Friday, March 25, 2016

If Everything Is Missions



For most of my life I’ve periodically heard the phrase, “you’re a missionary wherever you go.”  I suppose I understand the general meaning behind it, but over the course of leading 70 foreign mission trips I’ve encountered a lot of actual cross-cultural missionaries.  When I see what they deal with every day, and hear their stories, I’m not so sure that what I face when I’m home compares at all.  I can only imagine what it would be like to move my family to the other side of the planet, say goodbye to all friends and family, learn a new language, dress differently, eat strange food, battle exposure to foreign diseases, resort to sketchy transportation to get around, shop for the necessities of life with new currency, struggle with the paperwork and planning of visas, flights, homeschooling their kids, and deal with oppressive political and religious regimes ruling the country—some of whom are determined to eradicate their nation of Christians either by eviction or execution. 


 Missionaries are not overseas to make money; in fact, they live on donations.  Their entire “job” revolves around winning the lost, discipling and training believers, and figuring out ways to meet the physical needs of people: food, water, clothing, education, medicine and health care, abandoned children.  They do this on limited resources, technology, and most are surrounded by practicing false cults and religions. 


 In 1959, Scottish missionary Stephen Neill wrote, “If everything is mission, then nothing is mission.” In other words, if you a “missionary” every day, everywhere, then there is no intentionality.  Jesus purposefully sent out His followers (Matthew 10:16), and He purposefully commissioned the rest of us to “go” into all the world (Matthew 28:19-20). 


Not known as a missionary, Gospel singer and songwriter, Keith Green, astutely observed, “A Christian missionary is a person whose passion is to make the Lord Jesus known to the whole world.  I believe that ‘being a missionary’ in the truest sense of the word is taking the Gospel where it has never been before, or at least to a different culture or a different language group.  A true missionary is someone who will risk everything for the sake of the lost of the world.”


We are Christians wherever we go, and that is certainly not a lesser title; just as being a missionary is not a higher form of Christianity.  In fact, it is a very specific calling.  As Christians, we should be evangelists in our home country, yet if the opportunity presents itself, I shamelessly implore you to join a short-term missions team, or if God asks, then answer the call of long-term [cross-cultural] missions. 2 billion people haven’t heard the name of Jesus once.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Beyond Our Borders

I’ve noticed that while Jesus was on the earth, He was always moving.  He did not stay in His hometown of Nazareth.  In fact, He rarely stayed anywhere for very long.  He was on a mission to reach the hurting, the dying, the sick, the demonized, and the lost.  Were there no lost or sick people in Nazareth?  Most likely there was, but He went out beyond the borders of His home to reach the unreached, the untouchable, those who needed Him the most. 


Global Infusion has already sent out our first mission team of the year. Team Guatemala spent most of their time physically improving a school that does not get government support.  They do, however, preach the Gospel—as did our team.  


Our next team this month will be headed to the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.  Our medical team will facilitate free clinics and share Jesus among the unreached Buddhists, as we trek for miles from one village to another. 


In John 4, Jesus leaves Judah to go to Galilee.  He intentionally stops in Samaria—a very foreign and despised culture to the Jews.  Then He makes His way over to a well, and started a conversation with a Samaritan woman.  This even was not random—it did not occur simply because He happened to be going through Samaria.  It was a God-ordained moment.


Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 

Jesus regularly went to foreign locations to purposely connect with lost people who did not share His cultural background so that they might be saved.  We should do the same.

Friday, January 29, 2016

365



Every January, I think back on the previous year and what God has done through Global Infusion.  In 2015, we sent out 24 mission teams, and launched 2 full-time missionaries.  I think about the hundreds, if not, thousands of lives that were changed.  Many people received Jesus for the first time, and many more received care and the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothes, medical treatment, and education.



It is January again.  On January 1st I thought about how many thousands of people could we potentially reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the next 365 days.  How many more new souls will be in the Kingdom by December 31, 2016.  Well, that all depends.  It depends on how many people will say “yes” to the call of missions.  It depends on how many people will support Global Infusion as we are only limited in our outreaches by the amount of funds we have raised prior to each trip.  It depends on how many of us will pray for the nations.

Go. Give. Pray.   These are the three ways that God can use us to accomplish His will.  In Habakkuk 1:5, God says, “Look among the nations and watch— Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.”

The salvation of people in this world all starts and ends with Jesus, yet He has called us to join Him.  Who will go?  Who will give?  Who will pray? 


It is January, but think ahead.  Before the ball drops on New Years Eve of 2016, wouldn’t you like to say that you were a part of seeing souls reached for Jesus?  People who have never heard the Gospel even once?  How about those who live in abject poverty that do not have government assistance or the resources of the United States?  Those who live in garbage dumps.  Children who begin working full-time in the fields before the age of 10.  Those who fear for their life because of an oppressive political regime or demonically saturated religions in their country that seek to destroy them.  365 days. The clock is ticking. What will you do?


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas for Immigrants and Refugees



Two weeks ago, GI completed our 24th mission trip of the year.  We were in what is now our newest country site: Costa Rica.  While Costa Rica might be known as being on the higher end of the economic scale in Central America, our contacts brought us to a banana plantation where conditions are far from ideal.

While we were there, we learned that 80-90% of the workers are immigrants from Nicaragua looking for work.  The rest are Costa Rican, and all of them are living in poverty.  Most kids barely make it past elementary school.  When we showed up to do a kids outreach, the candy, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring sheets may be all they will get for Christmas.  For their families, food is a higher priority than presents.   

Yet in the midst of poverty, we saw more than a dozen children give their lives to Jesus.

GI also works in partnership with one of our contacts who is helping Syrian refugees.  These refugees are just on the other side of their home country’s border—they flee Syria, and live in Lebanon.  They are in need of food, shelter, medical supplies, and much more.  Thanks to the amazing work our long-time Middle-Eastern contact, we have been able to help many families as they are about to brave a harsh winter—living in refugee camps, wishing they could just go home.

It is not new to bring up the fact that those of us in the first-world probably had a very different Christmas than most immigrants and refugees.   The baby’s birth whom we celebrated this month grew to be a man and said, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (Matthew 25:35-36).  Know that when you support Global Infusion, we are doing exactly that.  Thank you, to all who have given in 2015.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Cost of Missions



As President and Founder of Global Infusion, one of my passions since Day 1 has been to diligently seek the Lord to have Him lead us to our Kingdom assignments around the world.  While there are millions of people doing amazing things for God in many countries, I have learned that there is a big difference between a good idea, and a God idea. 


It is a good idea to evangelize, help the poor, pray for the sick, and be a light in the darkness.  However, when we do so in the time and place that God specifically ordained for us, both the immediate and long-term impact is far more effective.


The cost of missions is high.  I find that it is easy to misinterpret the famous “count the cost” verse in Luke 14:28 as considering the call to missions as optional.  It is not optional.  It is mandated.  We may not have all the resources at our disposal to reach the world, but that should not inhibit us from going.  The longer I’m engaged in missions, the more I meet people of God, indigenous and cross-cultural, who just find a way to make it all happen. They operate in faith.  They have nothing.  Yet they do everything they can to reach the lost, sick, and hopeless.

Money is always one of the first reasons I hear as to why traveling and doing either short or long term missions is not viable.  Distance from home, being away from life, work, school and family are other reasons I have received for not going.


As I write this, my dad has suffered a heart attack while in India on a GI mission trip.  He is in a hospital after having surgery, and I am on my way to be with him and bring him home.  I myself have had more than one IV in a remote village.  Every missionary can tell you war stories, but that is not the point.  The point is that we know the risk.  We know it’s not easy.  We know the funds are not always there.  While these things may be true, the bigger picture is this:  there are lost people in this world who will die in their sin and live eternally separate from God unless someone tells them about Jesus.  That is why we go. 


UPDATE:  I am now back from India.  My father had to have 2 heart operations, and we were able to travel home.  We thank God for several miracles that kept him alive.  Please pray for a full recovery.

 

Friday, October 23, 2015

God’s Faithfulness (A Story)



I have just returned from leading a GI mission team to the country of Ghana, West Africa.  Global Infusion has been working in Ghana for over 10 years.  We have seen God grow the ministry from one small city church, and a few possible village church plants, to a large city church and fifteen village churches.  To say God is faithful is an understatement.  Let’s go back in time.


Pastor Daniel was born one of 24 children in a remote African village.  He was miraculously saved, educated, and became a high level executive at a rubber company (one of Ghana’s main exports).  At the pinnacle of success, Pastor Daniel heard the voice of God to leave his job and reach the villages of Ghana with the Gospel.  So he did, and God was faithful.


The villages of Africa are poor, extremely poor.  Some do not even use money—they barter with each other.  To reach these areas requires nothing short of a calling from God and His anointing, anything less, and a person will fail.  Daniel prayed, and strategized.  He felt the best way to reach the villages, was to plant a city church and use the resources they could generate there to evangelize the remote regions.  His plan worked, and God was faithful.


Every GI team we have sent to Ghana has been a part of evangelizing in unreached villages, as well as facilitating church services to reach the lost.  He has since started a Christian school, which both city kids and village kids can receive a Christ-centered education.  We have sent education teams repeatedly to help him and his staff.  The school has grown, and God has been faithful.


There is no explanation, other than the goodness and faithfulness of God, as to how an impoverished village boy becomes a Pastor and overseer of 15 churches.  If you prayed for my team and I, thank you.  We saw over 100+ people saved, baptized 15 in the Atlantic Ocean, shared the Gospel on a radio broadcast that reaches over 1 million people, and spent many hours teaching impoverished children in our contact's school.  God is Faithful!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Short Term



During my GI missions training sessions with our teams, I typically start with one concept that provides the framework for our trips:  short-term strengthens the long-term.  Our friends, family, and contacts on the ground in the foreign mission field that are there for the long term have a vision from God.  They have a plan for reaching their nation for Christ, but they cannot do it alone.  As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:14, “the body is not one member, but many.”


I believe that when we as Christians realize that we truly are on the same team, only then do we not worry about anyone getting the glory except Jesus.  How do we see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven?  If Heaven is populated by every nation, tribe and tongue, then we must mirror that here on earth—we work together in unity, by the power of the Holy Spirit to see transformation in the lives of people.


It is exciting to watch a mission team arrive in one of our countries where we work, and begin to minister.  They bring energy, joy, and encouragement to the men and women (and their families) that live there long-term.  You can almost see the weariness of a lifetime of ministry begin to fade on the faces of our contacts as they watch a group of people embrace their vision and serve alongside them.


All of life’s problems cannot be solved in a week, or two, or even a month—especially in the areas we work around the world where the living circumstances are dire for those we are ministering to.  However, when GI teams continually show up year after year, and we serve in a godly partnership with those who are serving long-term, we see results.  The lost are reached.  The hungry are fed. The sick are prayed for, receive medical treatment, and recover.


Pray for Global Infusion.  Pray for our staff, volunteers, interns, missionaries stationed overseas and our teams.  Each year we grow and we are sending more laborers out into the harvest field.  Your prayers and financial support allows us to reach those who need Jesus.

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