There are few things in life that you can guarantee. Death and taxes are the two we usually think of. However, there is something else I can guarantee someone. If you ever choose to go on a mission trip, it will 100%, positively, guaranteed, change your life. I know that is a bold statement, but it’s the truth. All you have to do is ask the 37 folks that went with Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, the church I help shepherd, that travelled to Weslaco, TX and Progreso, Mexico last week. Here’s our team:
It truly was an unbelievable week. It was absolutely amazing to see what the Lord did! We started out the week with work on ripping off shingles of an old “Mission House” in Weslaco, TX where many mission teams come and stay each year. They stay in the house and then drive into Mexico, about a 20 minute drive, to do the work in Mexico. The roof had four layers of shingles on it! FOUR…that’s right…I said FOUR! The roof must have had 25,000 nails in it. We weren’t expecting that to say the least. It took two days to get the old shingles off in upper-90 degree weather. Temps on the roof were around 110 degrees. The men on the roof were soaking wet with sweat in 10 minutes.
Ladies on the ground were tossing up water and soaked bandanas (the men wore on their heads or around their necks) to keep them hydrated.
Finally, we got the roof off and put new shingles on as the week progressed. Take a look! Pretty good huh?
We also replaced a water heater (that’s a wonderfully “goofy” guy that helped with that)…
…dug out two pipes that were clogged, jack-hammered out a trench along the back of the house
and put in perforated pipe to keep the house from flooding, and many other various maintenance projects to this old mission house. At this mission house, it seems no one ever really has time to work on the house while they are there. They just have time to go into Mexico and work and then they come back to Weslaco and just eat and sleep there. Well…let me tell you…it really needed a lot of work and we did it.
The ladies and myself and two other men went to the city park on Monday morning to do the back yard Bible Club. We were told there would be tons of kids there. Guess how many we had show up? NONE! ZERO! That’s after distributing 400 flyers the day before to the housing developments near the park. So, we backed up and punted and went back to the mission house. Another gentleman and I got in a van and started driving…looking for a low-end housing project. The places we had been told to go to on Sunday were “higher-end” and there were very few people there.
Long story short…after talking to a lady…that I’m not so sure wasn’t an angel…no joke…we found a low end housing project with tons of kids…
We ended up having over 50 kids there with at least 12 professions of faith including a lady that was 65+ years old (seated on cooler).
I’m telling you it was a miracle what God did! Our young adults (12-18 year olds) were “witnessing machines.” They had burdens for the children and teens and they shared with all their hearts.
The young man in orange came to Christ after our young adults starting playing soccer in the streets with him along with a couple of “old guys” in the bunch that were they coaching them along like “Paul with Timothy.”
Here is the young man who was saved one night earlier…the next night…now witnessing to his friend along with our young adults! Woohoo!! Talk about going and making disciples and “fisher’s of men.” Awesome!
Let me tell you what I saw our team doing is a pastor’s dream! They were “getting it” and had the “Great Commission” as their focus. They were truly making disciples. It was amazing to see my daughter and other young ladies rejoicing in tears for the simple privilege of sharing the gospel with a 17-year girl.
She didn’t accept Christ, but she is close…real close…so we continue to pray for her.
My oldest daughter led a precious 9-year old girl to Christ and just received a letter in the mail yesterday from her! Katy was so excited to hear from Kallista!
Kallista said in her letter, ”Everything is different now that I have Jesus in my heart.” She said, “My mom is thinking about taking me to church.” I pray her mother will and that she, too, will accept Christ. So many are confused through the teachings of Catholicism about who Jesus is and why is the only way to heaven and that you don’t have to go through a priest for forgiveness of sins.
We went into Progreso, Mexico each evening and taught Bible School there and played soccer in the streets. This is such a poor area and the poverty is so extreme that it’s hard to describe the conditions folks are living in…
I thought…”there is no way someone lives in this house…” Yet, when we went up to it to invite anyone we found there to church, 8 people rolled out. The house is just two rooms…a den/kitchen and a bedroom with mats on the floor to sleep. There is no air conditioning, no indoor bathrooms, limited food and clothes and they’ll use anything to tack up a house/shelter…
Several of the children had heads full of lice. Here are girls picking lice out of their sister’s hair…
We also distributed rice and beans and candy canes for the kids…yes…candy canes in the middle of summer…and no complaints. Would we complain about getting Christmas candy in June?
The experience for our team was truly life-changing. I’ve talked to several of our team members this week and they’ve told me that they are almost depressed. Why? Because you miss the work, the closeness of the team and the people…oh, the people…those precious little faces…
…faces that represent lives that are hungry and the souls that long for peace…peace they can only find in Christ.It was awesome! Ultimately, by the last night we had over 100 kids and we had 4 adults saved…on the street… Can you say, “Wow!!”
We are helping a young 23-year old couple build a church for the people…for the congregation they have been building. They have had the church going for about a year and they’ve had to meet in the lot of an old broken-down house that is so small that they meet in the front yard of it.
What a dedicated couple for Christ! Our church has the desire to help them build their first church. Here I am on the land as we presented Oscar and Miriam with enough money to make the land payment for the next 10 months.
It is taking about 50% of Oscar and Miriam’s income to be able to make the payments on the land and for the lot they are using to hold church services now. They are leaving their jobs in August and moving from Rio Bravo to Progreso to do the work full-time. I’m sure Oscar will try to find some sort of work…but, they are living on faith. Last year their 9-month old baby, Gracie, died of rare disease; yet they are persevering in Christ.
We want to go down in the fall or winter and help start building the church. Here is a picture of the team on the land…
Going on a mission trip as families is an amazing thing. Let me put it this way…I’m done with “youth” mission trips. They seldom work. But, you put Young Adults with Adults…hold on to your seats…Titus 2 and the concept of mentoring as Paul did with Timothy comes alive…just like the Bible tells us. We often stick teens in rooms by themselves and think we’ve got to entertain them. Not ours…they were teaching, leading children and adults to Christ…working for the kingdom! We must continue to look for ways to engage our young people as the Church. When we do…we’ll be astounded at the results.
They led the teaching times…they led in many of our team devotions…they were amazing!! They worked and gave it everything they had on five our sleep each night…extreme heat and tight living conditions…but, so did the adults… Some of us old-timers are still recovering this week!Woohoo!! Here are three amigos “snoozing” on the plane…
Why the long blog post? Because missions is at the heart of our Lord…plain and simple. He came to “seek and save that which is lost.” He told us to GO and make disciples of all nations…to teach them… He rejoices when we get about the business of the kingdom…His…not ours. Why does a mission trip change a person’s life? Because you leave the comfort and security of home and you sacrifice yourself…your sleep…your routine…your wants…your desires for that of the Savior’s. When you choose to do this…I promise you…it will change your life and you will find that when you get back home, your priorities will change and you will adjust your life to do more missions. In fact, I’m heading to another mission field next Wednesday for 17 days. Ethiopia!!
Where the “Great Commission” work of the kingdom continues… Please pray for our team… We leave Wed., June 30th. I’m certain I’ll be forever changed again…because…well…that’s what “doing” missions does…it changes your life!