Category Archives: Missions Teaches Me

Missions teaches me it’s okay to ask for help

A few months ago I gave away the last large print Bible from a box that had been sent to Saint Vincent since the volcanic eruption. Within a few days individuals found out I had them, and were asking me if they could get one. This is actually a common problem in SVG since many individuals suffer from glaucoma, which keeps them from reading fine-print Bibles.

At that point my only hope of getting more was to order them from the States, and have them sent over with a shipping agent. There was definitely a need for this but it would end up costing around $500 for the Bibles alone without including the cost of shipping.

So I sent out some updates asking for help raising money to send Bibles……

And the response was incredible!

Since late January I have received around $700 of gifts to go towards purchasing and sending big print bibles! This doesn’t include the $1,000 gift a church sent last week to help bring new shipments of them in!

My favorite way the Lord worked has to do wiith my home church however

A close friend there really felt the Lord calling her to help me with my need for Bibles. She began raising money with a sunday school class, but then happened to find older big-print Bibles that had been used in past services (they had since been replaced with new Bibles). With the churches blessing she is sending twenty-five Bibles that had been greatly used in Winston Salem North Carolina so they can continue to be used in Saint Vincent! The Bibles themselves and shipping are free (the church pays for that) so the rest of the funds can be spent on future Bible shipments.

I’m honestly overwhlemed by the way people responded to my request for help

And a little convicited.

With missions there will always be new projects or needs, and each of them costs money. In these situations it’s easy to fall into the bad habit of continually asking for financial help or support. But there is also an equally bad habit, never asking for help at all.

I must confess I fall into the second categry

Asking for help has always been something I struggled with. Often I’d rationalize it by saying I don’t want to be a burden, but the truth is my stubborn pride just refused to do it. This pride was based upon the belief that it was a bad thing to ask for help.

The truth is it’s unhealthy to constantly have a new need for financial assistance, but allowing others to meet a need financially isn’t a bad thing. In fact, its a WONDERFUL thing since it allows supporters and prayer partners to help in a tangible way. To not bring up a need is to remove a blessing for them, and you.

So let me end this post with two words…..thank you, and sorry

Thank you for giving in such a sacrificial way to help Vincentians receive a copy of the Word of God they can comfortably read.

And sorry that I often allow my pride and thoughts about asking for help being a bad thing to hinder your opportunity for ministry.

In the future I will with the Lord’s help share with you the blessings of ministry, as well as an ocassional need.

Missions Teaches Me Things Will Go Wrong

There are few things I can guarantee in the ministry. But one thing I can guarantee you is THINGS WILL GO WRONG! Actually this isn’t surprising at all because life isn’t always going to be good experiences, but Satan especially loves to attack missionaries in this way.

Yes things are guaranteed to go wrong

Which is why we cannot be shocked when they do

And see the grace of God in those circumstances

A few weeks ago I was driving home from the Bible College when a large tractor trailer truck came around the corner. Vincentian roads are too small for these trucks usually so the thing to do is stop and pull over, allowing them to drive in the middle of the road. After stopping the passenger of the truck motioned for myself, and another car in front of me to come through, passing between the truck and the curb. Probably because I was too far forward already.

It took a little longer than expected to get through because the car in front of me had difficulty passing. By the I was passing the truck driver (thinking I already had gone through) was already moving, and scraped my car.

It wasn’t a serious accident, but still something bad enough to re-attach my bumper (which was going to come off) and get some body work done. Of course, though it wasn’t my fault I took the blame since the only thing in my defense was the truck passenger calling me up, which he wouldn’t admit to.

This was a frustrating situation, but the grace of God is seen in it as well

  1. I have a Christian friend who lived near where the accident happened, and was able to help temporarily fasten my bumper so it wouldn’t fall off
  2. The day after the accident, I took the car to a Christian mechanic who refastened my bumper, and did some body work for a good price
  3. And the money to pay for this repair job came from individuals paying me back for things brought in my Christmas barrel

This experience reminded me God is faithful to care for us in the hard situations. The problem is we sometimes don’t see Him at work because all our attention is on what frustrates us.

I was reminded of that again on Friday when my Macbook Pro suddenly stopped charging. I’m almost positive the problem is my charging cord stopped working properly since the laptop had been running off battery all morning.

Again being without my laptop is a frustrating experience, but God’s grace is seen in it as well

  1. I was able to buy a replacement charger on Saturday, and send it to my parents, who will mail it here
  2. While waiting on that, I have an older PC that does almost everything my Macbook can
  3. And a USB keyboard necessary to use the PC (some keys don’t work properly) came during December. Without that, my job would be a LOT harder

As long as we live on this sin-cursed earth, things are going to go wrong. But we can rejoice that even in those situations, God is providentially caring for us.

A Culture Without Men (Judges 4:14)

I have been thinking a lot recently about the story about Barak and Deborah. Probably because it clearly illustrates a challenge seen in the Caribbean. Men who refuse to keep responsibility because they are either too soft (passive), or lazy.

The story tells us of Barak, a warrior who the Lord calls to deliver the children of Israel from a wicked general named Sisera. The Lord tells him through a woman Deborah to attack Sisera’s army so God could bring a victory. The response of Barak is interesting. He tells Deborah that he will attack Sisera, but only if she goes with him (Judges 4:8).

This response revealed that Barak was a coward instead of a great warrior. This is further proven in Judges 4:14 when Deborah has to find him, and motivate Barak to fight on the day of battle. Because of his cowardice the victory went to a woman named Jael who drove a tent peg through the head of Sisera.

The application of this passage is often on the mission field I see men turning from their responsibilities to provide for an protect their families.

Like Barak they are too fearful, lazy, of selfish to do the work that God has for them…….

So the women do it.

Now please understand I am in no way against women working. In fact I have MORE respect for women in Caribbean islands because they are often doing the work of mom, dad, and grandfather at the same time! The frustrating thing is the mothers are forced to do this because the fathers are unwilling to do their part.

What truly bothers me about cultures without men (fathers abandon their responsibility) is the effect it has on boys and young men. They learn it is a mans job to drink, smoke at a local rum shop, and ignore family responsibilities by watching their fathers.

The only answer for this problem if for boys to see “true men.”

  1. Who provide for, and protect their families
  2. Men that live a testimony of quiet excellence
  3. That consistently do the work of life to the best of their ability
  4. And who will stand up when nobody else will

Sadly this world is filling with more and more Barak’s who are happy to stay in the tent while everyone else fights the battle. Please pray for me as I to the best of my ability display Godly manhood to the young men of St. Vincent, and teach them what the Bible says about manhood.

Missions Has Taught Me You Can’t Do Everything

Over the years I have seen many missionaries leave the field. Some were forced to leave because of sin that disqualified them, others just quit.

Those who become disqualified do so because of a serious issue such as sexual-sin, or financial misconduct. But what about those who simply choose to leave the field?

In many of those cases its discouragement that brings this about. But if we dig deeper, randomness or “unplanned ministry” is the source of that discouragement.

This makes sense because a ministry that tries to accomplish everything will in the long-run accomplish very little.

One of the most dangerous things about random ministry is it comes from a heart that truly wants to serve God. The missionaries heart is tender towards every need, and therefore tries to meet each one. The problem is our energy (as well as time) are limited. So random ministry leads to burnout.

Satan also uses random ministry to deceive us into seeing busyness as being the same as success. The random missionary at the end of the day asks “how many tasks have I accomplished?” or “how many hours did I work?” in order to decide whether or not that day is successful.

Of course God wants us to be busy! But the random ministry emphasises “hustling” or running from one ministry opportunity to the next. So the many ministries they accomplish end up being quite shallow.

A Biblical response to random ministry is “purposeful ministry” which focuses on accomplishing the specific tasks God has given for that day.

Practically Purposeful Ministry Means:

  1. You have a Calling: A specific ministry focus (such as evangelism, or discipleship)
  2. You have a Burden: A more detailed area of your calling (God has given you a burden for young adults)
  3. You have a Mission Field: A specific group of people (fitting within that burden) that God has called you to reach
  4. You have Goals: Specific ministry goals that you want to accomplish in that mission field
  5. You have a Plan: Steps that been thought out carefully and prayed over, to complete those Goals
  6. You Have Open Hearts: Individuals within that mission field that are open to the Lord’s working in their lives
  7. And you have a Schedule: Specific times on specific days set aside to work through that plan with open hearted individuals.

Okay so you want always have all of these things, but the more that in place, the more focused your ministry will be.

This doesn’t mean you aren’t open to the Holy Spirit opening up a door of ministry that isn’t planned. But in most cases, God honours those who have done the hard work of planning more than those who spend their day looking for open doors.

As someone who has spent too many days hustling and accomplishing little more than exhaustion, the Lord has taught me few things give ministry more power than a clear purpose.

Missions Teaches me to Preach Themes

When I began teaching classes at a local Bible College, one statement that kept coming up was “we preach themes.”

By this I meant we don’t preach beliefs that are founded on one or two Scripture passages. Instead we emphasise what Scripture emphasises.

Along that same line, preaching themes means that we find the theme (core truth) of the passage through observation.

Sadly this is becoming less and less prevalent as individuals are placing their own interpretation upon Scripture passages instead of letting the Bible speak for itself.

Friday I finished teaching a class on the major prophets covering Isaiah through to Daniel. The commentary used as a my secondary source did an excellent job of literally interpreting all of the prophecies.

That is…..until we came to Daniel seven!

It was amazing to see a scholar who had so carefully interpreted Scripture for so many chapters go to incredible lengths in Daniel to explain why “the passage doesn’t mean what it looks like it means.” 1

This reached a climax when he explained the seventy-weeks of Daniel didn’t refer to the Antichrist, but instead Herod the Great. He was able to produce many historical facts to back this up, but of course no Scripture!

Thankfully the students were immediately able to see the problem with his interpretation 2. But my heart aches for many Believers who would believe this kind of false doctrine.

In a world that looks at a passage and says “I know what that means!” may we allow Scripture to speak for itself.

  1. I personally believe the author was an. Amillenialist or Postmillenialist since he doesn’t hold to a literal tribulation period.
  2. Going from literal to symbolic just because it dealt with the tribulation.