New Hope’s second missions project was to build a school for African nationals among the Kwa-Zulu people in South Africa. They relayed an interesting story from these people. In the 1970s or 1980s the government dug irrigation ditches on both sides of a river. This allowed the rich land to be farmed.
The Christian Zulus on one side of the river produced rich crops and prospered. The traditional animist worshipers on the other side continued to live in abject poverty, producing almost nothing on the same kind of soil. Why?
The Christians believed they were responsible before God to work hard and live soberly. Their pagan neighbors, on the other hand, viewed work as the women’s responsibility, while the men spent their time drinking and fighting.
Paul advised the Ephesians church, “Let him labor, working with his hands what is good” (Ephesians 4:28). We have a choice to work and prosper, or play stay poor. Do something constructive!
Tags: labor, missions, work
Some years ago I was leading a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. Our flight had a lay-over in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We had enough time to get off the plane and walk through the concourse to stretch our legs. Because there wasn’t much to do in the airport, I arrived back in the plane before long.
As I was boarding I noticed the pilot and a couple of stewardesses had the overhead compartment open above my seat. It all looked pretty serious. As I walked up, the pilot asked me, “Sir, is this your bag?” “Yes,” I replied.” “Open it,” he said sternly.
I pulled the bag down onto the seat and noticed a vibration, kind of a buzz, coming from it. I felt around and noticed it was coming from one end compartment. I had no idea what it was. As I opened it up, I noticed that buzz sounded familiar. It was my electric razor buzzing away. I shut it off and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
What appeared to be very scarey was nothing at all. How many times have you been scared to proceed when there was nothing to fear but fear itself. Chances are that thing you are scared of today will turn out to be nothing at all. Be strong and of good courage. God is on your side.
Tags: airport, fear, missions
I’ve been writing about some of my memories of a 1974 mission trip I went on to Sonora, Mexico. The primary purpose of this trip was to dedicate a church the people of Calvary Temple paid for. It was my first trip outside the United States, and was an eye-opener.
This was a dirt-poor (literally) community in the desert of Sonora state. The people literally lived in cardboard boxes with salvaged tin roofs. They had no source of income. The only previous church in town was a Catholic Church which was no more than a broom-closet sized shack with a clay crucifix, and few small pictures of some Saints, and a bouquet or two of flowers. Not one seat and no priest. In contrast, This new adobe church sat in the middle of town, with a nice metal roof. It was about 20′ x 30′, had no doors or windows (as yet). But it stood out like a mansion compared to the Catholic Church. They decorated by streaming toilet paper from the rafters. One light bulb hung by the wire from the rafters over the pulpit.
When the meeting began, the ladies all sat on one side of the aisle, and the men on the other. There a couple of speakers set up outside to broadcast the sound in all directions. As the meeting progressed, the church was packed with people, until crowds stood outside around the building trying to get a glimpse inside the open windows. It was a great experience to see these people so excited about something new in their community.
When the last time you were excited about something new happening in town? Got any ideas about how you can help stir up some excitement?
Tags: evangelism, missions
About ten years ago we had a man by the name of George Bloom attending our church, and he loved to write poetry and prose. He gave me the following entitled ‘Do We Have it Rough’:
If the five billion people in the world were reduced down to a single town of 1,000 people, these statistics would be seen:
a) 20 of the people would be from the USA, 980 from the rest of the world.
b) The 20 Americans would receive half the income, the rest of the town would have to get by on the other half.
c) 303 of the people would be white, 697 non-whites.
d) The 20 Americans would have an average life expectancy of over 70 years, the non-Americans an average under 40 years of age.
e) The 20 Americans would consume 15% of the town’s food supply, even though they make up only 2% of the people, and the lowest income group of the Americans would be better off than the average of the remaining non-Americans.
f) The Americans would use 12 times as much electricity, 22 times as much coal, 21 times as much oil, 50 times as much steel, and 50 times as much equipment as the rest of the people in town.
Still think you’ve got it rough?
Tags: missions, statistics
Missionaries to other cultures must study the cultural background of the people to better find a way to communicate the gospel. A missionary in West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the redeem in the Bambara language. So he asked his African assistant to express it in his native tongue. “We say,” the assistant replied, “that God took our heads out.” “But how does that explain redemption?” the missionary asked.
The man told him that many years ago some of his ancestors had been captured by slave-traders, chained together, and driven to the seacoast. Each of the prisoners had a heavy iron collar around his neck. As the slaves passed through a village, a chief might notice a friend of his among the captives and offer to pay the salve-traders in gold, ivory, silver, or brass. The prisoner would be redeemed by the payment. His head then would be taken out of his iron collar. That’s what these Africans understood by the phrase, “God took our heads out.”
Look for a way to describe redemption to your co-workers.
Tags: missions, redemption, rescue
There are two kinds of people when it comes to missions – those who need to share Christ and those who need to hear about Him.
The famous Brethren preacher H. A. Ironside used to tell the story about a meeting in which a missionary offering was taken. When the collection plate was handed to a wealthy man, he brushed it aside and said, “I do not believe in missions.”
“Then take something out,” said the usher, “This is for the heathen.”
If you can’t be a giver, you must be a taker…there are only two kinds.
Tags: giver, missions, offering
A young man was accepted for the African mission field and reported at New York for passage on a ship. On further examination he learned that his wife could not stand the climate. Heartbroken, he prayerfully returned to his home and determined to make all the money he could to be used in spreading the Kingdom of God over the world.
His father, a dentist, had started experimenting, on the side, with an unfermented wine for the communion service in his church. The young man took the business venture over and developed it until it assumed vast proportions – his name was Welch.
Today, the Welch family still manufactures the famous ‘Welch’s Grapejuice’. He has literally given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the work of missions.
Sometimes it is trouble and disappointment that leads us down the path God has chosen for us.
Tags: communion, missions, trouble