myMISSION

Loving for the Long Run

She’s the girl who doesn’t realize her boots went out of style three years ago. She’s the girl who constantly brags about her accomplishments and drives you crazy. She’s the girl who knows she’s an outcast. She’s also the girl who has no clue what people say behind her back.

We can all think of someone like this, and our first inclination is usually not to love them. Instead of saying, “She looks like she needs a friend,” we think, “I hope she doesn’t sit next to me!”

Jesus says that people will know that we are His disciples if we love one another (John 13:35). So how do we love people? By inviting them to dinner one Friday night, helping them study for an upcoming test, or stopping by their dorm room to ask how their day went.

These are all great ways to reach out to people, but they’re only the first steps to developing a relationship. If all we do is invite someone to hang out for 30 minutes, is that showing them that we really care?

The Man I Admire

Unlocking the door, I walk into my home after a long day at the office. The floors are swept, the house dusted, the dishes are clean and there he is—smiling, welcoming me home.

His acts are never done in order to be praised, he sees a need and he will work as long as it takes to complete it. Staying late at church he makes sure all the trash is picked up from the youth group. He is always the first to volunteer to carry in boxes, set something up, or volunteer for an event.

If I’m being honest, humility is not something I have consistently prayed after in my life. I’ve struggled with how it is embodied and wanted to learn how it plays out in day-to-day life—then I met my husband.

It is so not about him.

He will serve until everything is done. He doesn’t desire to be praised, it is simple for him; his desire is to live a life of excellence before the Lord, honoring Him in everything he does.

My Secret Gift

When I was in second grade, I grew my hair out to donate it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. By December, I finally felt like my hair was long enough to cut off eight inches. My aunt is a hairstylist, and she agreed to give me a haircut at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Day.

When I first looked in the mirror after I heard the loud snip, I was taken aback by the drastic difference. My hair was short! But when Aunt Jen handed me an 8-inch ponytail, a warm feeling of excitement bubbled up from inside me. Someone with cancer was going to wear my hair.

Pretty soon I was flitting about my grandparents’ house, getting oohs and ahs from all of my family. “Rachel, your haircut looks so good,” they told me. “And that’s amazing that you’re donating it to help people. How cool!”

It didn’t take long before my head (not my hair) started to grow. Later that afternoon my Nana pulled me aside. “Rachel, I’m very proud of you,” she said, “but I want you to remember something. The Bible says that when we give, we should give in secret. The best part is that God is watching, and He will reward you” (Matt. 6:1–6).

Language Learning

My gifts are teaching, speaking, and writing. I have known two of these for a while and one was just beginning to develop back in 2011 when I stepped on the distant soil of Madagascar. I was anxious to develop relationships and share the gospel with anyone who would listen. That was, until about ten minutes later as I went through customs and realized no one could understand anything I was saying.

For the first couple of days, it was entertaining. It was almost comical how much we could not understand and how little we could communicate (unless it was in the form of pointing and gestures). Soon though, our lack of communication became part of our motivation to learn the language and to learn it quickly! Over the next six months, we were in formal language school and once we passed our final exam; we moved to the town where we would do ministry. I began to understand that I would indeed never be out of language school . . . it may not be formal but there would always be something new to learn.

Eight Things You Need to Know About Lottie Moon

Many people in our Baptist churches ask each year, “Who is Lottie Moon?” Others have been giving money in her honor for so many years they ask, “When will ‘the debt’ to her ever be paid?”

Let’s learn a few things about Lottie Moon.

Christmas and Missions

Growing up in a Baptist church there are two distinct times of the year that I remember different looking offering envelopes in the back of the church pews. It was around Christmas and Easter. These special offerings are named for two past servants of Jesus on the missions field, abroad and at home—Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. These two offerings then and today provide for the missionaries who serve “at home” (North American Mission Board, or NAMB) and “abroad” (International Mission Board, or IMB).

During December, WMU® provides an excellent resource to intentionally explore an international missions field and its needs. This year the focus is Indonesia. I am super excited about the literature and resources they have available to explore all the areas of this country; it will be like taking a trip minus the airfare.

Taking Christmas on the Road

Our group had just been formed two months before Christmas when I threw out the idea of taking a Christmas program to an assisted living facility. With all the rush in December, I was surprised when they jumped on it. The emails and texts flew as we began assigning tasks.

The Saturday morning arrived. One of our members brought her whole family—husband and 2 preschool children. Another mom who heard about the project drove over with her 2 young children as well. We had all ages who gathered that day.

Once the residents gathered, we began by singing some familiar Christmas carols. One of our members read the Christmas story from the Bible. I took the picture book, The Legend of the Candy Cane, and read it to the residents as one of our members’ daughter turned the pages so that everyone could see. Afterwards we talked about the symbolism in the story (which really is more suited for the adult residents’ understanding than for children) and the reminder of God’s love for us at Christmas through this simple candy.

Just Checking In

About a year and a half ago, our family found itself in a large first world city in Africa. We were there for medical appointments and were able to stay in an apartment complex with other missionaries. There was one woman who lived there year round due to the ministry that her husband led. When I hear the word humility I think of her.

Lee is a beautiful woman full of grace and truth. She speaks and you are wise to listen. She spoke wisdom into my heart during a time when I needed to hear it. She had me over for deep conversations and prayer. She invited me over to watch her favorite movie. She had our whole family over for dinner the night we flew in because she knew we would be tired and hungry. She is one of my favorite people.

Her humility exalts the Lord in all she does. Lee is real and honest in a world that is incredibly easy to be fake in. She is a hugger and I would absolutely love one of those hugs right now. I can see her smile and the wave of her hand as she would walk by, "just to check in.” I am grateful for her heart, her love for others, and her humble way of living her life.

Words of Wisdom

Is there a particular phrase that you can recall hearing more than most from growing up? For me, the words “Be thankful and have a humble heart” come to mind. Whether in school, church, or in the community these are words that have resonated with me even into adulthood.

There are times when the scale of humility teeters from modesty/not prideful to not worthy/no credit deserved. It is important to understand the context in which we use the words humble and humility and where our heart is in the process.

As children we are quick to be prideful because our world revolves around us. It is important to teach humility to our children. As we get older, humility can be seen more as “the quiet, silent type”; shown by individuals who address a need or concern and do not make it a public announcement. They know the need or concern being addressed is far greater than the need of drawing attention to themselves.

Where Is My Confidence?

Plopping down in the back row of my all-day training, I was planning on relaxing while listening to the day’s sessions. Taking notes, while making side comments to my neighbors, I didn't expect what was going to happen next.

A man I had never met before, who was taking a new position, came to introduce himself and share his testimony. After a few funny slides of his wife and children flashed on the screen, he had my attention. He shared his journey to faith and to ministry, and then he flashed an unexpected verse on the screen:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jere. 17:7–8 NIV).

He began to dissect the verse, sharing with us how it mattered to his journey to live God's Kingdom out in His day to day life. His points passed through my ears, while my eyes welling with tears stared at the verse on the screen.

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