This Mission Update is brought to you by…YOU! OK, not you personally but by your many prayers for last week’s mission. A great encouragement for praying is seeing how our prayers are answered. And that is the WHY behind this mission report. Enjoy – and be encouraged!
Mission Update: The Difficulty Factor
In a pre-trip email, I shared an observation with the team. Mission effectiveness and difficulty seem to have corresponding relationship. It goes something like this:
The greater the impact of the mission for the Kingdom, the greater the difficulty in executing the mission.
I shared that thought in the preparation phase. Just getting ready for last week’s mission was challenging. And it had been that way for months (not just a few days!). Others were experiencing the same frustrations in preparing for the mission. I would not learn the extent of that until we were all together last week. In one of our daily team debriefs, a mission volunteer referenced my pre-trip comments. He said those comments encouraged him to keep pressing on in preparing for the mission. And he was extremely glad he had done so.
Update: Leaving & Returning
I often breathe a huge sigh of relief when I finally board the plane. The preparation is done and the team and I are on our way. Well, the pre-trip trials and tribulations weren’t over when we got to the airport. One team member was not able to make a flight connection due to mechanical difficulties with his flight to Atlanta (airline issue). He arrived in-country a day late – and two days ahead of his luggage!!!
That was challenge #1. Challenge #2 was another team member who showed up at the airport with proper ID and ticketing info. Airline’s response: We have no ticket for you. Solution (in the amount of time we had): purchase a new ticket. Are you getting the idea the enemy was getting in the way?
The airline issues had to be addressed while we were working. That work started early Monday morning and it seemed everything was handled correctly. I was a little apprehensive when we checked in at the ticketing desk for our return flight. Murphy’s Law has a way of showing up. There were issues with both of these mission volunteers, but we worked through them at the airport. All arrived safely back home.
Now, with all those challenges and distractions, let me affirm that connection between mission effectiveness and difficulties faced. We had one of the best mission weeks – EVER!!!
Mission Update: Answered Prayer
So many of you are faithful to pray for the mission teams. And there are never enough words to thank you adequately. But you know God works through the prayers of His children. Here are some of the ways He answered last week. Notice I said some of the ways. We never know everything our Father is doing!
Prayers were answered for those we get to teach. We always pray for God to bless the teaching of His Word. And He is faithful to cause His Word to accomplish its purpose. But this past week it was especially apparent that the Word was ministering in hearts of those we taught. That is a great blessing. But there’s more!
A theme began to emerge as we moved through the week. I lead a morning devotion and prayer time for the teams. And our days end with a debriefing/sharing session. Everyone is not together through the entire day. By closing this way, we each get a sense of the entire day and how God is at work.
As a pastor teacher, I know the Word must work in the messenger before it can work in the message. And shared comments over the years verify that the course materials consistently minister to those who teach. But it was different last week. God was definitely at work in our teaching faculty – including me. Every time I put a syllabus together I have those moments of realization, inspiration, and confession – before we go. That was true for last week’s course. But then in the teaching of it, the Lord challenged, convicted, and revived those who taught – according to their own words, not mine. What a blessing and an answer to many prayers.
Protection: What Might Have Been
The outcome could have been different. And noting that is helpful in seeing God’s hand at work. If the difficulties had won the day, what would have been lost?
Think in terms of the mission volunteers. Some of them had never been on an international mission. What did God do in them through the experience? What will be the future result of their experience? Their own testimony says they will view life differently after last week. God is good.
What about the churches represented by the team? Five churches were represented in last week’s team. For one, the week was a venture into a new area of ministry – with a team/mission leader they didn’t know all that well. But, everyone went home grateful for the opportunity to serve and very aware they had received a great blessing in the process. And that was in spite of the challenges. What if the thought had been: The difficulties are just too great.
Those are just a few of the what-if questions. The fact remains, God protected His work (and His workers) from all of that and more. And it underscores a well-known truth found in I John 4:4 –
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
Your Mission Update
So let me ask you: What difficulties are you facing? They aren’t as big as they may seem. And they pale in comparison to the One Who can walk you through them. Keep praying and keep walking!
Soli Deo Gloria!
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