This is the longer version of what God has been teaching me about missions over the last 14 months or so. God’s hand has been all over it, but there have been times that I have been really confused. Here is the timeline:
November (probably) 2009: Tried to book a trip to the Caribbean region for 2010 with the student ministry, but my emails and facebook notes never made it to the leader I was trying to contact.
December 09/Jan 10: Listened to my head pastor about not going to Alaska with World Changers or going international in 2010 and decided to wait to 2011.
June 2010: Started trying to book a trip to the Caribbean region and was able to contact the leader, but we had to wait a few months for school to get started to find out if the ministry was going to fit.
April, June, August 2010: Contacted the IMB and asked about taking a team nearly anywhere, but never heard back from anyone.
September 2010: Found out about an organization going to Haiti! Was pumped about it and it sounded great, so booked the trip, had a good info meeting on it and waited on applications. Not too worried about cholera: it would pass.
October 2010: Got 7 applications in and started planning for a great trip. It’s still a long time to the trip: cholera will pass.
Mid December: Began to have some uneasiness about Haiti, but just kept praying. Cholera will pass.
January 1-5, 2011: Huge reservations after finding out some other stuff that just didn’t seem right. No better opportunities, think I just need more faith and cholera might pass before we go.
January 5-11, 2011: Decided I had to talk to my head pastor about my reservations.
January 11, 2011: Met with Pastor Ted and realized that we needed to go another route. There were pretty serious security issues with the organization we were going with and a pretty large rising difference in philosophy of ministry so we canceled. Cholera really looks like it is not going anywhere. Called Jack Powers, the best chairman of the youth committee anyone could ask for. He shared that he had been praying for almost a month that God would show me we needed to go another route. He didn’t know why, he just did not feel good about it.
January 12-20: Heard about two other organizations that had major issues in Haiti. One canceled two days out from the trip and the other had to fly a private plane in to evacuate their people after 4 extra days of their team not being able to get out of the country. A very confirming thing.
I would love to go to Haiti sometime and demonstrate the love of God and help the church there. The time is just not now. It was another door closed, but this time God opened a great door…
January 3-8: Was in a seminar with some great personnel who serve in Central Asia. Developed a pretty good relationship with them pretty quickly and really developed a very deep respect for some people who are very sharp theologically and pastorally with a heart for the Lord.
January 11: bounced Central Asia off my head pastor and the team. They wanted to explore some other options like Romania, Central America, and maybe East Asia. They also wanted to keep the trip on spring break.
January 12-19: Kept trying other options, and trying spring break, but nothing worked out there and the trip to Central Asia in June came together great. I realized I have close personal contacts with several people who are new in the country and just how close the philosophy of ministry lines up. Decided to bounce Central Asia off the team. The team is largely in favor of it and in June.
January 20: Announced to the church that we are headed to Central Asia in June. Opening up for new team members, but with a team size of no more than 12. Team members must be in at least 9th grade right now and should be prepared to talk/write to me about why they want to go, what they think God will teach them, and how they think God will use them.
Feb. 8th: Applications are due in the church office if you are interested in going with the team to Central Asia. Let me know if you would like an application.
All told, I could not be more pumped about Central Asia! God is doing some amazing stuff there as His servants serve Him faithfully. We will get to do some neat ministry, but we will also get to encourage some faithful servants. This will be a great trip, so prayerfully consider how you can be a part of it. Some of you reading this need to go, others need to give, but all need to pray. So about that Atlanta part:
The church is going to take a family mission trip to help some church plants inside the perimeter of Atlanta during July. Keith and I chatted about it and felt like that it would be best to let that remain a family trip and let the youth take a youth trip another time. We were looking at a week at the end of June, but it just wasn’t working. Once we canceled Haiti, I emailed Jim Haskell the director of the Urban Atlanta Church Planting Network (www.uacp.net).
Jim said April would work great if it worked for us. After realizing we had to go international in June, I talked to Pastor Ted about Atlanta and spring break. All told, the student ministry (middle and high school) will be going to Atlanta over spring break to help out a couple of churches that are faithfully serving the Lord in an urban area. Students and adults are needed for this trip. It will be a great opportunity to see one of the great cities of America and help out some churches that are making helping to reach the hundreds of thousands of people inside Atlanta. We will do an info meeting on this trip in the next two weeks hopefully. As soon as I get more info, I will get it out.
God is doing a lot in our student ministry and in missions. What part will you play in these two great trips? Will you be praying, giving, or going? Ask God what part you need to play as our student ministry tries to partner with people who are reaching the nations by reaching a great multicultural city in the USA and in Central Asia.