Tuesday, July 15, 2014

on sending

Ixchigaun, Guatemala
I've been on mission trips to Egypt, India, and Haiti. 

I've worked on the front lines in East Asia for years.

And now, I'm selling everything, packing up and moving to a remote part of Guatemala to spread the Gospel to an unreached people group.

Well, okay, maybe I'm not actually the one doing these things, but inasmuch as I have prayed, given, supported, and encouraged, I have been part, even a vital part, of what God is doing through my friends as cross-cultural missionaries.  And inasmuch as you've done these things, you've been a part, too. 

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"  Romans 10:14-15, emphasis mine

As part of our preparation in sending our friends the Hardisons to Guatemala, I've begun reading Neal Pirolo's book, Serving as Senders, and through it I believe the Lord is reaffirming my calling to serve Him in this way.  In the book, Pirolo's words struck home and maybe this is for you, too:

"God's call on your life to serve as a sender must be just as vibrant as the call on the life of the one you send.  Likewise, the commitment you make must be as sure as that of  your cross-cultural worker.  The responsible action you take is as important as the ministry your field worker performs.  And the reward of souls for His Kingdom will be equal to your missionary's, as long as you are faithful to the task He has given you to do."

the Hardisons - photo credit Sarah Baker Photos
Our friends are going to be learning Spanish first.  Next, they will begin to build relationships with the Tajumulco Mam people in the (very rainy) region in which they will serve.  The T-Mam people speak their own tribal Mayan language and as my friend Kayla would say, their language "ain't no fiesta."  Only the book of Luke has been translated into their language. Our friends will be using a community health evangelism strategy of sharing the gospel, seeking to identify community leaders with whom they can work alongside to help with problems such as malnutrition and public health.  They will open their home to be a neutral ground as their is no word for "forgiveness" in the T-Mam language.  There are many challenges:  idol worship, syncretism, drug trade, and hopelessness.  As I was listening to Paul and Bethany talk about about all the obstacles they will face, it seemed that this mission is impossible at best and fatal at worst.  Impossible and fatal, except for the power of God that is, His light and truth and love testifying and changing things like only the Lord can.  Except for that.

And that's why it is so important that we don't just write a check and send these friends on their way.  (Although of course writing checks is a really important part that I pray that you will do if not with the Hardisons, then with and for another cross-cultural missionary!)  There is so much more for us to do if we are really to be the Body of Christ, using our gifts in symbiotic ways to fulfill the Great Commission.  We must encourage, plan and administrate, give, pray, communicate, and help as we are able with the gifts we've been given.  He is more than able to accomplish this task without our help, but God in His wisdom has chosen to partner with us to reveal Himself and His love to all people of the earth. 

Let's do this thing.  Together.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."  Ephesians 3:14-21


Jack said...

Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just caught up on a month of Chaney life and loved every picture and word! Miss you and love you, CDC! --Rendi