Churches are Multiplying in Malawi!

When I say that I am a part of a church plant in Boston, most people look at me a little funny. A church plant is Christianese for a brand new church…the church is called Journey Church, and it’s a great little community right outside of Harvard Square. It’s been just about three years since we had our very first service – you can check us out here:

Maybe you too aren’t familiar with the term “church plant” or have wondered how churches start. This month, it’s been fascinating for me to take part in Harvesters International’s ministry here in Malawi, whose vision is to plant churches all over Africa

Their strategy is simple:

1. Work with local pastors to determine a location where there are no existing local Christian churches

2.  Share Jesus’ love to people in that community. This could involve going hut-to-hut offering prayer, or actually physically preaching on the streets. Another World Race team  on my squad this month spent three days where they stood on street corners, played worship songs, and then preached the gospel. As they did this, the Holy Spirit touched people’s hearts and people responded by giving their lives to Christ. In fact, our ministry contact said that the way people responded showed that the blessing of the Lord was among our teams.

3. Determine a location and meeting time locally for the new believers to meet…most of the time this means meeting outside under trees!

4. Establish church leadership – treasurer, secretary and pastor. This is done simply by gathering everyone in the room and asking, “Who do you think should be the pastor of this church?” and encouraging them to make this decision based on what they know about one another. With Harvesters, theological training is not required prior to becoming a pastor; rather, after being appointed, local leaders come and train leaders one-on-one by going through a training manual prepared by Harvesters.

5. A new church is born!

Churches like this have been multiplying throughout Malawi – Pastor Harvey said within the past two months, he has helped to plant five churches!

This month, while my team was up in northern Malawi, Ashley’s team was in Lilongway preaching the gospel and planting this church. I had the honor of visiting them and distributing some bibles that had been donated by one of my squadmates. Check out these photos of a seven-day old church:

When we arrived, everyone gathered together within the small schoolhouse building which they had recently established as their new church. About half of them had become Christians in the past week!

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I was able to share a word of encouragement about God’s faithfulness. Afterwards, fifteen more men, women, and children prayed to become a follower of Jesus!

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Here are the three local leaders that are being raised up to pastor this church. The two young men on the right had just become Christians within the past week and are so on fire for God! A few days ago, one of their friends was sick, and so they prayed and she was healed. Then that lady led them to another friend who was sick and after prayer was healed. If that wasn’t all, she referred them to another guy who couldn’t walk, and he was healed as well. Praise God for how He is already working in this African village!

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Below, Pastor Harvey distributes the beautiful brand new bibles!

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There is a scarcity of bibles in Malawi – at a youth conference we preached at, only one in ten Christian youth owned a bible. These young men and women were so happy to receive their very own bible so they can study the word of God anytime, anywhere!

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The new church! Isn’t it beautiful?

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Visiting this church and distributing their bibles was honestly one of my favorite moments on the World Race so far. I think that one thing that I appreciated most was the sense of vibrancy and life in the room – people were so excited and hungry to learn about following Jesus. This was very refreshing and is something that can unfortunately be lost within established churches.

As I reflect on my church planting experiences in America and Africa, the major difference that I see is the simplicity. In America, there are seemingly dozens of hoops that you must jump through before you can plant a church – finding money to rent a meeting room, buying equipment, etc. But here in Africa, you can plant a church anytime, anywhere – all you need is people who are hungry for God. And here in Africa, the harvest is ready – when the gospel is shared, people are ready to jump “all in” for Christ. I wonder what we Americans can do to become less distracted by the “stuff” involved in planting a church…

Another thing I really appreciated about this experience was to see the fruit of the seeds of the gospel that had been planted within our teams. It can be draining to continually go to new places and cultures and then leave before we see the fruit of it…Ashley’s team was so excited to hear about how this church was doing after only one week in Christ!

Speaking of seeds, it’s rainy season here in Malawi, which means it’s also time for planting crops. Here Pastor Eddie is holding maize seeds, which are coated to ensure they will sprout in the ground:

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Here I am, planting maize in the ground:

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After seven days, here is how they look! Amazing how much they grow in only one week…reminds me of church plants Smile

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Last, here is our team’s highlight video from this month:

December Newsletter: A Malawian Christmas

Newsletter 12/30/12
Highlights from this month:
Church Planting in Malawi, Africa
Next Month: Youth Ministry in Kathmandu, Nepal
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Church Planting in Malawi, Africa
This month, we ministered to three different locations in Malawi.

  • First, we did hut-to-hut ministry in a tiny village between Mzuzu and Nkata Bay. Lack of running water and electricity, as well as many huge bugs, were challenging for us, but I really enjoyed meeting and ministering to the many people there who were hungry to know God. Not only this, but we arrived in Malawi at the start of mango season – the fresh juicy mangoes we were able to pick right off the trees were absolutely delicious!
  • For the second part of the month, we served in the city of Nkotakota with Timothy Harvest Ministries. Timothy Harvest is building a large training center to equip local leaders. The first day we arrived, we spent time praying over their land. God gave me a prophetic word to share that really meant a lot to them – read about this experience here.We spent the week doing more hut-to-hut ministry in this area – I appreciated that the ministry took  notes and made follow-up visits to each home. It was clear that their focus was on making disciples, not just converts. Not only this, but they distributed water filters to improve the health of the community – it was refreshing to take part in this holistic ministry vision. Our last day in town, each of our team members shared an hour-long seminar with their staff – I shared about UniteBoston and challenged them to think about how they could work with other churches in the city with their training center.
  • Last, we spent about a week in the capital city of Lilongway to finalize our visas for our journey to South Africa and Mozambique for debrief. The highlight for me of this time was delivering bibles to a church that another one of our teams had just planted. Read about this experience, and my reflections comparing church planting in America and Africa here

This has been a challenging month in many respects – it’s difficult to be away from home for Christmas, as well as the fact that one of our teammates, Danielle, left the field to go back to America. God has really been working with me with my heart – and showing me how broken I am without Him. I’ve been realizing that we are all poor, but in different ways. Read about my blog “On Poverty” here
Finally, as I was reflecting on my last three months in Africa, I wrote a funny blog called “You know you’re in Africa when…”

Next Month: Youth Ministry in Kathmandu, Nepal
We just took a 36-hour straight bus ride from Malawi to Johannesburg, South Africa via Mozambique and Zimbabwe. We have a few days here with our squad for debrief and then will be taking four flights to Kathmandu. I am really looking forward to next month – I love youth ministry and am really looking forward to living in the Himalayan Mountains. It’s hard for me to believe that the World Race is already halfway through…What will God have for us during these next five months in Asia?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I hope that everyone had an amazing Christmas! Christmas in Africa looks a lot different than in America – For many Africans, Christmas is the only day of the year they get to eat meat. On Christmas Eve, our team visited a girl’s orphanage, which was such a blast. We painted nails and did a Christmas skit with the girls. I enjoyed it so much that I think I am going to start an annual family tradition where my family will serve others on Christmas Eve…On Christmas Day we were blessed to be at a hostel with another team. We spent the day playing cards, swimming in the pool, and eating a delicious dinner of beef and potatoes. I was also blessed to call and talk to many members of my extended family as well – I miss you guys! It was a different sort of Christmas Day than I’m used to – centered around loving God and loving the people that He has put in my life rather than the presents under the tree…Read about this here.

Prayer Requests
The past few weeks have been challenging for our team, Team Bithiah. Please pray for unity among the members of our team, Christ’s love to shine forth, and an ability to see one another as He sees us. Thanks for your prayers!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Praise be to our God who is our everlasting father and our prince of peace. He alone is good!

In His love,

Kelly

If I were president…

In America, I’ve noticed that more and more stores and restaurants are staying open on Christmas Day. Our consumer-driven mindset has taken over – where buying is more of a priority than the relationships we have with one another. Time-and-a-half pay draws employees to work on this special day, taking them away from family; when stores are open, people are out and about, making last minute purchases…which means more business so more stores are open and less people are home, and the cycle continues.

If I were president, I would mandate a public holiday on Christmas – where absolutely all stores and restaurants must be closed. This way, it would encourage at least one day out of the year to be spent at home, with friends and family, enjoying one another’s company.

It’s noon on Christmas Day here – I’m sitting at a hostel in Malawi, Africa. You might be surprised to hear that in Africa there are no Christmas decorations or Christmas trees. In fact, yesterday when we visited an orphanage, the eyes of the girls opened real wide when we talked about Christmas trees teeming with presents; they asked with astonishment how the presents get there?

As a young girl, I remember waiting in anticipation for Christmas day –which for me was the day I got to open up all my presents. I remember standing in my room with my hand on the doorknob – until 6:58, 6:59, 7:00am when I could come out of my room and see what Santa brought.

But in Africa, Christmas doesn’t mean presents at all. For many Africans, Christmas is the one day out of the year where they get to eat meat – chicken and rice…Christmas means going to late-night service on Christmas Eve, then coming to church in the morning to worship with friends and celebrate Christ’s birth. More than anything else, Christmas means spending time with friends and family.

And there is something beautiful about this. Because I believe the best present you can give someone is your heart – your time and presence. Making memories together is something that binds people together and that no one can take away.

This year, there was no Christmas presents for me. Instead, I got to wake up and play cards with my teammates; I even learned an amazing new game called Osha. We had a talent show where we performed a short skit or song for one another about what Christmas meant to us. Then we shared a nice meal together…it’s amazing how good beef and potatoes can taste when it’s something you don’t eat regularly. Then we all cooled off by swimming in the pool here (we are so blessed!) before Skyping with our families back in America.

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And I have to say – this was an amazing Christmas. You see, when there are no decorations or presents, there are little distractions to the true meaning of Christmas of celebrating Christ’s birth:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6)

So this Christmas, like Jesus, I encourage you to give yourself incarnationally to one another. Give your time, your presence, your talents. And take the money that you would spend and give it away to people in the world who are in need. Americans spend 450 billion dollars in the month of December every year – but guess how much it would only cost for every single person on the face of the planet to have access to clean water? Just 20 billion dollars, less than 5% of what we spend on Christmas…

 

And this is why, if I were president, I would mandate that all stores and restaurants be closed on Christmas.

P.S. If you would like to give this Christmas, Living Water International is a great organization dedicated to drilling water wells across the world and ending the global water crisis. Check them out here:

On Poverty…

Since we arrived to Africa in October, I’ve continually been dwelling on the concept of poverty. For years now I have wanted to come to Africa to see the true condition of the world around me. I always thought of poverty as being a lack of material possessions; but I’m learning that poverty is a whole lot more than that. I expected to see poverty in young children with torn clothes and bellies distended due to malnuitrition. But poverty showed its face in a way that I never expected – a mental state of desperation and hopelessness that has broken my heart more than seeing children scantily clothed or people living out of mud huts with only cornmeal mush to eat.

I’ve seen this desperation of poverty cause small children to see me, a mzungu, then run to me from way down the street with their hands out begging for me to give them something, anything it seems.

I’ve seen poverty’s desperation in an elderly man in a small village whose eyes had cataracts and whom we had been praying for healing. After we finished praying, he said that he had no more pain…but then he whispered in my ear, “Give me money.” My heart shuddered and I questioned the healing that he professed. Was this what it was all about?

I saw poverty’s desperation the first day we arrived at the bus station in Mzuzu, Malawi. We were renting a minibus to get to the home we were staying at, and as we drove off, there was a brawl for the person that would get the job of driving us home. To our astonishment, doors on the van were kicked and fists were exchanged. I realized in that moment how desperate people are for money and how powerful the mindset of poverty can become.

In visiting Africa, I expected to go and see poverty, but what I didn’t expect was the poverty to come to me – to be so in my face, all of the time. What do you do when you see these things? It makes me want to shout and cry at the same time. Really, do anything but just sit here. But as the months went on, I began to see the brokenness and poverty not just in the world around me, but within myself. The book “When Helping Hurts” talks about how we actually are all struggling with poverty – we have a broken relationship with ourselves, God, others, and the rest of creation.

However, the book also asks readers to examine their true motives in helping the poor. it asserts that often the economically rich have a “God-complex” where our efforts to minister to the poor are not driven simply to help them but to help ourselves feel good and that we have accomplished something worthwhile with our lives. I resonated with that statement… In reality, I am just as broken and poor just as in need of Jesus as anyone else. Who am I to come and think I have all the answers?

Not only that, but today God showed me that there were more things in my heart that He needed to work out. It’s Christmas Eve and we visited a girl’s orphanage here in Lilongway…It was such a joy. We got to act out the Christmas story and play games and paint nails with the girls.

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The girls have so little, and their eyes opened real wide when we talked about Christmas trees and presents…one even asked, “Where do the presents come from?” Another girl shared how excited she was to eat chicken during Christmas dinner, something they get to eat only once a year…In that moment, my heart broke. I remembered how that morning, I chose to leave my one bottle of nail polish at our hostel, rather than sharing it with the girls, justifying that I only have one bottle and didn’t want to use it up…God showed me that yes, I struggle with poverty too – choosing to prefer others over myself.

I think all of us World Racers have had a breaking point in Africa. And for me, this happened last week. I became frustrated by the fact that we have had no running water or electricity all month, I had dozens of mosquito bites all over my legs and I couldn’t stop itching them – I was sleep deprived and overworked and exhausted and tired of the poverty and desperation. I was broken

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(photo of the insects I found behind my pillow one morning last week. Gotta love Africa!)

I reached out to my team and to Jesus…and heard the voice of our Father calling to me,

I’m here. Yes, I’m here with you – and I see how broken you are. But Kelly, don’t run away from the pain – let these experiences mold you and shape you. I have brought you for a reason; a greater purpose than you know. Not only are you here to help these people but they are here to help you – to help you see me. I can teach you something through the pain that you can’t learn any other way. So learn to embrace it, because as you embrace the pain and struggles, you will embrace me…

Then this morning, in my bible reading time, I came across this verse:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17)

The craziest thing is that the closer you get to Jesus, the more broken you realize you are. Like an onion, He begins to peel open the depths of your heart, revealing more than you knew existed…We are all poor, struggling with poverty in different ways. I’m discovering that a broken heart is the greatest sacrifice we can give.

On a lighter note, here is a video that my teammate Meghan made about the bugs we encountered in Malawi…

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Outhouse
from Meghan
Tschanz
on Vimeo.

You know you’re in Africa when…

You know you’re in Africa when your rice has rocks in it and you have to pick through the beans to make sure you didn’t get any crunchy ones. You also know you’re in Africa when you munch on fried ants and decide they taste kinda like popcorn, or when you devour ten mangoes at a sitting and call it a meal, and then hours later you discover mango strings hanging from your teeth. You know you’re in Africa when you ask people what their favorite thing to eat is, and they insist that it is ugali, which is cornmeal mush. In fact, if an African doesn’t eat ugali with a meal, they will tell you that they are not full. Yet, I find it beautiful that people here have so much joy eating their everyday, commonplace food.

You know you’re in Africa when your feet are getting pecked by a chicken while riding the oh-too-crowded bus and you stuff your head in your armpit in effort to avoid the wafts of rank B.O. smell. You then realize that your armpit covers your ear, which is good because it dampens the incessantly peppy African music that is always on and always turned up way too loud in every single vehicle. You know you’re in Africa when you add hours to your projected bus ride time because nearly every bus has a flat tire and brakes that go out. But then you remember the number good conversations you have had and the wonderful people you have met in transit in Africa – moments that you wouldn’t change for anything.

You know you’re in Africa when it’s an expectation for Sunday church to last at least three hours or when you stand up for praise & worship a dozen times in one morning. Yes, people are really that hungry for God here – there is nowhere else they would rather be. You know you’re in Africa when nearly every store name references Christ in the title and there are more Jesus stickers than you have ever seen in your life. You know you’re in Africa when you can talk about demons and people don’t think you’re crazy, and nearly everyone has an answer to the question, “What miracles have you seen?” Yet, it breaks your heart when you discover that only one in a dozen Christians own a bible – and many pastors are pastoring with little theological training. You know you’re in Africa when worship at church means jumping and dancing and ends with a conga line, followed by melodic gospel choruses which surround the room and fill your entire being, rich with a depth that comes from a relationship with God that has been tried and true. I know that I am really going to miss they way they worship God here.

You know you’re in Africa when you lay down at night and are immediately faced with a dilemma: window open or window closed. Each one means death: window closed means sweaty smelly heat and insomnia; while window open is an invitation for malarial infested mosquitos to incessantly buzz around every square inch of your body, especially your ears, it seems. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter which you choose, because either way your mind plays tricks on you, pinpricks on your skin or just plain old dirt convincing you that there are bugs where there are not. How satisfying it is to itch…but when you scratch, the bumps get itchier, and when you itch they get scratchier. Crazy how that works. Yet when you go outside to pee in the cockroach-infested outhouse, you have to pass by the family who is sleeping on the cold ground outside on a woven mat. They have completely moved out of the home in order that you have somewhere to lay your head and keep your things. Yes, God always seems to find a way to show you how thankful you are for what you have.

You know you’re in Africa when you climb the tallest free-standing mountain in the world by going slowly, or when you can run with giraffes through the field or gawk at a male and female lion doing what only they do. You know you’re in Africa when running water and electricity are considered luxuries, not necessities, and the most shocking thing that happened today was that the power didn’t go out. You know you’re in Africa when you rejoice when you see a porcelain toilet, and you’re one of the only people you know who uses toilet paper. You know you’re in Africa when you see more bugs inside the house than outside, or when a huge rat leaps across your feet during a team meeting and you think nothing of it. You also know you’re in Africa when the showers don’t have ceilings, allowing you to gaze at the countless pinpricks of light pierce through the dark velvet African night sky; the moon reflects on the splashes of water from the bucket and you sigh deeply, knowing that this is the best bath you have had in your life.

You know you’re in Africa when people greet you by the color of your skin: “Mzungu! Mzungu!” rather than hello. Children stare at you, and follow you around, and you feel like you are a safari but you are the ones being observed. Only in Africa can you go on a jog and within a few minutes have dozens of feet pattering behind you, or you pass by a school and every single child sprints outside to greet you. You know you’re in Africa when the only English that children know how to say is, “Give me money,” holey clothes are acceptable to wear in public and fists are exchanged in the fight to have the job of driving your team somewhere. You know you’re in Africa when your heart breaks for the teary-eyed men who are not able to provide food on the table for their family…isn’t there anything more you can do to help?

You know you’re in Africa when women balance more weight on their head than you can carry on your back. Not only this, but you see young African children working in the fields at a young age – tilling cracked soil and harvesting maize…could the video game-addicted children of America make it even one day here? You know you’re in Africa when you can breastfeed your child anytime, anywhere, but showing your knees is scandalous. You know you’re in Africa when relationships are central and business is secondary – it’s humbling when you stop by a stranger’s home and they drop whatever they are doing to talk to you and listen to what you have to share. Here in Africa, it’s actually acceptable to be late to a meeting because the neighbor stopped by…you have all the time in the world to get everything you need done. My schedule-driven; time-focused American mind can learn a lot from this way of life.

These past three months haven’t been easy, but when I think back on it, I’ve learned so much about myself, about life, and about the world…Thank you, God, for the experiences that you have allowed me to have here in Africa!

Here’s a video that my dear friend Carmen made about one particular eventful African bus ride:

The Harvest

Beads of sweat dripped down my face as I shoved my belongings in my backpack once again. We had spent the past ten days doing hut-to-hut ministry in a remote village near Mzuzu, Malawi, and were preparing to depart the next morning to leave for our next ministry location in Nkotakota. As I carefully rolled each item of my clothes and marveled at how my pack always seemed to shrink, I was interrupted by Katy, our team leader. She called our team together and announced that we were asked to prepare a short message to encourage leaders in the ministry. I felt a prompting in my spirit, so I volunteered. That night, as I prayed about what God would have me share, He brought one scripture to mind:

“Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubabbel.” (Zechariah 4:10)

I formed a short message on why we should not despise this day; because although it might look like the day has small beginnings, this time of consecrating yourself is very significant in the spiritual realm.

I had no idea how significant this passage would be…

The next morning, we arose at 4:30am to pack our bags and sit on a minibus for three hours where a chicken was running loose at our feet and there were so many smelly people smooshed together that I only had half a seat. On our second leg of the journey, I had the joy of sitting in the farthest back seat of the bus, where we went over large bumps and my head hit the top of the vehicle. Finally, we arrived to Nkotakota and were ushered out to the site of the Bethel Training Center via bicycle.

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As we came around the corner, I saw the leaders of the Timothy Harvest Ministry sitting in the circle of benches around the large Mayeah tree:

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We found out that the leaders were fasting and praying for a section of land where they preparing to build a training and conference center. However, they had been experiencing some crazy things happen on the land, such as a whirlwind emerging from the garden and traveling south, which turned into a giant snake when it got to the water. At that moment, another whirlwind came down the shore and turned into an alligator. I kid you not – this is not a type-o or the latest scene from a sci-fi movie – these are the kinds of things that happen in Africa. In this place, the spiritual realm comes alive…

Due to this supernatural activity, the director of the ministry had called a day of fasting and prayer to consecrate the land to God, and our arrival in Nkotakota had coincided with this day. Over the next few hours, our team joined them in a time of praise and worship, prayer walk throughout the land, and a blessing over the maize crops:

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As we concluded the day, I was given the opportunity to share the message that God had put on my heart. As I read through Zechariah 4 again, I realized that it was actually a prophecy to the building of the temple of God. I felt that this was very significant for Timothy Harvest Ministries as the prepared to build their “temple.” I encouraged the leaders not to despise this day of small beginnings, and to be confident that the time they had taken to fast and pray was very significant in the spiritual realm. Finally, I shared the scripture that God had put on my heart during the prayer walk – 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The director announced that he felt this really was a word from the Lord for their ministry due to the way it had been confirmed and that 2 Chronicles 7:14 was the scripture they had used the previous time they had spent fasting and praying!

As the day came to a close, God did something incredible…It had been cloudy and a bit drizzly the entire day. I had prayed that God would shine the sun as a symbol of the work He had done that day in preparing the land for the “harvest.” As we said the final prayer and departed for the day, the most incredible sunset emerged:

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The best news is that the story doesn’t end here. The significance of the time we spent fasting and praying became evident in our next three days of hut-to-hut ministry…As our team traveled around, offering prayer and encouragement to families in the area, we ministered to 92 individuals and 37 people committed their lives to Christ! We found that although many people could explain who Jesus Christ was on an intellectual level, they were incredibly hungry to experience God and be in a relationship with Him. There was truly an incredible harvest…and I believe that this was largely due to the time that had been taken to pray and fast over the land. Thank you, Jesus!

Missionary, Shmissionary

The World Race challenged us this month to post a blog with “missionary” in the title…so here’s mine!

Missionary, shmissionary. What do you think of when you hear of the word “missionary?”

Perhaps you remember the countless times you have opened your door to meet two men dressed in suits. Maybe you think of the television commercials seeking funds for the orphaned children in Africa, or a friend who traveled to a faraway country to help with some sort of relief effort.

All these things can be associated with missionaries, but in reality, you don’t have to wear anything special or go anywhere in particular to be a missionary.The word “missionary” simply means someone who is engaged in a mission.

As Christians, we are not defined by the title of “missionary” but rather our mission. Our mission is simple: Jesus defines it as loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37). Essentially, it is a mission to love the person in front of us – and indeed, the bible says that the world should know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:34).

Sounds simple, right? But practically, what does this look like?

Being a missionary means standing in front of hundreds of African teenagers to deliver God’s word and encourage them in their relationship with Jesus:

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But it’s not always as straightforward as that. When you are a missionary, “ministry” can happen at any moment, even in the middle of African rainstorms:

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…or at the top of mountains. Always listen to the Holy Spirit and seek God about how you can encourage the people that He puts in your path:

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Being a missionary also means that you will hold a lot of babies. It’s important that you remember to smile, even if they pee on you:

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Being a missionary means taking time every day to seek God, even when the conditions don’t seem right:

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It means caring for people that society has rejected:

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and hanging out with people, even if they don’t look like you, just because:

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Take time to listen to them speak from their heart, because everyone has a story that is worth telling:

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Being a missionary means learning to decipher languages you don’t know:

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smiling when you eat strange food, such as pig fat (Ukraine’s national dish):

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and doing what you can to learn from the local people and culture. Remember that just because you’ve done something a certain way for your entire life doesn’t mean that it’s always the best way:

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When you are a missionary, you will have to learn how to sleep anywhere, even behind pool tables in the Dublin Airport:

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and don’t be surprised if you find yourself in some inconvenient situations…

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Above all else, being a missionary means sacrificing for friends you love:

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and continually humbling yourself to serve others and lift them up:

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You’ll find that when we are weak, then He truly is strong:

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Missionary, shmissionary. So what does a missionary do?

Being a missionary is a call to love, to serve, to die, and therefore to live. Be ready to have your world turned upside-down. Jesus is going to rock you, but there is absolutely nothing like the life He has for you.

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