Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Goal- 2 Timothy 2:2 (Part 3)

Lastly, I did want to mention that we have some other goals or things that we would like to see happen while there. These are various things, of which I'm sure will morph into other avenues once we are there and see different needs that we can help out with.

The first goes hand in hand with our "discipling disciplers and training trainers." It is to see the school that is being built with the funds raised by the Marion Baptist Association to be used as a theological training center as well. I would love to see the dual usage of such an important building.

I also have future hopes to plant new churches either in the area or beyond. I think this would happen naturally as the churches in the area grow in health and in size.

Thirdly, we hope to help the more rural areas receive clear/clean drinking water. I think this can easily be done by the usage of inventions here in the States. The "Lifesaver Jerryycan" comes to mind. It costs a few bucks but, wow!!! these things are cool! Check them out here:

Fourthly, I hope to get the Bible on audio, along with the means to listen to it, to the people in the area. There are many who are illiterate, and that might be their only means to hearing the Word of God.

Fifthly, we think our being here would be a great way to help out the Carolina's group, the Marion Baptist Association, and now Trenton FBC in Georgia, in planning the summer trips where we already do awesome Vacation Bible Schools for the kids (which also allow for outreach opportunities to the parents). Our presence will aid in follow up and discipleship of new converts. Furthermore, we plan on organizing more opportunities to serve on different short-term trips at different times in the year that will focus on different areas of ministry. 

Our Goal- 2 Timothy 2:2 (Part 2)

Pastor Jose, God bless him, pastor's 3 churches in three small towns there with no leaders to help him. "Solo yo, solo yo" was his response when I recently asked him if God had raised up any leaders to help him in the church. That translates into, "Only me, only me" in English. There are a few who help out with this or that, but none who can teach or who have Biblical wisdom to help carry the load. We often complain about the lack of leaders in our churches here in the States. Listen, if your church has at least one, you have more than Pastor Jose! My heart goes out to him just sitting here, writing this post. Wouldn't God send someone to help him? Well, we think he is calling us to do that.

The great need as we see it for the churches in Esperanza, Pierda Gorda and Burruco, is DISCIPLESHIP! I'm sorry if that wasn't too original and fancy, but it is the truth. The often quoted great commission of Matthew 28:19-20 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (emphasis added).” 5, 10, 15 years from now or whenever God calls us home or to another place, we hope to look back and see that our time was faithfully spent doing the work of the Lord in making disciples, and teaching them. We believe that a biblical disciple will be one who can disciple others.

Another way of stating our primary goal is: to "train trainers, and disciple disciplers" in accordance with 2 Timothy 2:2. It reads, "and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." It is our vision, that through the faithful, fervent teaching of God's Word (Mat. 28:20), the demonstration of the Word lived out in our lives (1 Tim. 4:12), our loving servant hood towards the people (Gal. 6:2), and our sharing of the Word to others outside the church (Acts 8:4) will produce the effects of 2 Tim. 2:2- disciples who can disciple others. When we pull out, it is our hope that like the Apostle Paul, we can have helped in establishing elders in the church that no longer need us. Of course, we realize this is of the Spirit, and can only be done in His power.

And I dare not forget prayer as well. A retired missionary once said, the reason we need to come up with so many methods and strategies is because we don't pray enough. I agree! Guys, there is power in the Word! There is power in love and serving! There is power in character! And there is power in prayer!

Our ministry will be to work alongside Pastor Jose (under his leadership as our Pastor) and will be specifically to the church, because like I have been explaining (mostly in part 1) this is where we feel God is leading us. Specific ministries with orphans, hospitals, clothing the needy, etc., are all great and can be Christ-honoring, but will not be the center of our ministry and work. In focusing our attention to any one of those things I just mentioned, or on anything other than the church as a whole, would be sin (for us)- it would be to go against what we feel the Holy Spirit is leading us to do, and it would mean not utilizing my spiritual gifts to the fullest, which primarily involve teaching and evangelism. Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us to use our spiritual gifts for the work of ministry; for building up the body of Christ. I do not think it strange that what God has revealed to both Celia and me as the need he wants us to help fulfill-discipleship within the church-is what we are best equipped to do by the Holy Spirit! However, it is my expectation, that our work will lead us to work with the orphans, within the hospitals, and the poor; and God-willing, to partner with other ministries or missionaries in the area who are doing this.

Our Goal- 2 Timothy 2:2 (Part 1)

It is time that I make a post centered on what we will be doing in the Dominican Republic. Much prayer, Bible study, conversing, and other reading have gone into this post. That is in part why it has taken so long for me to write this.

Even though it has taken much time to confirm what our direction will be in the DR, it was made known to us in the days following our "call" from God, almost 2 years ago. While on our second short term mission trip to the DR, God impressed His will upon my heart while listening to a devotion given by Pete Menendez. I have written of this in a previous post ("Our Testimony"). The neat thing about the timing was that God had sovereignly arranged us to be there 3 weeks this mission trip instead of the usual 1 week. This too can be read about in the same previous post. The advantage of being there 3 weeks, living immersed, was that we got to see the "big picture" and what we were getting ourselves into. It was these 3 weeks that have gotten us through many ups and downs in our journey to get back to the DR for good. The need we saw while there (of which God revealed to us), confirmed our calling like nothing else could.

We saw many needs while there that summer of '10. All sorts of physical needs abound. Anyone that goes there on a short trip can see that immediately. But what is harder to see, and lurking below the surface, is the great spiritual need. Many who have been there (or ones that have not, but can still simply imagine), would claim that it is easy to see the spiritual need as well. And they'd be right in one regard-it is a lost world. There is a profound lack of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ everywhere you look around. But the spiritual need that might be missed, and what we would have not picked up on if we were not there for 3 weeks (and even then if God had not revealed it), is the spiritual need within. I'm talking of the spiritual need within the church.

You see, us short-term missionaries, are not the only ones that can fool. We are not the only ones who can muster up the fortitude to put our "happy" faces on for a week, or dare I say, our "holy" faces (I know not everyone does this). The local churches there do this as well. As soon as the Americans left on the bus that summer (the one I've been talking about of '10), the whole atmosphere changed. The extreme lack of direction and lack of joy, of which we later found out stemmed from a lack of knowledge of the Word of God, overwhelmed us like a strong, rushing wind. We learned of grievous sins, current on-going sins of which I will not mention in detail, which are going on in the church. We saw what we thought were dedicated workers in the church, lose their zeal. We saw believers' desire to be conformed to the world more than the desire to be conformed to Christ. In fact, the Lord Jesus did not appear to be a significant part of most of the church there.

I remember filling Pete (the leader of these trips) in with some of the details after we returned to the States, and he said he never knew-and he'd been there 7 years. This was what God revealed to us; this was our field, and God graciously allowed us to see it. I say that because it was grace. In spite of what we saw, our spirits were strong within us. We did not flounder. We grew solemn, yet we were filled by the Spirit with confidence that we were meant to see this for our benefit. We were meant to see it so we would know what we’re getting ourselves into, and so that though it grieved us, we would still be willing. This willingness can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit-this is why I say it was grace.