A Legacy {Day 21}

By Tuesday, October 21, 2014 0 0

Before and after the Israelites make their escape from Egypt (don’t believe your Bible map for a second. It’s based on loose theories, old archeology and church “tradition,” and check this out instead), God gives detailed instructions for how to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The point is to remember how God brought His people out of Egypt with a strong arm and pass that legacy on to every generation after.

This week I have been spending time remembering God’s faithfulness in my life; how he has delivered me, brought me out of difficult circumstances, and provided when the situation seemed impossible. I have needed these memories because I find myself needing God’s strong arm again.

This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children: not grumbling, anxiety and fearful whining, but hanging the faithfulness of God between my eyes (Exodus 13:16) if that’s what it takes, and celebrating how God already delivered us through His son Jesus Christ (this is enough!) and how He will bring us through our trials for His glory.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

One Moment at a Time {Day 20}

By Monday, October 20, 2014 0 0

Susanna and I are sick. Austin is going through some kind of growth spurt that involves a lot of fussing and whining during the day, a lot of waking up crying at night, and a general out of character grumpiness. Today I paid ($50 and a bunch of insurance card stress) to find out that nothing is technically wrong, even though clearly, in his world, everything is wrong. Am I the only mom who uses Urgent Care when it seems Urgent that someone else Care?

I stood in the middle of my messy living room today, baby on my hip, toddler at my feet, crumbs and toys everywhere, and cried because I was tired of my current circumstances and we don’t have groceries for dinner (that was kind of the last straw).

Although I’ve done that more since becoming a mother, it’s always been my MO in OW (overwhelm).

A good cry, although a terrible idea when one is already stuffed up, seems to help me. Cuz I picked myself up (figurative), picked up the toys (literal), and created a totally new dinner out of old food.

Today it was a good reminder that even when all my dreams come true and I’m standing in the small living room of our Espartales Norte apartamento, I might still have a good cry over my circumstances.

(But at least shopping for dinner on a daily basis will be normal).

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

Bumbles and Blunders {Day 18}

By Saturday, October 18, 2014 0 0

Ok. Here’s the honest reason this post is so late. I’ve had in my head for days. But it has been a battle of courage to post.

God gave me this scripture passage recently.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

(Proverbs 9 ESV)

Such a fascinating passage for me. Although the translations vary greatly in word choice (for example, words used for “reprove” in other translations: rebuke (NIV), reason with (MSG), correct (NLT). Words used for “scoffer” in other translations: mocker (NIV and others), arrogant cynic (MSG)), I don’t struggle to understand the meaning: wise people receive criticism gracefully.

Recently it has felt like we have made one mistake, bumble or blunder after another. I feel like we look like fools to everyone we meet, particularly those with whom we’re sharing our ministry. At low moments, it has felt like I am foolish even before God.

When God was calling us to missions, I prayed often that I would learn to walk in the Spirit like I never had before. I asked God to give me wisdom and discernment in areas I had never considered needing it. I sought to make all my decisions by consulting the Lord first. My desire was threefold: I wanted confirmation of my calling at every turn, I didn’t want to waste a moment that God might use to prepare or bring us to the mission field, and I wanted to be an example to those watching of what it means to walk in the Spirit.

James tells us that God answers every prayer for wisdom. I can see a growth in my life in this area of wisdom and spirit-led thinking. And yet this month I have struggled greatly with feeling stupid, unequipped, unqualified; feeling like I have misunderstood God, misunderstood my role; and wondering if I can trust what I believe God has said to me.

So far we’ve handled criticism with grace. I wouldn’t say we have loved it, but we’ve seen the value and adjusted and made amends as best we can. Others have extended grace to us as well. And I am extending grace to myself, as I know my Heavenly Father does. These feelings of insecurity are probably from the enemy. A wise mentor advised me to write down the messages I believe God has given me that I am doubting and count the ways He has confirmed Himself. So I am working on that, and repeating Galatians 1:10 to myself. The first verse I ever memorized.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Jesus Christ approves me because of Who He is and what He did. He is creating a new creature in me and the metamorphosis is hard, but worth it.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

Maybe We’ve Got it All Wrong – Book 2 {Day 17}

By Friday, October 17, 2014 0 0

Have you heard of Steve Saint? I sure hope so. He’s the son of martyred missionary Nate Saint, who was one of four aviation missionaries killed by Auca natives in Ecuador. Steve lived among the Auca with his aunt Rachel and Elisabeth Elliot, one of my heroes of the faith, from the age of 10. He was baptized by two of the men who had killed his father shortly after they trusted Jesus Christ for salvation.

Today, he builds amazing things, including flying cars, at his company, I-TEC.

Chris read The Great Omission recently. This is what he had to say about it.

Maybe We’ve Got it All Wrong.

Many of us have been involved in missions in some way or another. Whether we have supported missionaries for many years or even had the opportunity to be a part of a short term mission trip. The country you went to is sometimes dictated as to where in the US you grew up. For me, I went to Mexico. I’ve been down to Mexico on mission related trips 3 times if I remember correctly, maybe even 4. We would fly down to San Diego and then drive across the border into Mexicali or Tijuana. Once in Mexico we would set up tents at a camp site and then go each day to a village where we would lead a VBS, build something and do a sports ministry. From people I’ve met from around the country this is pretty much what everybody else’s experience is as well.

Steve Saint looks into these actions and shows that we really aren’t hitting the point. We have created not so much a mission of sharing the gospel with people and then discipling them into maturity in Christ so they can then go and do likewise, but rather something of a welfare system. Many of the villages that we went to in those Mexico border towns simply withheld doing projects because every year for a few months thousands of teens would come down into their country and perform tasks for them and take up all of the costs as well. And because each group only stayed for a week there was sometimes overlap as to what was going on. The last time we went down to Mexicali we heard from a Mexican pastor that the exterior of their church had been painted three times in two months by three different groups that came to work with them.

We know that this isn’t how it is supposed to work but we really don’t know how to involve ourselves in such a way so as to know what to do about it. This is where The Great Omission comes in. Steve does a great job of using past experience and scriptural wisdom to discuss what things should be happening or at least what things need to be changed in some cases. I’ve now looked at missions very differently than I used to and ask myself certain questions before I get involved in missions in any way. I want you to read the book so I’m not going to specify what those questions are right now.

The truth of the matter is that many of us neglect the fact that we are all missionaries in our own towns and so end up caricaturing it into something else so that we will “know what it looks like.” We find it hard to believe that the 15 years we’ve spent employed at some company talking to coworkers and seeing one of them come to Christ is actually mission work. Of course some are called to do roughly the same thing in another country but that doesn’t make their work any more or less important than ours. We tend to think it is though and then we start creating it into something which can start to forgo its original intent and turn it into providing services which people become dependent on and never have the chance to operate on their own.

Most of the book looks at missions in the third world, but it still applies everywhere to some degree or another. This is all information I will try to bring with me so I can be sure that my influence is pointing people to Christ and not reliance on Americans with money and technology.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com

Knowing the Gospel {Day 16}

By Thursday, October 16, 2014 0 0

This may be redundant for some of our readers who also follow our missionary friends in Ukraine, Caleb and Christina, but it’s that good.

In particular, I love the section beginning at 4:13, about how the power of God has been sucked out of our “proclamations” of the Gospel. He asks, What’s happened to our church today? America is not even on the map of church growth. What’s happened to us?

Some clips that really spoke to me:

“The Good News is not a suggestion to the world. The Good News is not good advice. The Good News is not asking you to give Jesus a try.”

 

“We don’t need people to fill a spot on a stage, we need people who are ready to give their lives in missionary sacrifice and to die for the sake of the Gospel!”

 

“If you come to serve Jesus in ministry don’t come for the sake of the stuff and the building, come for the sake of the lives of the lost.”

Take 45 minutes to watch this sermon, if you care are knowing the Gospel so that you can share it with others.

The ending is particularly poignant and I feel much more prepared to share the Gospel with Spaniards (and my neighbors!) having heard this sermon.

31 Stories of Preparing for the Mission Field at Seasoned with Salt // theduryees.com