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Ecuador VBS report


SUBJECT:  Ecuador VBS Mission trip
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
This past week, myself and 13 others from our church went to Pensaqui, Ecuador to help the local church do a VBS for the kids in the community.  We left on Saturday, July 6 and returned on Saturday, July 13.  This was my fourth trip to this beautiful country and people, but it was my first with my entire family.  It was a “bucket list” item for me to check off.  For those who have never left the country, it brings many questions and concerns.  We had 3 on our team who fell into this category.  Today’s time will cover a variety of things that we experience on a mission trip.
The first question is why?  Why should we go?  Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us, “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Teach them to obey all the commands that I have given you.”  Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.  And you will be my witnesses telling people about me everywhere, in Jerusalem throughout Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  This is why we do mission work.  Jesus commanded us to go. 
So where do we do this?  This is a common follow-up question.  This word, “go”, literally means “as you go” or “wherever you go” share Jesus and speak Jesus to everyone.  So whether we are in Marlow, Duncan, Elgin, Stephens or Grady County, Oklahoma, our country, or another, share Jesus.  This is and was not just for the 12 but for all Christians.  It is a mandate from our Savior to speak up, to share, to go, and to make much of our LORD and Savior.  Our church does this locally and statewide in a variety of ways.  We help nationally by helping church plants in Arizona (Valley Life Churches), and globally (Ecuador).  Just remember, as you go, make much of Jesus and share Him by telling of the Good News.
One of the next questions is what?  What will we do?  We have gone by helping local churches get the word out as we have done in Arizona.  We went to Ecuador by helping in a VBS.  We go by having medical clinics for those in need.  We have gone and taught English.  We have gone and done construction work both in Oklahoma and in Ecuador.  Our “what” can be almost anything if we go and work and share Jesus while doing it.  You do this in our jobs, in our homes, and as we go, live for Jesus and share Him and the Gospel.
What should we expect is something that good preparation will help anyone going on mission. 

1-Have a game-plan.  Learn your audience and their culture, beliefs, and bridges to share the Gospel.  When Paul was in Athens, he used their culture to share the Gospel in Acts 17:16-34
2-Be flexible and make adjustments.  No mission trip goes as planned that I have ever been on.  Flights can be delayed, people get sick, plans are changed, etc.  Just as a coach has a game-plan, they have to make changes as to what their opponent is doing.  This can be hard on us as Americans who like to have a plan and sticking to it.  Even knowing that you need to be flexible and making adjustments were hard for us on this trip. 
3-Be prepared for spiritual warfare.  Ephesians 6:12 we are not at war with people, but with evil and the devil.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be aware and understand the devil is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 

4-Be aware of your physical needs.  We need to rest.  We need to eat right.  We need to drink water.  We need to know what we can do and should not do.  We need to be safe and follow instructions from our leader and those from the area that we are serving.  We have to remember that we do not know everything and cannot do as we would do at home.
5-Take care of your spiritual needs.  Prayer, Bible study, trusting the LORD and living by faith.
6-Encourage one another rather than complaining.  Colossians 3:12-13  It was not really easy to do this on our trip.  Things were not going as planned and the spiritual warfare was strong.  Scripture was our anchor to remind us of our purpose when our flesh was weak.  On a mission trip, we need each other, just as we do when are home.  This is why being in church is so vital.  When one is away, we are not the same.  Your presence matters to more than you will know, and your service is critical to the success of our purpose.  We need each other.
7-Be flexible when you return “home” and remember that this is not our home! Acts 20:22.  When you return, take Jesus with you.  We do not know what tomorrow, but we know who holds tomorrow.  When you come back from a mission trip, the things we must do are to implement what we have learned.  If we should be different when we return than when we left.  The return to “normal life” can be challenging . . . You're going to tell people about your mission trip, and they won't understand. You'll show them pictures and they'll say, “Oh, those are nice.” The camaraderie you felt and experienced with your team will fade. You'll go back to school or back to work. And your mindset and heart will return to the way it was before you left . . . if you don't make intentional changes.

Did you know that the God that gave you an incredible experience overseas is the same God when you're at home?  God is the same in Ecuador, Arizona, Africa and yes, even in Oklahoma. It is you that changed and your eyes that were opened when you traveled overseas. Now that you know what He is capable of, it's time to bring it home.  Our church campuses need it! 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Psalm 49

Daily Devotion

Psalm 49

By: Jesse Peters

Have you ever wrestled with understanding something that just didn’t make much sense to you? Have you ever been plagued by a nagging question? Chances are, if you’ve ever had that experience, when you finally find an answer you can’t wait to share it with somebody. That’s where we find our Psalmist in chapter 49. He begins, “Listen up everyone!” He wants everyone to hear what he’s learned.

As a side note I love that he says he figured it out while listening to music!

The problem that our author seems to have been struggling with is, “Why not me?” Have you ever had that issue? It seems like everyone around you has it better off. That things just come easier for other people, or that you have to work yourself to the bone just to survive while other people just get what they want handed to them. Even worse are those who succeed even by their dishonesty or those people who know they have it all and want to make sure you know it too.

These are the kinds of thoughts that I think must have been taking place when this Psalm was written, but apparently, after meditating on the issue (and listening to they lyre) our Psalmist has come to a point of clarity. He sums up his revelation in verses 7-8, saying that the cost of a man’s life is entirely too costly, that there is no way even the wealthiest man could make a payment sufficient to God. He then elaborates on his point explaining that every person, no matter their intelligence, no matter their disposition, when they die, they can take nothing with them (v.17).

When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is who knows God and who doesn’t. It’s amazing how Gospel driven this Psalm is to have been written so long before the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Look again at verses 14 and 15. He explains that these cheaters that he has been speaking of, when they die, they will be consumed in Sheol. While we may not be as familiar with this term, it is one used frequently in the Psalms and prophetic writings as a name for the place of the dead, specifically a place of the unrighteous dead. If you happen to be reading the KJV the translators help us out by rendering it simply “hell.” While this may be the place his enemy is headed, the Psalmist proclaims in verse 15 that when he dies on this earth, “God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol.” Hundreds of years later Jesus would speak the words to His disciples, “ For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)

This is the truth that has our Psalmist so excited that he wants the world to hear. He realizes that though life may be hard, though things may seem unfair, comparing your present circumstances to the circumstances of those around you does nothing but rob you of joy. Instead, as he has learned, we should focus on the gift of grace through Christ. We should focus on the eternal rather than the temporal, the glory of God rather than the glory of man. For while even the wealthiest man on earth could never provide payment sufficient for his soul, Christ has paid the debt once and for all, that all who believe in Him might be saved. Without this understanding, the Psalmist concludes in verse 20, just like the beasts, we will perish.

While the author of Psalm 49 had never heard of Jesus, in fact Jesus wouldn’t set foot on the earth for hundreds of years, through his careful contemplation and seeking wise counsel from the word and law of God, he came to understand a truth that is just as crucial today as it was a 2,000 years ago . . . we desperately need a Savior.

Posted by Jesse Peters with

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