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- Mailing Address: 2250 Clark Avenue | Long Beach, CA 90815
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I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to go to Kenya this summer with my home-away-from-home, Bethany Church. This will be my fourth time going to Kenya with them and saying that out loud is unbelievable to me. This post is difficult for me to type because there is so much I wish I could share with you; I would easily write a ten-page paper if I were allowed. Since we first went to Kenya in 2014 and have returned several times since, I am overjoyed to tell you that we have entered a 10-year partnership with the village of Nkoisusu. Last summer, I tried to meet as many people as I could and memorize as many details as possible because I knew that we would be returning again. From the pastors we met, to the headmaster of the school, the wonderful teachers, the children who attend the school, and the men and women in the village who walked to the school every morning as soon as the sun was rising and the roosters were singing…I have been looking forward to going back, seeing their faces, and hearing about how God has been at work in their personal lives and the village as a whole.
If you’re wondering why it is we as believers are called to go on missions trips, I have wondered that too. I became a Christian when I was 18 because a conversation about a mission trip filled my mind with curiosity and questions about who God is and what people who believe in Him, well, believe. I did some traveling on my own and took the first step in missions by going to Mexico with Bethany Church. Seeing the passion our missionaries in Mexico had for the work they were doing was unlike anything I’d seen at my own jobs and in every relationship I had known. I’ve never seen anyone rely fully on the power of Christ with not only their personal well-being but the well-being of every single life they encountered. I knew then that something special was happening there and that God was very present in the mission field. When the opportunity to go to Kenya came about I immediately signed up. I remember the tiniest details of that trip to this day five years later.
Mission trips take us out of our comfort zone. They provide a space for our faith to be put to action in a tangible way and allow us to rise to the occasion and let God work through us in ways that may not happen here at home, in our communities, our jobs, and our relationships. Whether it’s the mundane routine we find ourselves stuck in, the busyness of life and a never-ending to-do list, or distractions big or small...it is too easy to focus on these things rather than God and His heart for His people.
Mission trips should be a direct representation of how God views the world. We all have heard “What would Jesus do?” at some point in our lives and the answer to that question pertaining to missions is to “Go”. I think of the people who Jesus spent most of His time with, the poor, the lame, the outcast, the broken, the lost, and the unwanted. I think of how I myself fit into that list as I fall short of God’s glory every single day. The difference between myself and others around the world (and our own backyards) is that I have the truth. I have been bought with a price and I know in my heart that God sent His only son to die for me. I now live differently because of that truth. When I think of areas in the world that have not heard about who God is and what that means for the people living in those areas my heart aches. What could the Word of God do for those who have never heard it?
Mission trips are a way to spread the Gospel and encourage relationship with Christ to whoever has a desire to do so. Whether that is through Vacation Bible School programs, construction projects, feeding programs, sports programs, educational programs, physically/emotionally meeting a need(s), teaching skills or trades, sharing meals and experiences, or encouraging individuals one by one, God’s love for us all is being put on display. The relationships built in one year at Nkoisusu are already established and prayed for. Nine more summers spent learning about everyone there, asking questions, listening to them, praying for them, writing to them, and loving them is unbelievably powerful. We invest in the long term health of this village and community by empowering them and living life alongside them. Is this not what Christ did with those He spent time with?
Whether you are capable of boarding a plane and joining a team in the future or you are incapable of physically getting there - anyone can live their life on mission for Christ. There are so many people within our city who need to be loved on and hear the truth about who Christ is and what He has done in our hearts and lives. Our testimony is the strongest piece of evidence we have that can show others that God is who He says He is. There are many ways to be involved in missions and I encourage you to think about what that looks like for you. Whether you want to learn more about who our church supports, get involved in a team on future trips, ask to be added to email lists from our missionaries so you can be praying for them, or stepping out of your comfort zone and talking about God with someone you think may need to hear about Him, you can be on a mission. We are called to make disciples of all nations, whether that's in your home, your neighborhood, your workplace, or even on the other side of the globe.
Will you GO?
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8