Adult Team Blog

Trust Him as You Reach out to Someone New

young woman reaching out

With summer here in full force, maybe it is a good time to ask, “How are you doing?”

If you are like me, then you are feeling a bit behind on keeping up with the details. Or maybe you have everything planned out and are able to enjoy time with people. Either way, it is comforting to know God is in control and He has a plan.

The summer may not go exactly how we have planned, but God is bigger than our plans. And He is always doing something new, something more than we have imagined, something with potentially eternal results both in our lives and the lives of those around us. How comforting. How exciting.

Try Something New: Explore Cultures

two women sitting at table

Cultures are unique aspects of groups who share specific backgrounds or geographical locations. While some cultures vary more than others, every culture has unique customs and beliefs.

Meeting and befriending people from different cultures can be valuable and rewarding. By taking the time to get to know someone completely different from you, you may see many opportunities for gospel conversations arise naturally.

When it comes to learning about new cultures,

My (Not-So-Little) Sphere of Influence

woman on rock platform viewing city

I shifted my weight in my chair during lunch as the speaker encouraged us to consider our roles and write down our circles of influence on a sheet of paper. Well this won’t take long, I thought to myself.

My paper ended up with wife, family member, friend, and employee scribbled on it shyly and slowly so those around me wouldn’t be able to tell how short my list was.

As a young professional, I consider my roles and my routine pretty simple. I go to work, get home around dinnertime, and spend time with my husband. On the weekends, we go to church and sometimes hang out with family or friends. My circle of influence seemed pretty small.

Surely there was more going on outside my comfortable bubble.

Around that time, the Holy Spirit began to convict me about my “boring” routine and how I use my time. Conviction came in the form of Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV):

Go, Make Disciples

mother taking children to playgound

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.” —Hudson Taylor, missionary to China

We like routine. Routines are good for us, for our children, and for our overall predictability of life. Typically, we shop in the same places, eat in the same restaurants, and go to church with people who are familiar to us. We drive the same routes, run the same paths, and keep a pretty consistent schedule of events from year to year.

As a pastor’s wife, it’s easy for me to find myself surrounded by believers (or those who have heard the gospel) all the time. It takes effort for me to look beyond the people of our church and in my immediate circles to see the unreached surrounding us next door.

The Book of Matthew tells of how Jesus reached out to those who were diseased and afflicted—those in need of healing and a Savior. These people were probably not a part of His normal routine. They were outside of His usual crowd of disciples.

Sharing Life: Develop a Heart for the World

people at a dinner table

Anyone who knows Charity Powell knows her heart for the world. Those who don’t know her soon learn. A world map in her office pinpoints past mission trips. Strings crisscross to photos with special meaning for each trip. As she points, Charity describes people and needs in each location—11 countries she visited in 11 months during a World Race to share Jesus and encourage believers. Tears fill her eyes as she recalls the man from Thailand who prayed 30 years for a church. She tells of Asian friends in New York City’s Jackson Heights. A bottle filled with an olive branch, rocks, a piece of a raft, and an orange heart-shaped piece of a life jacket from Greece’s Lesvos beach stands on the table underneath her map.

For a long time, refugees were not on Charity’s map. “I knew if I paid attention, I’d end up in Lesvos.” However, after helping with a refugee fund-raiser, she acknowledged, “The Lord gave me feet to go.”

Qualified to Do Missions

people walking across a crosswalk

When I was 16, I traveled with my church’s youth choir to Minneapolis to partner with a church in the inner city. Our purpose for being there was to help the church in its efforts to reach its community. While we were there, our group had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor cookout and concert for the neighborhood. The turnout was amazing; we saw people encouraged and loved and supported. We saw people come to Christ. The Holy Spirit was working in big ways.

While many parts of that evening were impactful, something that stood out to me was watching how God moved through my peers. I remember watching my church family serving this neighborhood and seeing how God was using each member to serve people in unique ways. I was blown away watching them be vessels of God’s love. And it was by watching them that I understood that missions is the call for every Christian.

I Was Blind, but Now I See

Rwandan children in poverty

At the beginning of this year, I traveled to Rwanda to study economics for 10 days. This trip opened my eyes to a level of poverty I had never seen before. Yet I witnessed radiant joy in the midst of desperate circumstances. People were enthusiastic and welcoming, even to a complete outsider like me. Children’s faces would light up when they saw my group and me, and they would immediately start waving at us.

Walking into a situation like this, it is easy to think that we have all the answers and resources to help people. Since we live so far removed from the harsh realities facing different people around the world, it is especially easy to fall victim to thinking we can “fix” situations and people. However, that is something only God can do.

Experience Something New Somewhere New

group of young women holding hands

June is an amazing month. So many celebrations occur—the end of a school year, graduations, weddings, and more. Then, there is the beginning of summer with new plans, opportunities, and routines. June is kind of in between. There is the finishing of one thing, perhaps a deep breath, and the starting to prepare for what’s next. What’s June like for you? What’s next? What has God planned for you this summer?

Many may have the opportunity to try something new, perhaps to find a change of scenery. It helps us to expand our borders, get outside of our own box, meet new people, and experience something new. Many prefer to learn in this active way—by experience.

Near and Far: Sharing the Gospel in New Places

praying hands

My heart beat wildly as I felt the plane wheels hit the runway on that late October night. After almost a day of traveling, I was anxious to get off the plane and hit the ground running in South Asia again.

I wondered many times if I’d ever get to return to this area after my first summer there, and by God’s provision, I was there again. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to God and stepped off the plane into what has been one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding seasons of my life.

Before coming to South Asia a second time, I never thought I’d attempt to learn a new language and culture in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I never thought of myself as someone who’d go up to a student I didn’t know on a college campus and share the gospel.

I was fortunate to grow up learning about other religions and the cross-cultural workers who gave their lives to share the gospel with people who followed other gods. But never did I think that I would get to be a cross-cultural worker like the ones I learned about.

Embrace the Nations as Your Neighbors: Help Refugees Dream Again

woman grocery shopping

My favorite grocery store remodeled recently to my frustration. Imagine your first visit to an American grocery store after spending several years in a refugee camp. Add in a language barrier, and a task we take for granted can be overwhelming.

Refugees entering the United States come seeking housing, schools, jobs, and community. Displaced by violence and persecution, most refugees lost belongings and even family members to arrive in crowded camps with limited resources and then wait up to 10 years before resettling in a receiving country. Fear of the unknown often accompanies relocation to the US, increasing stress and often leading to anxiety disorders—including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—may surface within a few months of arrival in their new home. Refugees may have suffered a loss of self-esteem and the ability to dream, and many are living in survival mode.

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