Throwing Pebbles in Guatemala

Oswald Chambers says, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work.” As I blog about tossing pebbles out into the world that ripple change, I’m encouraged to see God at work through prayer.

  • God open doors for the Gospel through prayer.
  • God heals through prayer.
  • God convicts and restores relationships through prayer.
  • God sets captives free through prayer.

Today I’d like to do two things. First, let me introduce some pebble throwers down in Guatemala. It’s the yellow/gold country to the left of Honduras (purple):

guatemala-map

Meet David and Regina White and their children, Cruz and Ben.whites-8-16

They are on mission in Guatemala loving people and sharing the Good News. Second, let’s do the great work of prayer and partner with them as they bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Guatemala. Please pray for:

1)  Anointing of the Holy Spirit as they teach Bible studies in Muyurco, Lagunetas, and Nearar. Pray for the hearts of those in each village who will be hearing God’s Word.

2)  Regina as she homeschools their boys. For God’s power, peace, and patience as she juggles home, school, and ministry.

3)  Ministry partner Miguel as he takes seminary classes and for his bold witness to his family, neighbors, and friends. For God to meet his physical, spiritual, and financial needs.

4)  Village leaders: Rafa, Julio, Anacleto, and Reyes to stay strong in their faith despite persecution from neighbors and community leaders.  For God’s protection over them and their families lives.  For filling of the Holy Spirit to boldly share Christ.

David shared recently that “We cannot think of anything else we’d rather be doing with our lives.” What a joy to see the satisfaction that flows from tossing the exact pebbles God prepared in advance for this family to throw. Glory to God!

But I don’t want to be a missionary!

Belly down on the avocado green shag carpet in my brother’s bedroom, I listened to Journey pumping from the cassette deck on his stereo. With “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring in the background, my brother shared his dream of going on mission trips. I cared way more about making the cheerleading squad and which Izod shirt I was going to wear with my khaki pants, tightly rolled above my ankles. (If this makes no sense, you are not a child of the 80’s!)

12710202 - 1980s girl with attitude

My older brother had great concern for people he’d never yet met. People who lived far, far away. I found his international bent interesting. He’s always loved weird food, learning languages, and meeting people from all over the world.

I wondered if God prewires people like him for mission work. I felt guilty that I didn’t have the same desire. Maybe I should want to. But my teenaged attention span was consumed by friends, fashion, and having fun.

When God later got a hold of my heart, I began to care about people in a new way—all kinds of people. In David Platt’s book, Follow Me, he reasons that you can’t help but bring others to Christ once Jesus has transformed your heart. When you are saved, Platt argues, you’re regenerated, and things that were once unimportant (like caring about the nations) become a priority.

As I began to know Jesus personally, He began swapping out my old desires for new ones. Like the surprising desire that came one day in the mid-90s after reading a newspaper article about the Kosovo refugee crisis. Before I knew it, I was apartment shopping for a family of four refugees. There was another time when I got an insatiable urge to travel to dusty Kampala, Uganda, E. Africa.

DSC_0385At my church missions conference last year, this statement made by Danny Akin, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, grabbed me:

“The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus was the first missionary. The closer you get to Jesus, the more mission minded you become.”

I believe all Christ followers are called to a mission field. But what if you don’t want to be a missionary? That’s ok. Instead, be missional. Being missional simply means you’re willing to be used by Jesus to love others. And today, I’m specifically addressing being globally missional with those who are not “from here.”

missionaryIt’s no problem if you don’t feel called to the mission field. But do you desire to love the nations? Or, is this a part of your heart you are withholding from Jesus?

If you love Jesus—if He lives within you—doesn’t that mean His love for the nations dwells in you too? So what’s keeping you from allowing His crazy love at work in you to toss some pebbles in a foreign place? Or to people who’ve traveled from afar to your area?

Perhaps you fear God would ask you to leave everything and go to some lonely place where you’d eat only tofu and beans and never take a hot shower? I have no idea what Jesus will ask you to do. I can only promise that loving the nations will increase your love for Him. It will increase your dependency on Him and understanding of His heart for all God’s children.

Which reminds me of a song I used to sing in church when I was five or six years old:

Do you love the nations? Please jump into the conversation by leaving a comment.

3 Gifts Haiti Gave Me

One of my favorite people on this planet has a signature saying: “relationship is better than meat.” I can’t spend even one hour with him without hearing him quote it. 

I couldn’t agree more. Wherever I go, but especially when attending writing conferences, I try my best to build relationships. I met today’s pebble thrower, Stephanie Wilkins, at a writing conference a few years back. StephanieI recently read Stephanie’s blog about her mission trip to Haiti, and I just had to have her share. I hope her pebble throwing will inspire you like it did me…

Why do you think pebble throwing is important? As a Christian with the love of Christ in my heart, I want to give back because of His great love for me.  So when the opportunity arises, and I feel His leading, I am drawn to serve in different capacities.

Tell us about how you throw pebbles for those battling chronic illness: In 2013, the Lord prompted me to begin No More Band-aids, which is a ministry of encouragement for those who suffer from or care for those with chronic or stress related illnesses.

So you recently when to Haiti… why? For many years, God led our family to serve as hosts for foreign missionaries, but this year we were called to help in a different way.  My daughter and I signed up to serve in Haiti through Mission of Hope. The ripples that we have seen from our trip have been amazing. By far, the biggest ripples are the gifts I received from our time there:

  1. the joy of connecting new Haitian families with Mission of Hope assistance
  2. a new understanding (for me and my daughter) of the Haitian culture and their stresses
  3. an increased ability to help others understand themselves through my ministry of bible study and blogging

How did you get connected with Mission of Hope? Through the youth department at our church, First Baptist Atlanta. About 20 students and 10 adults attended the trip. The purpose of our trip was to share the love of Christ with the villagers  as we gathered information and did health and wellness training.  We also painted houses in the villages.haiti beds

How did the trip change you? The “discomfort” at our camp that I thought was so hard (insects, heat, lack of hot water) in no way compared to the discomfort that the Haitian villagers live with on a daily basis. The Lord showed me this as I worked side by side with them in their communities.

In the book of Matthew we read that Jesus came in human form to experience life as we know it. He gave up the perfect atmosphere of heaven for us so that we could touch, feel, and see Him in a tangible way. sky-690293_1280His example shows me that to reach people, you must go to them and understand where they are coming from just like the woman at the well.

If I can’t understand where people are coming from, it’s hard to relate or to communicate truth to them in a way they can understand.  So making a difference in the life of others requires sacrifice even if it’s only your time.

What was your biggest takeaway? I’m sure I gained more from the trip than the Haitians did from me. I have a greater appreciation of what full-time missionaries do and how much they sacrifice to bring truth to nations in need of Jesus Christ.

travel-778338_1280You don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary, but if you get the opportunity, I would encourage you to do so because it’s an amazing experience.  The trip changed the way I love others by introducing me to more people around the world to love and  showing me the need for courage and sacrifice to do so.

Processed with Moldiv

Any final thoughts? Giving of yourself to others for Jesus Christ never returns void. It might not be what you thought you would gain, but God in His infinite understanding knows exactly what he wants to teach us and all He asks is our willing participation.

What about you? Have you taken a mission trip? Please share a few take-aways in the comments below!