The Heart Priority

Depending on the Lord to provide for your family’s entire financial support is tough. This is normal life, however, for missionaries. But where does the line stop? How do you balance the mission of raising support and the idea that we are responsible to do our best and still trust God? Justin Williams, missionary to Uganda, explores this very question in his latest post.

Funding.  It seems to be hardwired into every missionary that is living and doing ministry on a support basis.  There have been times in my life where you could ask me what our percentage was at and I could rattle it off down to the decimal.  There have been times (more recently than I care to admit) that I incorporated it into every conversation (I’m sorry if I’ve done this to you).  While it is the job of the missionary to pursue financial support, I recognized something today that filled me so full of joy that I just about wept as it unfolded.  I recognized a heart shift that has taken the “funding is my responsibility” perspective, lit it on fire, threw it in a barrel and rolled it down a large hill.  Seems drastic doesn’t it.  Admit it, you liked the idea of a burning barrel rolling down a hill.  You pyro!

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Photo credit: Justin and Debby Williams

Today started with what seemed like a meeting opportunity that wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go.  I had a conversation here or there about our family, our ministry, our plans, God’s vision and it all seemed to follow the general guidelines of what is acceptable missionary marketing.  As I moved from conversation to conversation, I assessed how well I was doing at presenting myself and our ministry.  Now scientists have a name for this, it’s called “stupid”.  As if somehow I was going to say some magic words that would make money magically appear in our ministry account.  I realized in the next few moments how little this mattered to me and how the “God will take care of your needs” perspective would prove to be the only true method.

I received a phone call from a student that I love a lot.  To be fair, I love all of my students a lot and just because you graduate or leave the country doesn’t mean that I will leave you alone SO DON’T TRY TO GET AWAY FROM ME!  Awkward.  In all seriousness, this is what happens.  God puts you into a life at a point in time and says, this is the person or people that you are going to love and serve and I’ll give you everything you need to do it.  Boy does He ever.  You never forget them, you never stop caring about them, you laugh and cry at the memories and conversations that you still get to have.  It’s the greatest and most painful gift that we have ever been given and we wouldn’t change it for anything, ever.

I left the meetings, as if God had handed me a note that said, “you have an urgent phone call and it needs your attention, now”.  I got on the phone, trusting that God would give me the words to say and the spirit to identify and uplift.  For 40 minutes, I reconnected with this very special student in a way that only God could have woven.  We talked about heavy things and we laughed at my stupid jokes.  In the end, this amazing friend was uplifted, out of chaos and enjoying the joy of life.  It wasn’t me, it was He.  He knew what to say and He knew how to say it.  He knows how to make everyone feel important.  He always does.  That’s why that conversation was the only thing that mattered at that moment.  I wanted this amazing young person to know the love of the Savior and praise God, she got it.  And that is it, isn’t it.  At one point in time, I felt as though I was on the underbelly of society where everyone goes to suffer, die and be forgotten completely and utterly without value.  The place where hope dares not to go.  Yet He came down there, didn’t He, took our hands, saved us, loved us beyond explanation and seated us at His table.  Me?  Yep, and the fact that He let me work with Him today to love and serve and encourage just dropped me to my knees in utter gratitude.

When I hung up, I just couldn’t stop smiling.  I was filled to the brim to know that I had loved as Jesus loves and that my heart’s priority had been demonstrated in the zero hesitation to take a phone call and serve my sweet friend.  I am the richest man alive, because my Savior has redeemed me, loves me and somehow has found a way to use me.

Oh, by the way, as I forgot about the funding aspect and concentrated on the loving service and outreach, we picked up four new monthly partners (that we know of) and a loving pastor of an amazing church that we’ve only spoken to once came up to us after this and said, “let me know if you guys need more funding, we’d love to help.”  There is no one like our God!

 

Divinely Blessed

Steve and Kelly Solheim are missionaries serving in Honduras. They are currently on homeland ministry assignment, which involves visiting churches, camps, and supporters here in the United States. While traveling, the Solheims met a family who shared the story below. Read on to be reminded how God can make an impact through His people.

“In the last few months we’ve met some incredible and inspiring people on our HMA (Home Ministry Assignment) journey. And we’re blessed that so many of them have come alongside us in support of our ministry in Honduras. One of our newest champions recently wrote about her family’s decision to partner with Team Solheim in Honduras.

‘My name is Anna. My husband, Nate, and I live in Buffalo, Wyoming with our three young children. While I stay home with our children, Nate goes to work. He is a truck driver working for a construction company. I pray that this letter will encourage all who read it and will give you some insight into how Steve and Kelly have placed a Godly imprint on my life.

‘From what I have observed, Steve and Kelly deliberately invest their time in becoming acquainted with people. I know that wherever they have been, wherever they go, whatever they do, they are witnessing for Christ. How do I know? The passion that God has placed on their hearts for missions is so great that it radiates from them! Whether they’re in Honduras, in the States, even in our little backwoods church camp, the Solheim’s intense devotion has and will shine into every person’s life they meet!

‘Even though we haven’t really been involved with missions before now, we are excited to go on this adventure with Steve and Kelly. We are thrilled to be a part of this ministry because we know that God will work through it to touch and change the lives and hearts of the young people of Honduras. 

‘The Scripture says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” This verse IS the Solheims. They have spiritually encouraged my husband and myself by just being a light for Christ. For this reason, along with the gentle urging from the Holy Spirit, my husband and I chose to become involved in God’s awesome adventure in Honduras by financially supporting them. For by praying and supporting Steve and Kelly, we are helping them to further the Kingdom of God!’

Nate and Anna McKinney serving together at Cadwell Springs Camp in Montana.

“Champions like the McKinney family make a difference in ministry. They don’t just provide the finances we need. Our partners make an impact on our lives and the lives of the people of Honduras. To say that we are honored and humbled by the team with which God is surrounding us is an understatement. We are divinely blessed.”

To read the Solheims’ entire prayer letter, click the link: PRAYER LETTER.

The Cost

God calls all of us to the mission field, whether it is in our hometown or across the ocean. For Nathan and Jade Metz, the call led them to Uganda, Africa, where they focus on pastoral training and compassionate ministries. In their latest post from their ministry blog, Nathan speaks about the difficulties of a life lived in transition and constant fluctuation. Read on to learn how missionaries deal with transition and how no matter the calling, God is always there to support us.

“With a tiny face buried in my chest and tears dripping onto my shirt I hear a quivering voice repeat the common words: ‘I don’t want to be a missionary anymore.’ If that were all I ever heard then there would be a sense of confidence in the problem. At least then, in that case, I would know what the struggle was. However, there are other times when I hear statements like, ‘Dad, I’m so proud of you and mom for what you do.’ These words came after a day when I was helping clean up the damage caused by a tornado in a nearby city. Coincidentally, all of these comments reflect a tornado, of sorts, that spins chaotically through the homes of missionary families tossing things around and stirring everyone into confusion.

“The strong winds in missionary homes are caused by uncertainty, change, loss, inconsistency, etc. Our kids ask real questions about things that most kids never even wonder about. The lack of certainty and predictability in our future has a dramatic effect on the way we think and feel about the world. I remember a few months ago, in Uganda, we were leaving a community event with several families with whom we had become close. As we walked to the car one of our kids asked, ‘Will that be the last time I see my friend?’ I was blown away. What a strange question for a child to have to wonder about! Already our kids have started to hold life loosely. Jade and I do the same thing. In one hand we see the value of a full and deep life with strong attachments and lasting relationships. In the other hand we see how frequently those lasting moments become passing moments and those deep friendships are pressed by the burden of miles and years.”

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Photo Credit: Tiffany Janofski

What can you do for missionaries dealing with transition? Find little ways to help out: make them a meal, write a letter of encouragement, or pray for them.

To read the rest of the post, visit Nathan and Jade’s ministry blog.

CMS: Preparing to Make Disciples

This week, missionaries were here at World Gospel Mission headquarters for CMS (Champion Migration Strategy) Workshop. Read more to learn about some of the ways support staff came alongside the missionaries to help prepare them to recruit prayer warriors, financial supporters, and work teams to partner with their ministries.

On Monday, the time came for our 2016 MK Camp for all 8 to 18 year olds. The camp was held at Ouabache State Park near Bluffton, Indiana, while the parents were in CMS training. The theme was “Carpe Aeternitatem: why settle for just a day!” Although meals and activity times were together, camp staff ran separate tracks for the older and younger campers during the meeting times.

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Dr. Dan Schafer prays over the circle of campers by name before they leave for their Missionary Kid Camp for all 8 to 18 year olds.

During CMS, new and veteran missionaries gathered together to learn how to speak about their ministry fields and create support strategies to better understand how to get champions during their homeland ministry assignment (HMA). One important emphasis WGM focuses on is that no one can do ministry alone. Two of our Homeland Ministries support staff, Paula Crist and Jim Smith, did a terrific job teaching the sessions.

What is HMA?

Missionary disciples preparing for ministry and career missionaries returning to the United States after a term of service on the field are given a homeland ministry assignment to help build a support team. This time of HMA provides the missionaries with opportunities to share their calls to missions and to challenge believers to become actively involved in missions. Through church services, group meetings, and personal contacts, missionaries on HMA acquire the prayer and financial support they need to get to the field.

Pictured below from left to right: Dana, Hope, and Dan Jacobs (Kenya), Shelley Chapman (Nigeria), Bill and Lydia Allshouse (Mexico), and Becka Johnson (Papua New Guinea).

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Becka’s husband, Jim, was helping another missionary by working on her car so was unable to speak during chapel. Also not pictured are two missionaries who will be serving in sensitive areas.

A busy schedule of meetings, conversations, and chapel speaking made for a tiring week. Please pray for these WGM missionaries as they strive to be better equipped for the journey ahead and the hurdles they will approach on the field. May God guide and direct them as they follow the paths toward the Great Commission that He has placed on their hearts.