and drove us to a park where we spent almost five hours directing a soccer tournament, which served as a platform for sharing the Gospel. Watching him at work is an amazing blessing. He never stops. He (almost) never gets tired. He has a passion for God’s glory that keeps him moving. He will not rest until everyone in Tamaulipas has heard of Christ. He puts me to shame. How might I see God work in my community if I gave even a fraction of the energy Pastor Candido exerts for his? 
Yes, God is much bigger and working in much greater ways than our American worlds can see. It’s always a blessing and a shock to once again realize the simple truth that God is HUGE! He is working in Mexico, brothers. Will you join me in praying for our family who is laboring there? Will you join me in following their example and stepping out into our own communities? You don’t have to travel far to find chances to serve or to see God at work. He has called us all to leave everything and follow Him. For me it’s been Mexico. For Pastor Candido it’s his own city. What is it for you? Where is God calling you to serve Him?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mexico, May 2014, Soccer

Most mornings in Mexico we visited drug and alcohol rehab centers. In the afternoons we visited parks. 
You couldn't do it in America, but in Mexico we went around to announce a soccer tournament, and each evening a crowd turned up. 

We went to several different fields of grass, concrete, and dust, sometimes chalking lines for boundaries and sometimes dragging a stick. 
While the men headed up the soccer games, the ladies played with the children and shared Bible stories. We drew on their faces, turned cartwheels, played hillbilly golf, and washers. 
Several of the women, me included, were much impressed and moved by the great need that the children showed for love and affection. They flocked to us and hung on us, sometimes hanging on to our t-shirts as we walked. Wherever we went, they came like magnets. 
Even though we couldn't communicate very well, we had fun. Several of the women shared Bible stories with the kids and I (Ellie) gave my testimony to a group of wide-eyed children. If I can give some personal details, I had a captive audience as they heard how I had been rebellious to my parents and hateful toward God. But now they could obvious see that I am happy because I have given up sin, and I gave the gospel as clearly as I could. I also noticed while I talked through the translator that a man was standing nearby and listening carefully. May God bless him! 
During one soccer tournament a group of young men were dancing to the Virgin Mary. It was heartbreaking to see. Not only is it hard to see worship to a false god when our God is so worthy of all the praise, but I saw young men who depended on this dancing for their salvation. They were very coordinated and disciplined. They danced hard and intensely. And they danced for quite some time. 

Interestingly enough, we visited a rehab center later that week where they danced before The Lord. They played music and jumped and clapped for joy. Immediately I compared it to the dancing in the park. In the park they had each moved in time, the steps perfectly memorized, but at this rehab center the dancing was more spontaneous than anything. And what stood out to me most was the joy of the men at the rehab center. Tremendous joy and thanksgiving, not working to get God's favor, but rejoicing to have it. And most importantly, this dancing was in honor of the One True God. 

I know we don't dance as a regular part of our worship service in America -- but maybe we should! 

Back to the soccer games, at each soccer tournament the men took time to gather the young men around and challenge them with the gospel. There was no strategy to make an emotional experience. There was no aim to record great numbers. It was the straightforward simple gospel, and then we challenged the men to commit their lives to Christ. 

The last soccer tournament we held, Wednesday night, the bleachers were filled with young men spoking pot. No attempt to hide it, no nervousness or shyness, just out there in the open together. During the break, Russ humbly and seriously addressed them about it, and though some were high and laughing, others listened seriously. Please pray for those young men, that these words will have a lasting impression on them. At the tournaments we gave out tracks and booklets and Bibles, and the children eagerly received them and promised to read them. 

So for all of the soccer players, spectators, children, parents, and teeter-totter partners, please pray for their salvation. Pray that God may change the hearts of the people to Him and that the work that we have done will not be in vain. Please pray that the words we have said will not fade into the darkness but be a light to destroy it. 


 All photos taken by Billy and Sarah Jackson