Category Archives: Missionary Musings

Missions is not Taking Gods Grace for Granted

This week the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines began to take stronger measures to control the growth of the Covid Delta Variant. I completely agree with these measures, since this virus can affect so many people.

God has been incredibly gracious to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. If the Delta variant reached into the communities, it would prove disastrous since we are a very small Country. There would be few places to hide.

Currently most islands around us like Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Grenada are all locked down, and under extreme measures to control the spread of Covid. Meanwhile Vincentians have no curfew or lockdown, and few safety measures in place.

This freedom is a blessing for which we should praise God! My concern though is the people are taking Gods protection for granted.

In February when the Covid numbers were very high, everyone took their safety and health seriously. But since then things have become more and more relaxed.

In a way it’s as if the people don’t believe God will do anything to them.

This is a very serious problem!

Scripture teaches us the grace and protection of God is meant to draw us towards repentance instead of taking advantage of Him. The Lord is patient with us because He doesn’t want anyone to experience the penalty of sin. However, those who ignore the repeated warnings have only themselves to blame when His judgement comes.

Reverence for God worships His grace, but also knows that grace will not last forever.

Thursday night I encouraged a group of Christian friends to “take their safety seriously” because we will experience community spread of the Delta-variant eventually.

Flights from the US are coming in every Saturday, and though the Vincentian government is doing an excellent job with quarantine, it only takes one individual with Covid to start a serious problem.

This doesn’t mean everyone should get the vaccine like I have

It does mean that we should prepare for the day when Gods grace will be temporarily removed.

Missions is Knowing My Job isn’t to Bring Fruit

I have a small stack of tracts on my bookshelf. They are the final remnants of the 2,000 tracts that were ordered last October.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to pass out those tracts, yet there has been no fruit from it (that I know of).

This isn’t to say that people don’t take the tracts, most do! But rarely have they led to an opportunity to share the Gospel, and there have been no decisions to accept Christ.

To be honest the lack of fruit gets me down sometimes. It makes me feel as if the entire work of ministry relies upon me. So if I don’t accomplish the work, it won’t get done.

But thats not true!

It isn’t my job to bring fruit….thats Gods job

My job is to faithfully do the work, even if I don’t see any fruit

It is incredibly important that I realise my job is to consistently obey God. Otherwise, anytime things don’t work out perfectly Satan can tell me that I’ve “failed’ , and I will believe it. Even worse. I will endeavour to do the work of God in my own strength instead of His!

On the other hand, when I understand faithfulness is my job, I can do it with confidence!

  1. So I put on my hat and sunglasses
  2. Pass out tracts in the community, and engage with Vincentians
  3. And return with a sweat-soaked shirt, but an understanding I’ve done my job

Ministry is throwing the seed of the Gospel far and wide, knowing that God the Father will bring fruit.

Missions is Dealing With the Root Problem

Friday morning I sat on the porch with a mother who was incredibly frustrated by an adult son who has struggled for years with an addiction to alcohol. With pain in her voice, she shared the fear that her son would face the same fate as her own father and brother, to die from the physical affects of alcoholism.

My heart broke for this mother, but I also realised she was approaching things the wrong way.

Because of past experiences in her family, this mother was entirely focused on getting her son to stop drinking. In her mind if he didn’t drink anymore, the problem would be fixed.

But drinking was not her sons problem….

A Sinful heart is

On her porch Friday I explained that its important for us to deal with the “root problem” which is his sinful heart (he does not yet know Christ). Once this young mans heart is right with God, then the outer issues such as alcoholism will be changed. But if you focus on the drinking, he could stop that, and still have a sinful heart.

To put it another way, the outer issues such as drinking, profanity, or rebellion are symptoms of the true problem (a wicked heart)

For true change to come we must deal with the problem not the symptoms.

I am eternally grateful for a college professor who used an illustration in class that drove this point home. A teenage girl used to come home from school every day depressed because kids made fun of her. She would lock herself in her room, and eat two bags of Doritos every day. Her father decided this had to stop, and told her “don’t eat Doritos for two hours every day!”

Obviously this is ridiculous because the Doritos weren’t the problem. The problem was this teenagers increasing loneliness and depression. In the same way even if this son did stop drinking, the real problem isn’t dealt with.

As Christians we must do the hard work of helping individuals make sense of their lives with the Word of God. And a big part of this work is understanding its never about the Doritos.

Missions is Seeing the Grace of God

Thursday night I was pretty busy after prayer meeting driving members to separate communities on the other side of Barrouallie, and then driving a family who were walking back over the hill.

I pulled in front of the church and turned off the car, only to realise that I didn’t pull up far enough.

I turned the key to start the engine….and it wouldn’t turn over.

I ended up having some friends give me a jump start in the morning, but thought it was odd since there was no reason for the battery to be dead. We ended up starting the battery and letting the car run for about ten minutes.

After that I turned it off, and tried to start the car again….

Nothing happened

A bit of research that afternoon revealed that it was problem with my alternator since the battery itself wouldn’t hold a charge.

To be honest, situations like this are frustrating because my car is such an essential ministry tool. But the Lord did bless me in the tough situation.

  1. I broke down in front of the church instead of on the road in the middle of the night
  2. A friend who I trust was able to diagnose the problem with my alternator
  3. A replacement alternator can be purchased in town for a reasonable price (I will get it Monday)
  4. And the same friend who found the problem, will be able to replace my alternator for a cheap price
  5. The Lord even supplied someone who will give me a ride to get the part tomorrow morning!

The Lord does not promise us that hardship won’t come. But He does promise to give grace in that hard time. It may not always be easy to see the grace of God, but we can rest in the fact that His protecting hand always cares for us.

strong spiritually, emotionally, mentally, AND physically

This is a picture taken of me and my brother before I went through security Saturday morning (I got permission to crop him out).  This picture is precious to me, but also clearly displays I’ve gained A LOT of what I call “American weight.”  Probably twenty pounds!!!

I don’t worry about that because I’ll lose it soon on the field.  Actually, I’m planning to KEEP ten pounds of my “American weight” while serving in SVG.

Why would I do such a thing?

Because it makes me stronger.

Along with spiritual health, and emotional health, it’s important for all of us to also keep in mind our physical health.  It does little good to have a clear calling from God if my body is too physically weak to accomplish His work.  Specifically, physical health means that my body is at 100% so that I can do the Lord work with all of my energy.

During the medical furlough I started having some trouble hearing from my right ear.  This was part of a nagging physical issue I’d been having for some time.  It was still possible to understand people most of the time, but on occasion, I struggled hearing if they were on my right side.

I honestly wanted to put it off since ministry could still be accomplished.  But the more I thought about it, the more God burdened me to make sure I returned 100% physically.  Thankfully a visit to an urgent care clinic on Wednesday was able diagnose the problem, and I can hear clearly in both ears now!

There is nothing wrong with spiritual health, we must strengthen our souls on a daily basis.  But while strengthening our souls, we must strengthen our physical bodies as well

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