Adults

Never Give Up When Someone You Love Is Lost

Never Give UP

As much as you love your family members and friends and desire for them to know Jesus, remember that God loves them more and His will is that all should be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

View your personal relationships as your missions field. Be intentional, but avoid appearing judgmental. Guard against being “holier than thou.” Always let your words and deeds be spoken and done in love. Sometimes this is difficult because of age differences and generational cultural changes. However, God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever—a fact people often forget or choose to ignore.

Trading Up: Hurt for Healing

Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace

Bartering was popular when I was a young mother. That was the way we often managed to have better clothes for our children, haircuts, music lessons, or even luxuries such as massages. The idea was to trade with your friends: your talents for their knowledge, your professional skills (i.e., hairdresser) for theirs (i.e., masseuse). Oftentimes we knew we had really “traded up.” We were thrilled with our bargaining powers.

The plan was our way of taking what we had and trading it for what we needed. Using this same principle, Janet Erwin and Murselle McMillan wrote Trading Up: Bible Stories That Move Us from Pain to Peace. This WMU resource is designed, through the use of Bible stories and study guides, to help victims of post-traumatic stress disorder trade up: fear traded for hope, anger for forgiveness, and guilt for truth. Giving pain up to God and receiving His gift of healing in return is trading up at its best.

Transitioning from South Africa to Ghana

Beth Locke had a desire to work overseas, but she never dreamed that God would call her to international mission service. “When I met my husband, he had a strong, longtime call to international missions. We spent 20 months in Eindhoven, [Netherlands], with the [International Mission Board’s] International Service Corps. That time working with internationals and with refugees confirmed that call. Many of the refugees were from Africa. As I have diabetes, the board would only send us a few places. South Africa was one of them, and there was a job request that fit us.”

After 18 years in South Africa, the Lockes will transition to a new area of service in 2016. Alan Locke will be the country catalyst in Ghana. He and Beth anticipate surveying the 9 unreached people groups in the north of the country, working with the local convention, and setting up possible partnerships with American churches. Beth plans to open their home to convention and church leaders, using hospitality to build new relationships with new colleagues.

Missions Inspiration Update: Manny and Jennifer Sanchez

You would think that starting a church in San Diego, California, in May 2013 would be enough to keep church planters Manny and Jennifer Sanchez busy. So how could they even think about planting another church 1,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon?

“We decided when we started that our church would be a disciple-making, church-planting church,” Manny Sanchez said. “Our first church plant is happening in September 2016. We trained up a young man, Anton Fero, and he is assembling a team, training them. We have big dreams for them and pray for a major harvest.”

And in San Diego, the Sanchezes are planning a community Easter egg hunt not only for children but also for adults.

“Downtown San Diego is 60% young adult singles and we want a way of engaging them,” he said.

The family continues their “adopt-a-block” neighborhood program, asking people how they can pray for and serve them. They want to include businesses, asking church members to pray for and serve a specific building. “Our hope is that in 10 years, we will have every single building adopted in downtown San Diego!” Manny Sanchez said.

Using Hospitality to Draw People to Jesus in Indianapolis

From her first visit to Indianapolis in 2008, Amy Rager felt God drawing her heart to the city. But she and her pastor-husband, Barry, were serving an established church in a rural setting in Owensboro, Kentucky, and could not imagine leaving their church for big-city life. Through much prayer and wise counsel, they surrendered to God’s call and relocated their family of 6 to Indy in 2013. Since then, they have established New Circle Church, an inner-city Southern Baptist church plant.

Stealing the Spotlight

You worked incredibly hard on the project, pouring your very best into every detail. You dotted every i and crossed every last t to ensure a successful outcome. Your fingerprints and personal touch are splashed all over the project; anyone could clearly see that you did all the work! But in the grand finale when the house lights went down and the spotlight shone brightly, a colleague stepped in from the shadows to take credit for it all. One spotlight earned yet stolen.

When Jesus called us as His disciples to deny ourselves, He knew that sometimes the cost would be physical, like enduring a beating or going without food or shelter. He also knew that sometimes the cost would be to our egos. If we fail to look at these pride-busting situations with our spiritual eyes, then we won’t recognize these opportunities to deny ourselves for Jesus’ sake and our flesh will win.

Dealing with relationship problems? Ask God to teach you how to deny yourself in every situation and pick up a cross to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

Changes in My Plans

The way forward railway

Less than six months in, I knew the 2-year commitment I signed up for was about to look drastically different than my previous expectations. I moved to the Middle East, with a team I was going to walk alongside and a community that was welcoming me.

The day I found out my supervisors were no longer going to be the leaders of our team, it was clear from this point forward, the next year and a half was about to look very different than what I had in mind.

What we seem to never plan for are the bumps along the way. I don’t think any of us go into a circumstance expecting it to be easy. But few of us go into new situations looking for the potential bumps. We walk in obedience and take each moment as it arrives.

This drastic change in job, leadership, team dynamic, and community made the next year and a half really random to say the least. I moved countries 11 months in and had to readjust to a new dialect and a new cultural order. What initially felt smooth in my transition grew increasingly difficult and, to be honest, really lonely.

No one could have prepared me for what living in the Middle East on my own would have felt like.

Annie’s Example

Have you ever heard of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions? Have you ever heard of Annie Armstrong? Chances are, if you grew up in a Southern Baptist church you would have heard of her each year at this time. If you are new, this might sound like a distant history lesson:

Annie Armstrong was a lay leader in Southern Baptist life in the 1800s. And guess what? She started out in what we would call today myMISSION. By the age of 31, this single young woman was helping to start a mission organization in her home city of Baltimore. She was soon using her gifts at the state and national levels. At the age of 37, she helped start Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and strategically led it to become the global influence it is today. At the age of 55, “Miss Annie” left the organization in capable hands and focused the rest of her life on grassroots works in her city.

Annie was a young woman who changed her city, state, nation, and world. Are there any “Annies” in your myMISSION group?

What could we be doing today that could change our world in our lifetime?

When Motherhood Didn’t Go As Planned

The months leading up to the birth of my first child were filled with expectant planning. I’m a Type A person, so I tackle fear of the unknown by over preparing—I read and research until I’m too informed. Since I’d never given birth or had a child, I spent the months leading up to her arrival by reading all the advice blogs and baby websites I could find. I asked all my mom friends for tips. I made all these plans—I basically knew everything there was to know about having a newborn. Or so I thought.

The first few days in the hospital with her seemed to go smoothly. We were getting to sleep pretty regularly, and she was feeding well. And then we went home. She fought me every time I tried to feed her. She didn’t eat for 12 hours. She started to look jaundiced. I began to panic. Suddenly, things weren’t going as planned. As a first-time mom, I lost my confidence in what I was doing. I gave up on nursing her and we gave her a bottle. She ate and she was healthy. That was all that mattered.

Perseverance and Love

myMission Perseverance and Love

It was 20 degrees outside. I thought my tired shoulders were going to crumble under the weight of a backpack crammed full of Bible story books. My legs were stiff from the cold and from walking over 15 miles the day before.

Resting wasn’t an option. I was following my determined translator all around a small rural town in western Russia. Marat was a fast walker, and if I lost him, I would be all alone in an unknown location with no way of communicating with anyone.

So I walked. And walked. And walked.

Periodically we would stop at a housing complex and leave Bible storybooks in mailboxes, lightening our packs a few books at a time. Occasionally we would see someone outside and speak with them.

The fear of getting lost may have kept my sore legs moving throughout the day. But something else had me getting up out of my warm, cozy bed every morning that week.

My first day in the country, I gave a small teddy bear to a boy whose face lit up the room when he received the gift. On the bear was printed the only Russian phrase I knew: “God loves you.”

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