This being my first mission trip as well as my first time out of the country, I had many unknowns and anxious moments. Such as not knowing team members,safety, separation from family, and my work in Africa. I really had no idea what to expect. No matter how much preparation you do you can't prepare for it all. But in God's mighty way ALL is what I got!!! He put me on a team that was exactly that, a TEAM. Everyone had genuine heart felt feelings for the Songhai, as well as each other. Safety was a simple process of just trusting GOD. He delivers. My family's willingness to let and want me to go made it easy to accept this mission trip with an open heart and open mind. I missed them greatly and couldn't wait to see them. Africa, what an experience. As JD said one word cannot explain this place. To see God at work while you work is mind boggling. For someone to hear the gospel for the first time and be captivated by it was an experience I have no words for. It was a jaw dropping moment. Lastly, these missionaries are phenomenal. The passion and genuine HARD work that they do day in and day out is truly a GOD calling. And for me to be a part of it was God's sovereignty.
|Living Hope Team|
(Brandy, Brian, Todd, Cephas, James, JD, Chris, Peggy, Tony)
The cost of following Jesus.
This was the lesson I was asked to teach to a believer from K and a believer from YK. The scripture was Mark 10:17-31. Before we began teaching we were able to hear the testimonies of these two brothers in Christ. Let me just say that I didn't truly understand the cost of following Jesus. The daily challenges these men face is indescrible. From being cast out by their families and not being able to farm the family land to people not buying from them at the market because of their faith. Islamic opposition is everywhere you look, but the strength of Christ dwells in these men. At the end of the day I was able to teach these men the text, but they taught me what it actually looks like.
On Sunday we were able to gather with some believers for worship. Before praying J asked if anyone had prayer requests. Ib from YK asked prayers that his wife would remember the Word of God in her mind and in her heart. This is a man that comes from a culture where they do not tell their wives they love them, but here is a man that has had his heart changed. Only through the power of Holy Spirit is that possible there.
To sum up my experience in one word it would have to be "Powerful". I can use this word in so many different ways to describe my time here. Powerful was the sight of the Holy Spirit drawing that one sheep to His Word during our C2C presentations amongst all the distractions. Powerful was the hunger of the believers to learn more scripture & to learn how to present the C2C themselves so that they would be able to share in their villages and that others may come to know Christ. Powerful was the strength of the Songhai team as their work was long and hard. Powerful is the way my eyes were opened to the cost of following Jesus. Powerful are the Blessings I received from the Songhai people. Powerful were those who came before us and those who will come after us for being obedient to the command to go and make disciples.
In closing I recall the words spoken to our team by the Chief of T who is not a believer. "Have patience in your work for your enemies are many. Their message is like the rabbit, but yours is like the lion."