Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
The Commission to Mission
Several Sundays back, as we gathered for a membership meeting after morning service, something unexpected happened. I was standing there with Corey, looking around the buzz of people preparing the space, waiting, when one of the guys came up to me. He was a member of my Sunday morning class meeting, but we hadn’t chatted much outside that group. He leaned over and asked, “Have you considered going to Cuba on the mission trip?”
My brain froze for a moment. I hadn’t. They had announced a mission trip, but that information was filed away in the back of my brain as interesting but not relevant to me personally. I am not an evangelist, nor a missionary. I don’t feel a particular draw toward unreached people groups. And yet …
As I have worked through my Master of Divinity I have come to recognize one of the most desperate needs in the American church is to recover its sense of mission. When people use that language, it usually brings to mind trips overseas to far off mission fields. But, that’s not the mission field we need to focus on. The church in America, and most of the Western world, formerly known as Christendom, is dying. Mostly we stopped seeing our neighbors, our communities, our cities, and our states as mission fields. We assumed everyone we knew already knows Jesus, and if they don’t it’s because they don’t want to.
As a result, the U.S. is the third largest mission field in the world. But, the American church doesn’t teach mission to its congregations, we are left instead with tepid “outreach” focused around feeding and entertaining our neighbors, with maybe a little Jesus thrown in. We need to recover an understanding of mission. And from the day I began my Intercultural Communications class God began to whisper that sooner or later I would need to go on some kind of foreign mission, because it was the only way I would ever see first hand what it looks like to do indigenous missional work.
This flashed in my mind about the same time I began weighing the thoughts. Corey would not approve, he doesn’t like the idea of me traveling out of the country. I know this because I was planning a trip to Israel before COVID and vaccines aborted that trip. Which is the reason I have a passport. I had been wondering why God prompted me to get the passport and then allowed the trip to get derailed. I told Jason I’d consider it and talk to Corey.
Corey told everyone we know how his crazy wife wanted to run off to Cuba. And the universal response was that God would take care of me, and from some lovely boys whose names will go unsaid here, that he should ask me to bring him back a box of cigars. (He’s not allowed to have cigars) My Dad’s response, when I asked about possible language learning programs without realizing Corey had messaged him, was to send me a subscription to Babbel. I filled out the application and sent the first payment.
Did you know mission trips cost money? So did I, which was another of the objections that jumped up in my considerations. I am not a fundraiser, and not having done this before, I wasn’t quite sure how all that works. I’m still not. But, since Jason said something about asking folks to help with costs, and to give to the mission itself which will focus on helping 33 established churches in the area with resources ranging from training to plumbing, I asked how people typically do that, and the best way to receive assistance so folks can write it off as a donation if they want.
He said donations to me personally, which would help with getting to Miami to meet the team, would obviously not be a write-off. But, you can make donations directly to Life in His Name, our partner ministry, with either Tera Ertz (for my trip costs) or Cuba Mission (for donations to the churches we are ministering with in Cuba) in the memo/notes section. Any donations to LIHN would be eligible as a tax deductible donation to a 501(c)3.
I have no doubt that the Lord intends to provide everything we need for this trip, just as He always has provided for everything else He’s ever asked me to do. But, His Word tells us to ask and we will receive, and that we have not because we ask not. Those are the verses He brought to mind as I prayed over upcoming payments, so here I am asking. If He is leading you to be a part of this mission trip, whether through financial gifts or through the gifts of your prayers for our team, for the work while we are there, and for us all to come back with a renewed spirit for growing God’s kingdom here at home, I thank you and Him for His leading.
Father, thank you for Your constant invitation for us to join you in Your work to build Your kingdom. Thank you for the promise that You will pour out abundantly on this work to accomplish all You have in mind. Thank you for Your Spirit in us, around us, and His work through us to meet the needs of Your people. And Thank you that You go before us in every endeavor. Lord, I ask Your blessing on every person reading this, on every person who chooses to donate, and on every person who prays for our team and for me. Let us walk in Your glory, grace, and joy as we carry Jesus into all the world. Praying in Jesus name, amen.