Thursday, December 16

A Heart for Missions

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. --Matthew 28:19

God can further his kingdom just as much through Christians in the mission field of corporate America and on college campuses here in the states, as he can through those he calls to impoverished nations throughout the world. I personally have never been out of the country. For a number of reasons, travel other than that of the local variety, is not something that I favor or am particularly good at. I admire people who have a sense of adventure, and a heart for foreign missions. I believe very strongly that all Christians are bound by the great commission, which calls us to share God's word with others, and I realize that we are all called to minister in different ways.

Many of my friends have participated in foreign missions and I have been blessed by their stories of what God has done in their lives and the lives of people with whom they shared the gospel. My friend Jon recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia and my husband and I had the opportunity to sit down with him and listen to him describe the trip while we looked at an incredible photo album. Yesterday we got a letter in the mail from Jon with an update about the other ministries and activities he is involved in. I'd like to share parts of that letter with you.


--
So here it is, over five months since the most eventful trip of my life, and I am just now sitting down to write about it...I can honestly say that the whole experience was the single most life changing experience I have ever encountered.

The Abasah, the Ethiopian people, are the most kind and gentle-hearted people I have ever met. They are so friendly and will do anything they can to help one another. They live simple lives and are grateful for what they have. There was no plumbing, heating or electricity in the majority of the homes. So many of us here in the U.S. take these things for granted while these people are simply happy to be alive and have a place to lay down their head.

...We were also blessed with the privilege of helping out with Hope Enterprises. Hope is the only "soup kitchen" in all of Ethiopia. We were able to help serve over 600 people a day for a meager $90...

Hope has several locations throughout the nation, in cities and rural area. In all the locations, they take hundreds of homeless boys and girls off the street every monrning. These children are taught simple lessons such as reading, writing, math, hygiene, and Bible scripture. They are then given breakfast before they are sent on their way to earn money [shining] shoes, running errands, or even begging.

The rest of our time was spent either helping out at the Ethiopian Children's Book Center, or a Sisters of Charity orphanage... Sisters of Charity is an orphanage started by Mother Theresa for children with HIV and AIDS. It was such a joy to be able to see the bright and smiling faces of the children day after day. All they wanted was to have someone show them love and affection.

--


I wish I could make those words leap off the page with the same emotion and excitement that Jon had when he shared his experiences with us over a cup of coffee awhile back. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I encourage you to visit the following websites to learn more about Jon's trip to Ethiopia. The first link is simply a photo album. The second is more of a journal of the trip.

http://www.sterling.edu/campus/chapel/missions/ethiopia2004/
http://sterling_in_ethiopia.blogspot.com/

Remember that God can use you as a missionary right in your own backyard. We don't need to travel to parts unknown to find people who are living in spiritual darkness. Many of us go to school, work, and spend time with people who do not know Jesus. It is our responsibility to carry out the great commission and do our part to make disciples of all nations. There are people right here in our local communities that, like the children Jon met in Ethiopia, just want "to have someone show them love and affection." There is no better way to show love than to share with them the gift of God's word.


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