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Some of you may know about my eldest son’s interest in missions. He’s spent the past 2 summers in Brasil (it really is supposed to be an ‘s’ in there, and I get in trouble with him if I spell it the "American way!") with Teen Missions International, a great group of folks who’ve taken thousands of kids overseas to serve missionaries over the past 2 decades. Many of you even gave to Bo’s fundraising efforts, and it was amazing for him to watch God provide through some people he didn’t even know!
This year, it’s Zachary’s turn! He’s been chomping at the bit to go, and now’s the time. He’s chosen a trip to Papua, New Guinea where his team will live in tents in the jungle, take their baths and do their laundry out of 5 gallon buckets, and spend 8 weeks building the first ever Free Bible, Missionary and Work training center in that country! In their free time (!) they’ll perform music and dramas in local villages and/or churches. Oh, and in case you heard about it and are wondering, YES, last week’s earthquake was in Papua–centered in the very town they’re headed to! It wiped out their hospital, air strip, etc. etc. These people have been devastated, and God wants them to know He loves them.
Bo’s trips were definitely life-defining. He actually will head back there around the same time Zach heads to boot camp; the pastor that TMI works with in Manaus, Brasil heads 5 different churches and has been gracious enough to request that he and a friend from his team come back to work with him personally. They’re going to stay for 6 months (eek!) Having a chance to *see* the reality of life for different people, many of whom don’t know Christ, has made a major impact on his life. Zachary has always been interested in missions, also, and I know his service will make a difference for the people they’re building for, as well as in his own life.
These are incredibly hard economic times. You know I’m gathering and storing things away. Most people are really watching where their money goes. Why on earth would we even consider trying to do such a thing now? Well, let me tell you the thought that came to me as I was pondering all of this yesterday: giving to missions–to the spreading of the gospel, the good news of Jesus–is the only safe investment there is. While the stock market rises and falls, jobs come and go, prices rise and rise, one thing is still certain: God knows what we have need of. And we have been commanded not to worry . . .
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not the life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Matthew 6:25.
That command is quickly followed by the only true antidote for anxiety about the future . . .
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" Matthew 6:33.
A lot of people claim to care about spreading the gospel. But do we give? If we aren’t giving, if there’s no action to our words, we don’t *really* care! And often it’s because we’re storing up treasure here rather than handing it back over to God. I know there are plenty of times I’m tempted to do that; it’s human nature. Let’s do better! Let’s trust God to care for us and test Him to see if He’ll truly pour out a blessing we can’t contain upon us–even in these difficult times.
You can read more about the Papua, New Guinea trip and Teen Missions International at www.teenmissions.org . And if you or your church would like to give–whether it’s $5, $50, or the $4790 he needs (hey, think big! )—or their suggestion of spreading it out and doing $32 a month in April, May and June–you can do it online; just click on "donate" at the top of that page; click again on "donate online" in the middle of the next page, and "give now" on the following page, where they’ll give you room for all your info and then you can click "team member" in the category section and add in Zachary’s name. Or drop me a comment and I’ll send you an address to mail to. We’re excited about what God wants to do through youth, and about His plans for New Guinea!