Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Tourist or Servant?
When I came to Christ I sensed within a year a call to the ministry. Through my young 20's as I prepared for ministry I experienced a walk of faith through the American church model. In 1992 I took my first ever trip out of the country and went to Russia. God truly transformed me in more ways then I can even begin to express. Of many of those experienced I was apprehended by a police officer and detained for sharing the Gospel. Not the kind of experience one would use to encourage others they should go on a missions trip too.
Then in 1998 I went on another missions trip to Kenya, Africa. It was transforming in a completely different way. The culture, the climate, the people and of course the safari and gospel of transformation in my life and certainly in many other lives as well.
In the year 2000 I went on a Holy Land trip to Israel. This was not work and witness, but it was truly transformational. I will not soon forget that we were the only tourist in the city of Bethlehem the day after the Israeli military blew up a Palestine owner car in the streets. We were the ONLY ones touring in what felt like a ghost town that next day.
between 2006 and 2008 I went on two different trips to Jamaica and another one to minister among the Arizona Navajo Indians. In these trips (beyond constructions and work) we as well experienced cultural differences, the gospel transforming other lives and some other assortment of adventures. I recall when in Kingston, Jamaica we were on the roof of the church building enjoying the cool of the evening when a shot out started in the street below. Our team took cover and nobody truly knew what was going on. We never did see what happened and nobody got hurt among our team, but it sure was interesting.
In 2012 I went on another trip to Ghana West Africa on a Jesus film trip. Now that took on a different spin of all the other trips in previous years. Riding a motorcycle took the cake for adventure for me in a foreign country. Truly it was an amazing team and adventure in every move. From a wild and crazy experience with motorcycle breakdowns and hundreds coming to Christ. It was wild, fun and high adventure every step of the way. Getting into a van wreck with a bad driver on a deserted road in the back woods of Africa was breathe taking as well. That trip was absolutely the best ever. Until this past one.
Then in 2013 I returned to Africa with the smallest team yet, but a totally harmonious and fun group of guysl. I started off that trip by flying into an unexpected country of Holland to ride a metro and a boat ride in the freezing European winter to the hot edge of the Sierra Desert of Senegal West Africa. We rode in a completely outdated and unsafe 70's slapped together cab held together with only God knows what. Then we rode in a carved out log boat to a remote disappearing island off the coast. I got choked up one morning and couldn't breath and thought I might suffocate to within hours still being able to share Christ to a group of missionaries on retreat.
We rode motorcycles on 60 miles of deserted beaches while avoiding the waves of the Atlantic. We passed donkey carts on roads, beaches and once took a double take when I passed a camel on a dirt road. I wiped out in a small village on an oil slick with a motorcycle and hurt my leg. Got to visit a foreign medical doctor in a high rise and so much more.
In Senegal I kept thinking I was doing the things I had done before until we spent two days digging out a well for water to no success. I also got to finally visit the inside of a village hut after to seeing pictures of them for decades. I witnessed people oppressed by witchcraft delivered by the grace of God and witnessed demons manifesting through animals in angry opposition to the showing of the Jesus film.
Getting to drive a truck for 4 hours from the remote villages to the massive congested city of Dakar will not soon be forgotten. It was as if I was driving in the Daytona 500 with interesting competitors on the roads. Seeing our missionary on his motorcycle in front me not able to over take a massive truck on the highway to being passed myself in traffic by a forklift was a contrast in what should have been the opposite. Truly the mission fields of the world are full of adventures. I've learned so many wonderful things over these past 21 years exploring the world through work and witness trips.
Just the thought of a regular vacation in any of these foreign countries sounds completely boring. When I think about going to a country of the world I would much rather go to serve The Lord and his kingdom and experience the land, culture and people as a servant then as a tourist.
The adventures of missions through the Jesus Film partnerships or work and witness expeditions is the most amazing way to see and explore the world. You can do it in America or anywhere. To serve others is a holy luxury reserved for the saints of the living God.
Anyway ready to serve through a missions trip in 2014?