Tag Archives: missions trip

Small Things Are A Big Deal

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On our fifth day in Haiti, what we had planned changed and we learned to be flexible. We arrived at Myan first. They gave 5 of us shovels and gardening rakes. We split up, climbed to the roof of each building and scraped them clean of rocks. It was hard work in the burning sun. With no breeze and very few clouds, we had to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. I started to feel bad that we all needed to take so many breaks, but it was necessary to keep going. It’s a lot like prayer and reading the Bible. Your spirit man requires them to keep going and to stay fresh.

While we were doing that, another group gathered the children together on one of the porches. They sang with the kids and did a Bible lesson for them. It was great to be up on the roof watching as they held those kids during that time. We weren’t just meeting their spiritual needs, but that team was meeting their need for love and physical contact. By holding those children, they were showing them that they are accepted and loved. Most had one or two kids in their laps and others on every side up against them.

Another team went inside the building we have been painting all week. They were able to go in and paint all the accent colors on the walls, window sills, door jambs and columns. It’s a night and day difference with the new colors. Their cafeteria / meeting room will be a relaxing place where they will enjoy good food, great company and experience an all mighty God. I kept imagining all the children who will go through there and be feed physically and spiritually. To be a part of something so small is a big deal. We all want to do great things for God, sometimes those great things look like insignificant things.

While all of that was going on, another child was brought to us. They were asking if we could take him. I didn’t get to hear his story from where I was working. What I did see was them introducing him to a group of children in the same boat and those kids welcoming him. There were smiles all around as if to tell this boy he just hit the jackpot without even knowing it. He won’t have to worry about where his next meal will come from, if he’ll be able to go to school, where a clean water source is, where he’s going to live, if he can afford medical treatment or if he’ll be able to get a job one day. When you take those worries away, by doing what we do, he has the chance to just be a kid.

We left mid day to come back to the guest house to pick up cupcakes that several of our team members made and presents. We went to the Gonaives orphanage with them and celebrated birthdays for the kids who had one in March. Each child that had a birthday this month was brought out front. They were asked how old they were and what would they like from God this year. We then prayed and asked God to give it to them. After prayers, we sang “Happy Birthday”, handed out cupcakes and gave them each a present. It was beautiful to see these kids beam with pride as we honored them.

We went next door to play basketball while the orphans watched and cheered us on. We then headed back home, ate dinner, got more cupcakes and headed back to Myan. The local children we’re let into the orphanage and our team had double duty on loving children. We went into the building we had been painting all week and celebrated birthdays there with cupcakes and a movie night. As the movie went on, one by one the kids fell asleep until there were only a few awake at the end. We sent them to bed and rode home looking at the stars in such a remote place.

There is a lot of poverty here, but there is also great beauty. Each day as we work, I’m reminded of the work God does in our lives. We don’t always recognize it or know what He’s doing. Everything He does though, is for our good. Sometimes we need the rocks cleaned off our roofs so He can grow us and take our lives to the next level. Sometimes he gives us a fresh cost of paint. He makes us feel good inside and that reflects on our outside. Other times He simply loves on us, holds us and let’s us near Him just so we can feel loved and know we’re free to be His children. Each of us were spiritually orphaned and have the ability to be adopted by God. Instead of it being His choice, He makes it ours. We have to accept His love and offer of adoption. When we do, we become joint heirs with Christ, His son.

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Let Go Of Fear, Be Used By God

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We started our fourth day in Myan. We picked up right where we left off. One team went back in to keep painting and the other team went to finish staining the bed rails in the girl’s rooms. A group of freshly hired nannies showed up for orientation. They started with prayer and a beautiful song. While they met and others painted in the same room, I began cleaning paint off the floor with a few others. As I scrubbed, I began to think how my own sins have stained my life. I’ve tried to wash them off on my own with limited results. Nothing I do can ever erase them, but God’s love, like the paint thinner we were using, can wipe away the stains.

As the day progressed, it got hotter. The wind wasn’t blowing either which made for a tough day. When we got through painting the walls and the others were through staining, we met outside to play with the kids. Everyone stayed on the porch in the shade. As I walked around, I saw three small children taking a nap on a blue carpet outside of their room. They were so peaceful. When I got on another porch, I found more orphans asleep on the chests of our team members. I thought of the rest we get when we trust God fully in our lives. When the fires come and life gets hot, we can rest assured that God will take care of us. We just need to crawl up on His chest to rest in the assurance of who He is.

In the early afternoon, we came back to the guest house to grab a sand which, grab things for the Gonaives orphanage and to get some reprieve from the heat. Not long after arriving at the orphanage, the kids, orphans and locals, all came running. We sat them on a hill and one of our students told them the parable of the Lost Sheep. She told them that wherever they went in life, no matter what happened, Jesus would always be looking for them. We then played Marco Polo on the soccer field to illustrate the point. It wasn’t long until Marco Polo turned into a soccer match.

In the evening, we came back to the guest house, cleaned up and ate my favorite meal here, roasted goat. We met on the balcony for service. God spoke during that time and challenged us to let go of the fear that keeps us from true worship. He wanted us to let go of the fear of what others might think and to let to of the fear that keeps us from talking about him. The students began to share what God laid on their hearts. They began to share why they came and what they wanted God to do. One said she was afraid she’d be a nobody in life, but found that no one who serves God will ever be a nobody. We are heirs to the King of Kings, princes and princesses.

We all struggle with sharing our faith at times. If we can’t share with other believers, how can we ever share with the world? We should be so full of Jesus that He leaks out of us wherever we go. We have to learn to let go of the fear of what others will think of us, push past that feeling like we’re going to explode and just speak. God will do the rest. It’s not our words that change people’s lives. It’s His love and His spirit that draws them in. We are merely vessels used by Him. We only work when we’re full of Him, are willing to open up and are poured out. Don’t be afraid. Let Him use you today.

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Living A Wrecked Life

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I have the privilege of taking teams on mission trips a couple of times a year. Before I take anyone to Haiti, I give them this warning: Your life will be wrecked. Someone inevitably asks me what that means. I tell them something happens to you when you physically become the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these. Your life, your mission, your thought process all change when you give what’s in your hand to someone who can never pay you back. There’s a feeling of satisfaction like you’ve never experienced in doing the Father’s will. There’s a joy unspeakable that comes from holding an orphan’s hand knowing you’ve just become their “blanc”.

Things you’ve done your whole life just don’t seem fulfilling anymore. It’s difficult to go back to your day to day life knowing that the things you do there have little to no eternal value. I’d rather be working in the Haitian heat doing something that matters for eternity than to sit in an air conditioned office trying to decide where I’m going to go for lunch. I can’t even wash a bug off my windshield without thinking how the people of Myan have to walk six miles for drinkable water like the water that I’m using on an insect. It’s not easy living a wrecked life, but it’s a fulfilled one.

It’s one where you give all you have for all He wants. When you allow the scales of selfishness to fall off your eyes, you suddenly see this life was never about you. It’s always been about helping others. It’s been about giving what you have. If you look closely at what God does, you’ll see that He gives (see John 3:16). I believe He expects us to do the same. He put in us a feeling of satisfaction that only comes from giving. That’s why Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” When you give yourself, your time, your prayers or your money, you open yourself to being wrecked by God’s blessings.

God has placed in each one of us the desire to live a wrecked life. For some, that only comes from being on the ground in Haiti or some other part of the world being the hands and feet of Jesus. For some, it’s giving so that those who have the need to go can go and fulfill their mission. For others, it’s praying for those who go and give. They fight the unseen battle that rages over the lost person’s soul. Each of us have our lives wrecked when we fulfill our role in fulfilling the Great Commission. When we each do our part, we’ll each hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What’s your part in giving? If you want to have your life wrecked by God, ask Him what role He wants you to play in fulfilling the Great Commission. If it’s to go, organize a mission trip for your church and go. If you’d like to go to Haiti to work with orphans, email missions@coreluv.org. If it’s to give, find someone who is going on a trip and give towards their trip. You can also give monthly support to any full time missionary. They’d appreciate it very much. If it’s to pray, dedicate time each day to pray for those fighting on the front lines. They can feel your prayers and it gives them strength to go on. When you do your part, you give others the ability to do theirs and all of will live wrecked lives like God intended.

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What Are You Building?

I was looking at some old photo albums at church last week when I came across one from 1993. It was pictures of my first mission trip where we went to a small village in the heart of Mexico to build a church. Not only was I 20 years younger, I was 20 years skinnier! As I flipped through the pictures, I got excited all over again. I remembered the fun I had, the blessings I received, the people we touched and the work we did. I spent more time on that trip building relationships than building the church building.

That trip not only got me excited for a lifetime of doing missions work, but also taught me the value in building relationships. I believe that the best way to grow the church is through relationships. When you look at the ministry of Jesus, that’s what He did. He went place to place building relationships with the people He came into contact with. He focused His ministry on building the kingdom not buildings.

Paul is another great example of someone who built their ministry on relationships. All the books in the New Testament that he wrote were to people and churches he had relationships with. You can’t speak to people the way he did without having first built a relationship with them. He not only spent time ministering in places he went, he spent time working beside fellow believers. He wasn’t just trying to preach to a large crowd, get an offering and leave. He was investing in the people he was ministering to.

If it was good enough for Jesus and Paul, shouldn’t it be good enough for us today? How many of us truly spend quality time getting to know others we’re ministering to or with? In I Corinthians 3, Paul said that some plant seeds, some water and some harvest. Planting, watering and harvesting are all done through relationships. The harvest doesn’t come unless someone has invested time in a relationship planting seeds and watering them.

If God’s desire is to have a relationship with you and me, shouldn’t we desire to have relationships with others? The underlying story of the Bible is God trying desperately to find ways to connect with us so we can have that relationship with Him. Ministry isn’t only done behind the pulpit. Ministry is done on the streets, in people’s homes, at your job and at dinner tables. Each of us have been called to go and make disciples. Discipleship is done through relationships.

Preachers, evangelists and missionaries aren’t the only ones called to ministry. If you bear the name “Christian”, you are called to ministry. You are called to build relationships. You are called to plant seeds. You are called to water seeds. You are called to harvest. You are called to disciple. You may not think of yourself as a minister, but you are. It is the responsibility of each of us to share what God has done in our lives with others.

What relationships do you have in your life that need work? What relationships in your life have you neglected? Who do you have a relationship with now that needs Jesus? You don’t win them by forcing Him down their throat. You win them through relationship. You win them because you’ve earned the right to share what God has done for you personally. Don’t spend more time building a ministry than you do building relationships. If you build relationships, the ministry opportunities will come.

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