Adults on Mission

On Mission in Jerusalem

In my church we are constantly seeking ways to be involved in missions. Our Director of Missions and other church leaders work together to provide activities for each month in our schools, nursing homes, hospice, shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, Thanksgiving and Christmas outreach to needy families, and associational missions. We also reach out to the military, veterans, police officers, and firefighters.

Our pastor selects an IMB missionary and a NAMB missionary for our focus each month. We learn about the missionaries’ work and where they are serving. Some women connect with them online and maintain lasting relationships. He also brings missionaries to speak at our church and encourages us to be missional in our community as well as around the world.

IMB and NAMB appoint and commission missionaries to serve in the United States and around the world, but God has appointed every one of us to serve in our church family and community. Are you on mission in your Jerusalem?

Seeing the World Around Us

When my husband first became a pastor, we attended a language ministries conference. I was overwhelmed with the love I witnessed
among the people in that meeting. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV). God had sent the world to our doorstep, and to every nation He had given special people to love them and minister to them here in the United States.

Today we are automatically positioned to see the world around us—at grocery stores, medical offices, restaurants, the post office, theaters, and schools. Do you see them—those new to the country, struggling with the language, trying to fit into a foreign culture? They say loneliness is one of their biggest problems. They are waiting and watching for a friendly face that cares about them as a person.

The Blinders Are Off

I grew up in rural North Carolina in a small town that was similar to the fictional Mayberry. Farming and fishing were the main industries, and families working together brought a closeness and a feeling of security that you cannot find today. Everyone knew all their neighbors on a first name basis—doctors, lawyers, merchants, farmers, fishermen—it didn’t make a difference. It was a stable, comfortable life, and my husband and I were only vaguely aware of the evil all around us until we had children.

During the 1970s we became deeply concerned about the changes we saw taking place in the world our children would inherit! The cultural changes in families, the increase in divorce, the use of drugs and alcohol, and the “anything goes” attitude of the younger generation. However, our children were still young and the evils we saw and heard about on radio and TV seemed far away from us—no need to worry—or so we thought.

A TV pastor said, “Don’t worry. The pendulum swings; this will pass.” But it didn’t pass. The blinders were off! We began to pray for revival in our country and the protection of our children.

A Mission’s Drive

It’s that time again! Time to set aside our Christmas offering for international missions. I confess I never really paid too much attention to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® that my church promoted every year. Sometimes I would write a check, but I didn’t always.

That changed when my husband’s brother received an appointment as an international missionary. That’s when I discovered the importance of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

My brother-in-law’s family spent 10 years in Malaysia. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering provided financial support and helped them fulfill their mission.

Missionary families depend on the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for their ministry and livelihood. For those of us who can’t go, giving is one way we can help fulfill God’s commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). 


Sandra Knox Miller writes from her home in Sylacauga, Alabama. 

 

 


 

Opening Doors in Difficult Times

There are so many reasons that living in South Sudan would be difficult. Civil war has been a part of life for decades. First the southern part of Sudan fought with the northern part until it broke away in 2011. Then disagreements between factions in the new government began to escalate into violence.

But for missionary Carrie Lewis, those concerns are just the background noise that she lives with daily in South Sudan. She also has to forgo the luxuries of a hot shower or an occasional fast-food meal. Since her family lives far from any large cities and relies on solar power in its home, life takes on a much slower pace.

The Lewis family, originally from northeast Louisiana and southeast Texas, is ministering to the Toposa people of South Sudan. Life among these people is not only slow but also very relational, Carrie said. “If you are on the way to go somewhere and a visitor stops by, you are expected to stop everything and visit as long as the visitor wants.”

Reaching a Salad Bowl of Cultures in L. A.

If you asked Send City missionary Robby Pitt which people groups he was trying to reach, he would have a hard time giving a short answer. The city of Los Angeles is so diverse in so many ways that it would be hard to pin down.

Just start with the size and the population. “Greater L. A. has over 19 million people,” Pitt said. Those people are spread over a vast geographic area that includes 70 miles of coastline, large areas of desert, and the 10,000-foot Mount Baldy. The city has 4 million people in 114 neighborhoods. The county as a whole has 10 million, with 88 cities.

Then consider the language barriers Pitt faces. “Over 55% of the population speaks a language other than English at home.” And knowing a little Spanish would not solve the problem—as many as 224 languages are spoken in Los Angeles County.

“I have learned so much about the world right here in L. A.,” Pitt said. “I especially enjoy serving alongside of church planters.” Some come from outside the city, and Pitt helps them learn the culture. But the indigenous church planters have been called from among their own people.

Cultural Exchange: Invite an International College Student Home for Christmas

Imagine being a college student from India, China, or Uganda studying in America. Everything is strange and new. Then, the second week in December, there is a mass exodus from the campus. Your roommate, everyone in the dorm, and the professors are going home for a holiday called “Christmas.” At the mall, there are festive decorations, people scurrying to buy gifts, and children in line to see a fat man in a red suit, while chipmunks sing about hula hoops.

For the more than 723,000 international college students, the typical Christmas hype in America may be confusing and weird. Unfortunately they may never experience the true meaning of the season.

“Many international students never visit in an American home,” said Phyllis Hoover, coordinator for international student services at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. “For those who do so, they feel especially fortunate.”

This Christmas, make an international student’s season merry and bright. Invite him or her to come “home for the holidays.” Plan an afternoon or evening get-together:

Missionary Spotlight Update: Brian and Becky Harrell

Former local witch doctor Adelina is still following Christ. Shortly after her conversion, she came to a meeting covered in painful boils. Becky Harrell was teaching about how following Jesus is not always easy. When Becky spotted Adelina sitting in the dirt, covered in boils, she thought she would use Adelina as an example of faithfulness in hard times. So Becky asked Adelina, rhetorically, if following Jesus was easy.

Adelina responded, “Yes. It is easy.” Becky thought she must have misunderstood the question and asked her again. Adelina had the same reply and added, “Before I followed Jesus, I used to live in fear of the spirits, but now I have peace.”

In a village where Adelina shared her testimony, an old woman gave her life to Christ. This woman’s family had hired a witch doctor to build a spirit hut for her to help her through severe sickness. When she came to Christ, she demanded that the spirit hut be torn down despite her family’s threats of not taking care of her and making her pay back the money that had been spent to build the hut.

A World Day of Prayer

A few years ago I had the privilege of speaking at our Associational WMU luncheon held in observance of the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer. What made that day memorable for me was not that I was the guest speaker, but what I learned through my preparation.

My text was from the book of James about Elijah’s prayer life. The phrase that captured my attention said that Elijah was just like us (James 5:17).  Elijah was a prophet. He did so many extraordinary things that I never thought of him as just an ordinary man. But that’s what he was. There was nothing special about him. Yet, his prayers affected the forces of nature.

When we gather to celebrate the World Day of Prayer, the Lord is listening to us just like he listened to Elijah. Our world needs prayer—now more than ever before. Let’s be faithful to join together and pray for our nation and our world.


Sandra Knox Miller writes from her home in Sylacauga, Alabama. 

Reach Out and Get Connected

I am technologically illiterate. I watch with envy as my daughters save money using their cell phones to find bargains and digital coupons while shopping. With social media, they stay in touch with childhood friends living hundreds of miles away. Even my grandchildren text and talk with each other face to face on their parent’s cell phones.

I’m trying to learn how to be “connected” like everybody else. I’ve learned I can be intentionally present through social media. People ask for prayer. Sometimes they even share problems.

We can respond by promising to pray and by sharing words of encouragement. We can text or message them a prayer or a Bible verse.

We can send notes of encouragement. Even in this technological age, people still love to receive handwritten notes. Taking time to write and mail a note communicates concern and lets them know we care.

Not all of our internet friends know the Lord. So, let’s use our connections to share our testimony whenever and wherever we can.

 

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