Friday, July 29, 2011

GLEANINGS FROM A SUMMIT OF MISSIONARIES

Affirmations that Free Methodist missionaries surfaced in small and large groups at a recent summit

Jack Munos, a Free Methodist t missionary assigned to
Haiti, helps distribute water filters and solar ovens,
equipping folks in effective use of these tools.
In my current development work with International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), an international child sponsorship initiative connected to Free Methodist World Missions (FMWM), I get to hang out with missionaries every now and then.  I interview them, meet their families, share ideas with them, coordinate projects with them, try to solve problems with them, occasionally have lunch with them.  ICCM works closely with cross-cultural missionaries in 30 countries.

To say that cross-cultural evangelical Christian missionaries in our 21st-century world are unusual and have unique perspectives on life and what's going on in the world would be an understatement.  It would be an overstatement, however, to say these folks are anything beyond ordinary, quirky, and just as typical as the rest of us.  In light of this, missionaries have my highest respect for who they are and what they attempt to do.

Recently, Free Methodist missionaries from every region of the world gathered for a summit to share experiences, explore common ground, encourage one another, and discuss challenges and opportunities together.  Yesterday, FMWM Director Art Brown shared in an e-newsletter a list of "to die for" statements that were randomly volunteered by the gathered group.  The list follows.

I find the list of "to die for" statements by these missionaries fascinating and insightful.  I don't think the list is in any particular order.  It doesn't seem like any effort has been made to edit or consolidate the gleanings.  Some seem contradictory to others.  I don't agree with all of them.  In some instances, I don't even understand them.  A few of them, taken in isolation, seem dangerous, but they can be balanced by other statements.  Together, they seem to reflect spirituality and concerns that perhaps come exclusively through the fire of their individual and collective experiences.  They are, for me, at least, something to contemplate.  I invite others to do the same.

1.      Keep a simplified lifestyle.

2.      Keep your heart right and your task will be right.

3.      Be mentored and mentor others. No one can be all and do all.

4.      My greatest asset is my weakness. It's through weakness God demonstrates His strength and gains glory.

5.      We answer to God.

6.      God is at work. We're called to join Him in His work but it's still His work.

7.      If you want a measuring stick, use my rest, which is Jesus' rest speaking over me.

8.      God takes care of details.

9.      God still knows what He is doing, and He is still in control.

10.    Before all else fails, let love prevail.

11.    It's more important to be loving than right in most situations.

12.    You can't over-communicate. If you think you have communicated, you probably haven't.

13.    To say "I can't" or "send somebody else" is to say God can't use me.

14.    Without the power of God, great things won't happen.

15.    Prayer has to be the foundation for everything.

16.    God rarely transforms animists to faith in Christ instantaneously, but He can and He does.

17.    When a task looks huge, God has already prepared everything for me.

18.    The silence of God is meant as a gift and not a trial.

19.    God is already working on all sides of me. I don't have to manipulate it; I only have to listen and obey.

20.    God will reach people in His own way. I don't make the plans; I just plan to follow.

21.    It is more important for me to understand what others are thinking than for them to understand me.

22.    There will always be more opportunities than we can possibly do so I need to find God's priorities and focus on doing those.

23.    Identify, Identify, identify.

24.    I'm working for the church, not a business.

25.    Don't be afraid to ask.

26.    Follow the Lord's leading. Don't get ahead.

27.    Faithfulness is God's expectation of me, and success is being faithful.

28.    God can use uncertainty.

29.    God's strength is enough.

30.    Be still and know that He is God.

31.    Not praying is not an option.

32.    When decisions need to be made, what brings the most glory to God is the defining factor.

33.    Prayer should be the advance guard of any spiritual battle.

34.    My worth is in being, not doing.

35.    God works in my absence and sometimes in my presence.

36.    Redundant communication is a must ... is a MUST.

37.    We have been put into community for a purpose. We can always learn something from someone else's perspective.

38.    God is amazingly patient.

39.    Listen.

40.    Pray, pray, pray.

41.    God is working on our behalf to do His work before we even think about it or are in the situation where it's required.

42.    The final thing is seeking the presence of God.

43.    Don't believe all of your press, good or bad.

44.    Love and relationship trumps language skills.

45.    Go to Jesus.

46.    Tomorrow will look different and it's ok.

47.    The consequences of my obedience belong to God.

48.    God is not absent, unloving or neglectful, even in the Mexican drug wars.

49.    The contentment of the rural/ethnic believer who is viewed by the majority as poor, uneducated and sometimes dirty reminds me of what really matters.

50.    Always seek as much accountability as you can.

51.    Keep a simplified lifestyle.


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