By God’s grace and goodness, the ‘Fab Four from FBC’ returned to Little Rock in the good ole U.S. of A. last night around 5:30 PM.
Our venture to South Asia was incredible. But man oh man, is it good to be home!
If you will allow – I am going to break from the normal ‘Throw-It-Out-There-Thursday’ and ‘Five @ Free Flow Friday’ posts this week and list some of my personal ‘Take-Aways’ from our trip. As with any international trip for the sake of the Gospel – this one also was a game changer.
In no particular order, I will list 6 today and 6 tomorrow:
#1. Authentic Discipleship Happens When Life is Shared
It has been a long time since I was with just 3 guys for every waking minute for 10 days. We did everything together. We ate together, laughed together, prayed together . . . and knew when the other one went to the bathroom during the night. You know what happens when you spend time together like that? Well, other than hearing the toilet flush a lot, you talk about what God is doing in and around your life. You talk about where you struggle. You talk about what you believe and what questions you have about God. You know what happens when you do that? You challenge and encourage each other spiritually – unintentionally. Sharing life together – as parts of the body of Christ – is essential to spiritual growth and development.
#2. God is at Work Among the Nations!
Seriously. He is. He is drawing men and women to Himself in unprecedented ways around the world. Just ask one of the missionaries I was with last week – on Wednesday she visited a slum in South Asia. She ‘just happened’ to start a conversation with a lady there. This lady ‘just happened’ to have had a vision of Jesus the night before. She was eager to know more about this Jesus. The missionary there ‘just happened’ to be there to tell her. What are the chances???
Wanna be where God is working? Go to some of the darkest places on the planet. It’s where the light shines the brightest. I’m telling you – if you want to be where God is at work, go to the nations!
#3. Not Working with Urdu Speaking Muslims in South Asia would be Disobedience.
The Father made His will so plain to us last week, that not doing this would be sheer disobedience. I wrote about it here. If you are a member of FBC, you will be hearing LOTS about this in the days to come.
Go ahead. Ask. Ask other missionaries who aren’t employed with the IMB what they think. Ask IMBers if they are taken care of. Go ahead. Ask ’em.
Is the IMB perfect? No way. Far from it. Can you think of an organization that puts 5,000 people in spots all over the world that is? Nope. But does the IMB work vigilantly to take care of its missionaries so they can focus on the task at hand? Yes sir.
#5. It Is Better to Fail Trying Than to Not Try.
I learned this from one of the missionaries in South Asia. He had just arrived on the field. He wasn’t waiting until he mastered the language before he made relationships. He wasn’t waiting for someone ‘higher up’ in the IMB to tell him what to do. He was getting out there and meeting people from his ‘people group’ in order to find persons of peace who would hopefully respond to the Gospel. Was everything he doing working? Nope. But you know what? He was working. This was a HUGE ‘Take-Away’ for me. Huge. I often default to ‘nothing mode’ because I don’t want to fail. But this guy defaulted into ‘do something mode’ in order to get his failures over with so to move closer to success. Failure to him would be doing nothing. May that be true of me.
#6. My Children Don’t Have to Do Everything.
One family we were with last week had 3 children under 7 years of age. They didn’t have basketball practice because there was no basketball team. They didn’t have art class because there were no classes offered. They didn’t have piano lessons because there was no one around who could teach them (in English, anyway!). Though at first I was tempted to feel sorry for them – it quickly vanished. Why? Because these kids – though not busy with extra-curricular activities – were inundated with their parents’ company, the works of God, and impacting lostness. These kids were going to grow up having been consumed with focused time with their parents and seeing the hand of God all around them.
What did God show me in this? It’s okay if my kids don’t participate in every activity available. At the end of the day, they need Katie and me. What’s more – at the end of the day – I want them to see, know, and experience the power and work of God all around them. For these things to happen – we have to guard and protect, and well, be intentional with their time.