Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mission Destination: Our Own "Back Yard"- Part 1

In my original post I talked about the mission field being anywhere that we are at. In the last week I've had an opportunity to minister in my own little corner of the world. Pastor Eddie often says, "We are blessed to be a blessing!" I believe that that's true. And, I've also read Matthew 25:

35For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, 36 I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me. 37Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? 39And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? 40And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. [AMP.]

Well, Praise God, there are food pantries, clothing rooms, hospital visitation ministries, and prison ministries in almost every larger town or city. But there's another part to what Jesus said. And that's the portion of that scripture that I've taken on over the years as a part of my own personal ministry. It's the part where Jesus said, "I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me."

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I love to hike and backpack. Completing the 2,170+ miles of the Appalachian Trail is STILL on my "TO DO" List (With almost 600 miles of it done, I have only about 1,600 miles left!). What many people don't know, though, is that I combine that love with an opportunity to minister the Gospel as well. No, I don't carry a pulpit out to the trail crossings, but I do impact nations. Every year over 2,000 people either go to Springer Mountain, GA and attempt to hike the AT to Mt. Katahdin, ME or start in Maine and work their way south. They come from all over the world and from every aspect of society. And they are a virtually untapped mission field.

If you live close to the AT you've probably seen them...scraggly, sweaty, smelly. And they have weird names, like Sundance, Frisco Kid, 10 Bulls, and so forth. [Or even weirder ones like my Trail Name, which is Mouse's Motor! Yeah, there's a story behind it!] Yep! Yep! Yep! That's a Thru-Hiker! What an opportunity! Since 1998 my kids and I have ministered to hikers as, what they call, "Trail Angels" doing "Trail Magic" [Don't let the name freak you out!]. What it actually is, is being a living example of the Love of God and the Hand of God in action.

Being a Trail Angel can mean anything from leaving some cold sodas in a cooler at a road crossing to...loading a smelly hiker in your car to give him or her a lift into town or back to the trail...or even to bringing one or two (or more) of them home with you for the night [Disclaimer: ONLY as you are led by the Holy Spirit!.] Offering a hot shower, a non-Ramen noodles meal, and a dry/safe place to stay. In the last week I've been blessed to host three such hikers in my home overnight, and I've given rides to several others. In the process, I just live out my life, and my walk with God, in front of them, like I always do.

This post is getting kind of long, so I'll make this "Part 1" of a two part post. In "Part 2" I'll introduce you to the hikers to whom I was able to minister. I know you'll be blessed by the way God ministered in each case.

Update on Shipping of Medical Supplies and Equipment & Update on Tentative Departure Dates

God is such an awesome God! The 40-foot shipping container is full of medical supplies and equipment, donated from across the country. We are certainly going to impact en entire nation for Christ! Opportunity for Harvest: Due to the amount and weight of the items being shipped, there has been a slight delay in the container being shipped overseas. We continue to thank God in advance for a manifestation of the $10,000 needed to cover the shipping expenses...a.k.a. an opportunity for all of us to sow Our good seed into very good ground!

It takes 4 - 4 1/2 months for the container to make it's journey once it leaves Tucson. It will travel by rail or truck to the Pacific Coast, where it will be loaded onto a huge cargo ship. From there it will travel to the coast of Africa, to Kenya. From the coast of Kenya it will travel by land through Kenya to Kampala, Uganda. It's a long journey, but the shipment will have such a tremendous impact once everything arrives.

That having been said, I'll update everyone on the other topic of this post...our Tentative Departure Dates. I've heard it said that much of Missions has to do with Patience on the part of the missionaries. That was confirmed even more strongly for me tonight as I (Finally!!!) got to watch End of the Spear. Since many of you may not have seen the movie, I'll do a quick synopsis of it. It is the true story of the Waodani Tribe in Ecuador, the five missionaries who gave their lives trying to share the gospel with them, and the spouses, sister, and children of the missionaries who went in after the massacre to finish the work that their loved ones had begun. Years later, the man who had killed one of the missionaries was led to the Lord by the missionary's son. The missionary's son later moved his wife and children down to Ecuador to live with the very person who'd speared his dad to death.

What a tremendous example of Patience on the part of the missionary wives and children. Trusting that one day the work that was started would produce a harvest of changed lives. I've said all that [...Because I like to talk? No! <Although, I do like to talk :0) >], but because I am learning a lesson in patience through all of this.

We have been given the awesome responsibility of training the Life Link Clinic staff in the use of the Cardiac Monitors, the Blood Gas Machines, and the other equipment that is being shipping there. Even though they are very well trained in what they do, they have never had access to the type of equipment that's been donated. It is critical that WE be the ones to set up the equipment, so that it is done properly. And that we have adequate time to hold training sessions. Well, if the equipment isn't there when we're there, then we can't do that.
Depending on the exact shipping date and transit time, it looks like we're moving our departure date back to November. That's actually a blessing to me, despite my initial response (groaning) at the delay...there's a few "Toys" I'm sowing for before I go over there (...a good digital camera, laptop computer--to post pics and info to the Blog while we're there, etc...). So, I'm applying the lesson that Pastor Eddie taught on yesterday evening: Being Positive in a Negative World. But, what I want to know is...has someone been praying for patience for me?!? Thanks alot! ;-p

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Uganda Missions 2006: Where We're Going and Why

During the last two weeks of September 2006, a team of highly-skilled, anointed, on-fire-for-God (and did I mention Humble?) people from the Roanoke Valley will embark upon a Life-Changing Adventure of Epic Proportions! OK, so maybe I've watched a little too much LOTR or such lately, but it will be an adventure. And it will certainly be life-changing for those of us who are going.

We are partnered with FCCI (Faith Community Churches International) and Good News Ministries in Kampala, Uganda. The medical part of our team will assist the staff of the Life Link Clinic in Kampala, treating up to 400 people per day. The construction part of our team will work on "The Chicken/ Fishpond Project". This project will provide chickens, eggs, fish, irrigation for crops, and an extra income for an entire village.

Just a little over a week ago we were able to ship over $200,000 worth of supplies to a central staging area at Faith Community Church in Tucson, AZ where other churches have also shipped supplies. From there the supplies will travel in a 40ft shipping container, first by land and then by sea to Africa. The cost of overseas shipping is $10,000. We know that that sum is no problem for the God who "owns the cattle on a thousand hills."

If you are led to partner with us in the shipping costs, cost of "The Chicken/Fishpond Project", or our other missions expenses, such as airfare, lodging, immunizations (Ouch!), etc., please email us at Uganda2006@valleywordministries.org or phone us at (540) 562-1500. We will provide details on how you may sow your finances into this awesome mission trip and have a part in the harvest of souls that we will see brought into the Kingdom.

My Mission...Which I've Chosen to Accept!

Well, this is the start of a new adventure for me. But, as (like most women) I love to talk... I think I'll survive! The intent of this Blog is two-fold:

  1. To share with the rest of the world what Valley Word Ministries is doing in the area of fulfilling the Great Commission.
  2. To encourage others to step out and take their own part in fulfilling it.
As I start out, I'm not really sure what shape this Blog will eventually take, but I know that, as with any work in progress, there may be challenges to overcome and changes that need to be made.

My Pastors have a Vision for an Extended Church. One that reaches far beyond the walls of our building that's located at
1928 Loch Haven Drive in Roanoke, Virginia. An Extended Church that reaches, not only across our own city and state, but across oceans and borders, as well, to touch the World with the Love and Power of Jesus Christ. It is a Vision to "rescue and equip a generation for the harvest."

As I share things with you in future posts, I have to fall back on what the Apostle Paul said, I'm not coming with fancy words and man's wisdom [my paraphrase]. I'm coming with a desire to see the Lord Jesus glorified and lifted up and to excite YOU to become involved in missions wherever you are. Remember, the "Mission Field" begins in your own back yard, down the block, at the Wal-Mart, and in your workplace.

We're all called to be witnesses [ Acts 1:8 ] and ambassadors [ 2 Corinthians 5:20 ] for Christ . A witness simply tells what he or she has seen, heard, or experienced first hand. We can all do that. Now, to be an ambassador is different. An ambassador is "A diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another."

God has appointed YOU as His diplomatic official to represent the Kingdom of God here in the World. With that Appointment comes the Authority that the position carries with it. The U.S. Ambassador to, for example, France doesn't have any authority on his own, but the title and position to which he's been appointed Gives Him Authority. But, as Christians, we don't just have government-given authority. Jesus said in Matthew 28:17-19 (King James Version):
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [Emphasis mine]
In other words, He said, "God's given Me all power, and I'm giving it to YOU. You go and teach..." How can we go wrong with God's authority in and over our lives?

Well, I hope I haven't [as Pastor Eddie says] "quit preachin' and gone to meddlin' !" But, I believe that as you journey with us, you will be inspired to step out into whatever mission field you have been called, armed with the knowledge that you can impact your corner of the world for Christ.