myMISSION

Shining Through Summer Missions

Even though we strive to let our light shine throughout the year, the summer months provide unique opportunities to creatively bless others and share the gospel.

Sometimes summer missions involves reaching out to children in our community through Backyard Bible Clubs and Vacation Bible School. Sometimes it means traveling to another country to tackle a specific project to help a ministry spread the gospel.

I love summer at my church. From VBS to short-term trips, there are a variety of missions opportunities available for families and individuals of all ages.

I am most excited about a project our myMISSION group is doing—providing food for a staff appreciation event at Cedar Lake Lodge, a local facility for intellectually disabled adults.

Letting Go

“The next ten years, at least,” was always my answer when people asked me how long I wanted to live in the Middle East. Following the greats before me like Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon, I admired the kind of faith and sacrifice they possessed.

My whole life geared toward that moment of stepping on the plane and beginning this adventure I had prayed for, researched, and anticipated.

In that moment, I thought that was the final surrender, to leave behind my family, my friends, my comforts, and my ability to communicate within my culture. I really did think I had reached my one big free fall and everything after was going to be a continuum based off of that jump.

Little did I know the true surrender would happen 2 years later, when God told me my one-way-ticket plan was not His and it was time to go back.

What?

Did I hear this all wrong?

Big Potential from a Simple Invitation

If you’ve grown up in a family that regularly attended church, that’s amazing. It’s also not the norm for many children across America.

I live in the Bible Belt of the South, where it’s easy to assume that everyone goes to church and knows about Jesus. However, this is so not true!

I have been babysitting for a sweet family for about a year. The more I babysat, the more I realized that I didn’t see any biblical-based items around the house—no children’s books with Bible stories, no cross decorations, and no Noah’s ark toy sets.

However, one day in December, I noticed a candy cane with a piece of paper tied to it. The paper explained how the candy cane represented the shepherd’s staff from the Christmas story, and it also looked like the letter “J” for Jesus.

“Where did you get this?” I asked one of the children.

“From the after school Bible club,” he replied. “I go once a week.”

Let Go and Let God

Recently, we learned we needed to take our 15-month-old son to an ear specialist. He’s had nonstop double ear infections for the past several months, and after multiple rounds of antibiotics, it’s time to think about next steps in his treatment. Some of our options include placing tubes in his ears or removing certain parts of his ears, nose, and throat in order to prevent infection. Though the process is painful and unpleasant, it will be a necessary procedure to protect his body from a hostile takeover from toxic organisms.

When There’s No Extra Present

Sometimes the best kind of selflessness is unplanned. We often define selflessness by scheduling time to teach a Bible study, volunteer, or help someone in need.

Don’t get me wrong—all of these things are important, and they are selfless! However, the true state of our heart is tested when God throws us into a situation where we have to act fast. Will we choose to satisfy ourselves, or will we humbly give of ourselves to put others first?

One of my favorite stories of selflessness comes from a high school youth trip several Christmases ago. My church had bought toys and wrapped presents for children at a daycare program in a poor, rural town in Alabama. As the program director called the children’s names to receive their gifts, the children were ecstatic.

However, we soon realized that not all of the children there got a present—only the children who were enrolled in the program for five days a week. Had we known this before, we would have wrapped extra presents for the other children, but it was too late.

The Eyes to See

The hearts of missionaries in full passion is a beautiful thing to behold. In my time in the Middle East, I had the opportunity to encounter the beauty of God’s children loving the nations, their neighbors, and embracing God’s vision for the world.

When I first met Frank* and LeeAnn*, they greeted me with flowers, balloons, hugs, and smiles at the airport. Stepping off the plane to my new home, I had no idea what to expect. When I walked around the corner to this couple holding my name on a handwritten sign, I knew they were my new home.

Frank and LeeAnn were one of the most humble and selfless couples I had ever met, and they loved their Middle Eastern people group. Everywhere they went in the city, they saw people. Any store they entered into. Any person they encountered on the street. Any waiter who took their order was someone for them to love and share Jesus with.

When Praising is Perilous

This Easter, while many of us donned new dresses and enjoyed hearty meals with our families, many believers around the world risked their lives in order to gather and celebrate their risen Savior. One such believer is Julia*. Julia’s husband pastors a church in a country halfway across the globe, and they have young children. Julia wrote to our small group soon after the Easter holiday to update us on their missions work and to request prayer. Julia told us they learned that the country’s officials had ordered special security for their Easter services because they had received credible threats involving attacks to the church. Julia shared with us the challenge of explaining the situation to their children that, even though their very lives might be at stake, they couldn’t neglect the task before them: to share the gospel with the people they’ve been called to serve.

Pause to Celebrate

Sometimes I miss my childhood days when everything seemed to stop for the summer.

For most working adults, jobs, chores, and responsibilities go on straight through summer with little to no change of pace.

Sigh.

OK, enough dreary thinking! The end of the church year is a time to celebrate! Our lives won’t stop for the summer, but we can pause and reflect on what we have learned this year as individuals and through our myMISSION groups.

This year, I can celebrate getting married and launching a new chapter in my professional life. I’ve grown closer to the Lord and developed a more consistent prayer life than I have had in the past. My husband and I have gotten involved in a new Sunday School class where we discuss deep spiritual truths and minister to each other and our community.

Skype ‘Scape

You can meet a missionary! Get some friends to join you and learn about how missionaries do their work in answer to God’s call.

Putting a face on missions is an exciting experience that can help you understand how important your prayer and financial support are. Here are some tips for hosting a successful event featuring missionaries who serve in North America and overseas.

 

What Makes an Event Successful?

1. Begin early. Enlist someone to help you make arrangements to talk to missionaries via Skype. You’ll need to confirm the date, time, and questions you will be asking. Go to namb.net for information about contacting a North American missionary, or to imb.org for info about international missionaries.

2. Make technical arrangements. Ensure connections and monitor are available and sound is appropriate. The success of the event hinges on these arrangements!

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May I Rest?

May . . .

I love May . . .

Warm air, sunshine, flowers, birds, strawberries—even mangos—my local store has mangos! What’s not to love? We have a holiday in May. It’s the end of school. My daughter was born in May. I love May . . .

So why am I tired? I don’t know about you but for some reason, this year, I’m not finding that extra boost of energy and excitement. Everything is good; it’s actually great! My family is great. I am happy, healthy, loving my job, growing in a community, and having opportunities to be on mission. Hmm . . . maybe, this May, I just need a bit of rest.

When you lead something—a group, a family, a trip, anything—you can become tired. I hear it’s OK to be tired. Jesus was tired. He took time to sleep in a boat, walk in a garden, pray alone, go to weddings, talk with friends, and even rest at a well.

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