Friends! Ever dreamed of riding an elephant in Africa, spreading the gospel around a campfire, and nestling in a sleeping bag in the open air? Me neither…
Forgive me, Lord.
Creature of comfort, I loudly confess I adore indoor plumbing, plush pillows and air conditioning…
Fret no more…thanks to two of my favorite authors, I’m about to shed some light on what exactly constitutes a mission trip.
First up is an excellent read by Kelly Minter: Wherever the River Runs—How a Forgotten People Renewed My Hope in the Gospel.
Kelly shares multiple encouraging stories of her adventures along the Amazon River. You’ll meet natives-turned-friends, slithering animals, pesky piranhas, maggots in pineapple (!!!) and other reasons to make you do a big fat u-turn back into your very safe driveway.
Kelly’s humor and love for the Lord is so compelling, I admit if she invited me to go with her the next time, I just might accept. Maybe. Really, maybe.
Before her first trip to the Amazon, Kelly had about as much excitement as any of us Nervous Nellies. But, the message she kept hearing from the Lord was, “Go with what you’ve got, and God will supply the rest.” So there’s the trust component.
Then, throw in some major prayer warriors. One of Kelly’s new friends from these trips named Lazaro, had a prayer warrior who prayed for him for years. Her name is Fatima. She started what she called Prayer Campaigns and she and her friends didn’t let up. Ever.
Several trips and multiple new friends later, Kelly learned she could ask them for prayer from the States. She said, “Prayer Campaigns lit up the rain forest.” What a beautiful thought.
Kelly said, “Just hearing Lazaro talk about Fatima, who so purposely prayed for him, a teenage boy, for forty-two hours over seven days, slayed me.
I wanted her passion,
I wanted her love…
I wondered if I might hear more from the Lord if I…
waited on Him like Fatima did,
petitioned Him more regularly,
lingered with Him longer…”
I don’t want to spoil Lazaro’s unbelievable story. You need to read it for yourself. You will see firsthand with God all things are indeed possible. This is one of many thrilling testimonies Kelly gifts us with.
You also don’t want to miss Kelly’s Mother visiting the Amazon. Killer funny, all the while poignant. Especially when she realizes this isn’t a one and done kind of trip.
Kelly’s Mother’s faith becomes contagious and inspirational to all who cross her path and to all who gain the opportunity to hear her speak. She’s a very brave woman!
While Kelly learns something new on every trip she takes to the Amazon, she never guilts the reader into going to the Amazon. She points out (to my great relief) that sometimes our greatest opportunities for spreading the Gospel are right under our noses–in our own back yards.
One perfect example of this smacked me in the face just the other morning from something I’m reading… I’m previewing a Bible study for my Tuesday group for when we resume in the fall. It is excellent and if you’ve never been to Israel before, here’s your ticket: (The videos are filmed in Israel!)
Checkout Finding I Am by Lysa TeurKerst
I was only on Week Two, Day One when Lysa posed a show-stopping question:
“Do you ever wonder exactly what God wants you to do, especially when you have so many options and demands to manage?” (Crammed Calendars Anonymous take note…)
Along the same vein as Kelly, Lysa says, “…God just wants us to pay attention to what He places right in front of us.”
“However when I looked at what was right in front of me, at that time, I saw my neighbors.” Lysa then shares about her family going thru’ a cancer journey with their neighbors, Ken and Mary. Mary was diagnosed with cancer, ultimately landing in the arms of Jesus. God rest her soul.
Lysa’s family invited Ken to their home for dinner on Monday nights. They all learned these dinners broke the deafening silence and absence of his wife.
Lysa took it as an assignment from God disregarding the fact she didn’t consider herself a stellar chef. (!!!) Meals didn’t have to be a big production, thus ordering pizzas worked many a night. (Cooking impaired, this brought me great solace and insight!)
She said, “The noise of our family was an orchestra of comfort and healing to Ken’s lonely heart.” Isn’t that beautiful?
What Lysa’s message that day prompted me to do was to call my across-the-street neighbor. She’s a very sweet, elderly woman who recently lost her husband to cancer. I know she’s lonely.
We chat frequently on the street gathering our mail or on the phone and we watch each other’s homes when we’re out of town, picking up each other’s newspapers.
She’s friends with my in-laws and occasionally we all get together. A small gesture, but exactly what Lysa and Kelly suggest. Across the street is a little easier than going to the Amazon, same message, same Jesus. Try it!
The above scenarios are “mission trip” ideas for your own back yard. Next time we’ll move out into the front yard. Look out!
I pray you and your families have a happy, safe, and blessed Fourth of July next week. We’ll resume the following week.
‘Til next time!
Petite P.S.: Kelly Minter partners with and is now on the Board of Justice and Mercy International www.justiceandmercyamazon.org Look for ways to become a sponsor!