"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mexico Newsletter

One Month Left...

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

What an amazing journey God has been leading me on during the past year! My life has been changing and turning in directions that I would never have anticipated and could never explain apart from the sovereign direction of God’s guiding hand. In just under a month, I will be leaving the country to pursue what could be God’s calling for the next stage of my life, or the remainder, for that matter. But before I leave, I wanted to catch you up as my church family so that you can be a part of this exciting stage of my life. From March 15th to June 7th of this year, I will be living in the city of Jiminez, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. I will be living and working with La Fe Ministries and the Randy Ashcraft family, whom we have supported for many years at CBC. My purpose for taking this trip, in all honesty, is to seek God’s will for my future. I will share my full story later on in this letter. The Ashcrafts live on a ranch about 5 kilometers outside the city of Jiminez which also serves as a home for a number of Mexican boys, ages 7-17, whom they take care of. Randy is a third-generation missionary to Mexico and has been serving there full-time since 1997. He is the pastor of La Fe Baptist Church and the director of La Fe Ministries. He and his wife Gwendolyn have four children - Lee (8), Cynthia (5), Andrew (4), and Caleb (2 mos.). During my stay in Mexico, I will be learning the language, observing the ministry, spending time on the ranch with the boys, spending much time with the Lord, and helping the Ashcrafts in any way I can. I have felt God’s hand on my heart in a very specific way towards Mexico and the ministry there. I am not sure yet if God is leading me there full-time or if He will open a door for me elsewhere, but His leading has been very clear to bring me to this point.I have but one purpose for this trip, despite the many things God will no doubt teach me. That purpose is to prayerfully determine if God is indeed calling me to serve Him as a missionary to Mexico. God’s will always has been and always will be unmistakably clear. I pray that He will reveal that to me in these three months.

Why Missions?

“You know, Christianity can get very complex… And so, If I might, I'd like to simplify everything and pull it down to the irreducible minimum of what it is that you're all about and I'm all about as Christians. We have been given the ministry of reconciliation. It is simply this: Our duty is to tell people they can be reconciled to God. That's what we do. Our mission is to preach the fact that God will forgive all someone's sins forever. That the relationship of hostility and hatred and enmity and bitterness and alienation from God can be totally changed - that enemies can become friends, aliens can become sons. That is the good news...The good news is that alienation from a holy God, which carries the price of eternal damnation, can end, and you can be reconciled with God and enjoy His glorious heaven forever, all your sin having been dealt with. Our high calling and our high privilege is simply to tell people that God will forgive all your sins forever. Are you interested?... We're here because there's one thing we can do here that we can't do in heaven, and that's the ministry of reconciliation...That term defines the heart and soul of our responsibility as believers in the world." -- Dr. John MacArthur

Spiritual Journey...

While my physical journey is about to commence, my spiritual journey has been in process for over a year now. It was about this time last year that I began to sense the Lord leading my life in a different direction. As much as I loved serving in the youth ministry here at Cornerstone, the Lord was making it clear that He had something different in mind for me. It was very hard for me to step down from this ministry without knowing exactly what God had for me next, but that was how God led. And isn’t it just like God that the last trip I ever took with our youth group would be the place He would direct me next!During our week in Mexico in June of 2007, the Lord was very real to me. He was opening my eyes to the world. He was burdening my heart for the lost. He was showing me the need for laborers in God’s harvest. I remember one morning when Brother Randy was sharing a devotional with our group, he said: “What is it that is keeping you from coming down here full-time?” The lesson he was speaking on was about our many distractions in life, but God used it in a different way for me. What was keeping me from going to Mexico full-time? It wasn’t a job. It wasn’t a ministry. It wasn’t family. There was nothing! From that morning on, I began to see things differently. I began to see the potential of my being a full-time missionary. And then, God showed me an opportunity!As we traveled to two different villages, preached the gospel, and saw a number of people saved, Randy came and talked to me. He shared with me his vision for the next 5 to 10 years of ministry. His desire is to start a network of home churches in these villages in the mountains. After sharing with me some of his ideas and beliefs about that he said, “I need two guys…” I had not shared with anyone what God was doing in my heart already, but those words sent me off on the journey that I will begin March 15th. It was as if God said, as in Isaiah 6, “Whom shall we send? And who will go for us?” And my heart replies, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”There was another man with us that summer - Brian Alexander. He came to me two days later. I remember his words as if he spoke them yesterday: “Hey, have you heard what Randy wants to do with home churches? He told me he needs two guys… I think maybe I could be one of those guys.” God speaks again. I hadn’t told Brian that I was considering the same thing. Does this constitute a call from God? Maybe. On it’s own, not necessarily. But when God opens a door, should I look for a window? I can be pretty hard-headed at times. And sometimes God has to hit me over the head with something before I see it. But I have seen enough of God’s so-called “coincidences” concerning Mexico that I have pursued that direction this far. My life is His to use. Whether this trip leads me to Mexico for the rest of my life or merely drives me to a deeper relationship with Him, I am ready for it, I need it, and I am excited about it. Seek… and ye shall find.

Needs...

This part is simple: PRAYER. What decisions should we make without prayer? How does one determine God’s will for his life without prayer? I need much prayer! The greatest thing that you as my church family can do to support me is to pray for me in the following: 1. Direction for my future 2. Spiritual growth and maturity 3. Physical health and protection 4. Moral character and integrity 5. Wisdom (and patience) in choosing a wife As far as physical needs go, I’ve been in contact with the Ashcrafts to help determine my expenses during my 12 weeks there in Mexico. Including my plane tickets, personal and ministry expenses, and my known costs for things here at home, I will need about $2600. The Lord has already provided for $2000 of that cost and I am very grateful for that provision. The one thing that I am most grateful to God for is the family that He chose to place me in. As I grew up, I was able to see first-hand how God always provides for His children as we trusted Him for our needs. He has never failed to provide. Finances, therefore, are the least of my concerns in life. I serve a faithful God. - “Where God guides, He provides.” - “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” - Phil.4:19

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