Saturday, March 03, 2007

 

A free gift

It may suprise you to know that this missionary does not believe in free gifts. If a gift is worth having, it's not free. A rock in the street that you can pick up is free. I have given lots of mosquito repellent out this past month to those in need of much more than a small tube of repellent. Many are suffering with deep family needs, spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

A good gift is never free. I want to thank those who have given, paid the price so that I could be the one to give a gift to those around me.

Salvation itself is not free either. I believe when we promote it as a free gift, we lessen the value of it. When we talk about the price that was paid for our salvation, our converts are more likely to appreciate what they have.

The people know the price of the repellent that I have been handing out, and they have been thankful for it. My prayer is that they learn about another gift that cost much more than a bottle of repellent.

In Him,
Donnie

Friday, March 02, 2007

 

The viral fight

The new year has come in lightning fast with an unusual twist, dengue fever. This year there have been over 100,000 cases of dengue fever this year. Some of our own missionaries are suffering with the disease. Last month, I sollisited money to buy and give away repellent to a certain neighborhood that was at high risk for the mosquito borne illness. My church, a family of volunteers, Kris Dixon and his family helped me go door to door giving away repellent, and a tract to those who would take it. These items were free, and we prayed for lots of people in this neighborhood. Our hope was that new outreach groups would be started as a result of the repellent.

Thankfully, the government has asked help from Argentina and the US. People are dying from this disease. Some have gotten it for the first time, lay in a hospital bed and died, according to the newspaper -which is not completely reliable always. At any rate, We trust that there is a God who is bigger than a viral infection. He is ultimately in control over all diseases, and epidemic diseases. In His time, he will take the disease away. For us, this is an opportunity to serve others, and plant seed to start new works in the furture.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

 

Can a man limit God?

Some of my colleagues struggle with the fact that they are not as productive as they would like to be in their work. The see that only a small persentage of their work produces fruit. They are concerned about this, and feel their need to fulfill the great commission. They feel that God has given them a commission, and that they have the responsibility to fill that commission. They even ask the question:

"Are we limiting God".

My question is this, Do you really think that you have powers to limit God? Who do you think you are?? Maybe, you are a strong man, but WOW, How egotistico! Do you really think that The almighty cannot raise up believers from every person alive today if He so chooses?

I am concerned about the powers that you may think you hold.

When Jesus ascended, 500 people watched. He had fed over 5000 men plus women and children. Everyone in the surrounding towns knew about him, and all that is reported in the upper room prayer meeting in Acts 1, was only a mere 120, and He is perfect. He is God. He has told us that we should not be surprised when we are rejected. We should not be surprised when people do not listen, that they rejected Him, they will reject us too.

I am telling you, this frustration is not good. God's plan for us is not that we be stressed and burned out because we only won X number of converts, or baptisms -or didn't win any for that matter. Jesus rejected the crowds -even when they wanted to make Him king.

We have a job to do. We are to witness, disicple new converts, mobilize the new converts into a force of church planters. We fail the task when we disobey our Lord. Jeremiah was a success, even though his ministry produced no converts. Noah preached righteousness, but had only his family with him in the boat. The job of the watchman on the wall is to warn of the coming danger. If the people do not prepare for battle after hearing the cry, the people are responsible for the downfall of the city, not the watchman.

We have the privilege of working in places where others have gone before us. They have laid much of the groundwork. Many have invested their life into the people of the countries that we serve. Many have done well. Their disciples are making disciples. The question is when we stand before an almighty God, will we be found faithful. Will he say well done faithful servant, or will he tell us that we had many more opportunities than we took advantage of.

Just some thoughts from someone who will not live under condemnation because I have been set free from the guilt and false accusations of the enemy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

 

Outreach group started

A struggling Christian couple wanted to start a group in their home. However, no one was interested. The lady of the couple began to teach sewing to several children, some youth and a hand full of adults. For one month, she had them in her small home every weeknight and invited me to come and share with her students on Friday night. Between this couple and myself, we provided popcorn, cheese puffs and cheap soft drinks. I went on Friday nights, and taught them some stories from the Bible, including the creation stories -that God created the spirit world and everything in it. The second story was the creation of the earth including Adam and Eve. The story of the ten commandments followed, and with that story, I summed Moses' hope up in three ways: first of all, he had the ten commandments, secondly, he had the sacrificial system and thirdly, he had the promise of a coming messiah that would take away the sins of the world. Finally, I told the story of Jesus and the woman at the well who was waiting for that messiah. She found hope in the messiah, Jesus. Then she told the men to come meet the man who told me everything that I have ever done. They went to the well, and met their messiah as well.

The sewing class ended on the 17th. When it was over, we talked, and the adults that were there decided that some of them would be interested in continuing. We would meet on Friday nights at 8:00PM. One of the key ladies needed work. She asked me to pray that God would give her a job. Within a couple of weeks, her employer called her and asked her to come to work. She had previously quit her job because of long hours, and little pay. She works between 5:30AM and 7:30PM without a break, six days a week. She, her husband, and her cousin and her cousin's husband, and the couple who have been so hospitable to open their home plan to attend the NOG. I know that within the group, there is a history of family violence, alcoholism, and a general lack of hope.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

 

Leadership training

I sat on the sofa beside a man and his wife sat in the chair nearby. The house was very small, and they had their own children as well as three others, whose parents are working in Spain. The children were busy at the very sophisticated task of being their age, while I talked with this couple, their struggles, and the plans that God has for them. I shared with them that I was certain that God had plans for their life. They were interested, even excited to be a part of what God has for them.

They had invited their neighbors, and no one came. This is typical for us. I have learned that we have to be patient and establish a friendship with the people. I asked them who they expected to be a part of the study. They gave me the list of names, including a young man age 15 who was seated in front of a video game in the same room. I began to ask for ages, and found that many were adolescents. I told them that it would be very difficult to work with adults and have adolescents present. It would be equally difficult to work with adolescents and have adults there. Neither group would feel the freedom to share freely about their struggles, and how the Word applies to their life. I also found that most have small children that they are responsible for, which means that we would need to find a way to care for the children as well.

We planned to pass out invitations, serve juice, popcorn and yes yes (cheap cheese curls).
the couple told me that if we serve them anything at all to eat, that we could have a record crowd.

If this does not start a small group, I will ask them what they think about showing the Jesus film in their patio. Maybe, we will need to cast the net wide in order to have the adults to work with the children. It may be that there is another GCC couple in the area that would be interested in helping us. There is a church within walking distance from their help, but I know nothing about the church, and like everyone else, tend to be skeptical of things that I don't know. I am not sure that they would be interested in joining us in the work. If they are, I am not convinced that they would not want to control the work, and make it another outreach of their church. The last thing that I want is for them to join an existing church. My goal would not be accomplished, if I want to start a church there.

We are often busy building our own kingdom in Jesus' name. Bigger churches are not necessarily bad, unless you have a goal of starting small ones. If I want to train a church planter with my disciples, I need to involve them in planting churches. Their being members of an existing church would likely short-circuit the process.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

 

Power of presence

While in New Orleans I learned the value of being there. One preacher asked a gang leader why the kids were turning to the gangs in the streets instead of the churches. He replied, it's all about being there. When little Johnny comes home from school with a black eye, and his parents are too occupied to care, he wants to tell someone. I am there, said the gang leader. You are not. When he comes home with good grades on his grade card, and wants to share the excitement, I am there. You are not. When his family is evicted from their home, and need to move, I know about it because I am there. You are not. The conversation went on for some time, and the gang leader talked about how the church folk stay safe behind their walls with a false sense of security, blinded to the immense need around them (us).

God has called each of us to be there. He has called us to be present in the life of the people around us. For me, this is a great tension. When I am with my family, I feel the pressures of needing to visit, or prepare the next story. When I am preparing the next story or visiting with the people, I feel the need to be at home with my family. There is a constant battle between the three. Maybe that is healthy.

As a minister of the gospel, I realize that my greatest mission field is my wife and children. If I do not nurture the gospel and teach them the Word, nothing else that I do will matter. Nothing. If I fail at home, I might as well pack my bags and go back to the states. Maybe, as my sons, ages 2 and 4 grow, they will become less dependent, and there will be less of a need at home. Even so, I don't want to be the absent father because I don't think it is fair to them, or to my wife.

Combining family and ministry will be more of an option when they are old enough to participate without wondering off. They do help a lot now. We have several friends because they have opened the door to the friendship. People notice when we call them, they come.

Friday, October 06, 2006

 

New outreach group

Today I sat in the small house with a window behind my head. The man of the house sat in a chair in front of me looking out the window as we visited. I had only been there long enough to exchange greetings when he quickly interrupted me, and ran outside. I turned and looked out the window to see the lady's mother sitting in the patio crying, beating her chest and she had the phone to her ear.

As I went into the house, she told me that she did not feel well because of her high blood pressure. My friend took the phone, and she told us about three children whose parents were in Spain working. They had been left with family members, and someone had kidnapped a thirteen year old boy. While my friend talked on the phone, a neighbor comforted the lady, and the lady of the house came home. He finished his phone conversation. He and his family got into my car and we drove off to the home where the children were. The lady in my car was very upset, and constantly using the name of our Lord in vain. I asked permission to pray and they got quiet. I prayed for his protection, and quick return.

When we arrived at the house, the oldest boy in the family, who appeared to be about 14 years old, began to explain the events that had happened, how this lady came, said that she knew their mother, called them by name and even knew that their mother had given two of the children a new cell phone. She asked for the phones and the chargers, they gave them to her. She asked them to remove the chip from one, they did. She then asked them for money, and they gave her some. I asked if she had a gun, they responded no she did not. She asked a 13 year old son, whose parents are in Spain working to walk her to the bus stop, he did, and then the boy came back. The boy was not kidnapped. I was relieved. That happens a lot here.

The lady told an older adult lady there that we were going to start having prayer in her home once a week. We had talked about my coming regularly to host a new outreach group in their home. The woman was interested.

When we arrived at their home, the older lady told me that her blood pressure had spiked earlier that morning and how her neighbor just came by to visit, by chance. I told them that I would like to read them something that was meaningful to me when I was in the military. I am a Christian, and often, I was the not-so funny end of the joke. I read Psalm 27, and explained that all I have belongs to God. Then I told them that I do not believe in "by chance". They thought that the neighbor came by chance, and that I had visited by chance. Today is Friday. I usually visit this family on Thursday, and yet I was there today, Friday.

I explained that because I was there, I was able to meet all these people, and that I would like to start with the Bible stories. Then I asked, when we could begin. They responded Friday of next week at 6:30. So, Friday, 13 October at 6:30 I will start another new outreach group.

This couple is not married, but they have been together 5 years, and have children together. The man decided to leave her a few months ago, but went into deep depression, started drinking and smoking again. His boy began to have serious emotional problems, so they decided that they need to be together. I have tried to stay neutral with them because I want the decision to be theirs whether they marry or separate. I believe that they will marry with time. If you recognize Jesus as your owner, please pray for them. Derlis and Marta are their names.

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