This summer I had the privilege to go on two mission trips with our church, Island Community Church. (Speaking of churches, if you're looking for a church in Memphis that is all about taking the Gospel to the nations, ICC is the place to be!) We went across the globe to Africa and China, all within 3 weeks. The trips were such a great reminder that God is at work among the nations and we are given the incredible opportunity of being involved. My hope is that these posts inspire you to be involved missions globally, nationally, and even right next door.
We spent the majority of our week in Africa focusing on evangelism and dental clinics. We spent half of our week in Nairobi, Kenya, and the other half in Arusha, Tanzania. Serving with our missionary partner, we focused on multiplying the local house church network. It is truly amazing to see people that are meeting together to study God's word, not because it is cultural, but because they have a deep desire to know more about God. It is humbling to see pastors that give their life towards spiritual leadership of others and do so with no payroll or monetary incentive. They serve locally, where they know the people, where they have spent the majority of their lives, and are so extremely passionate about doing the work of the Lord. It is inspiring to see people who have little materially, but have so much spiritual joy.
Our time in Nairobi was incredible. We saw tons of people at the dental clinic (as many as one dentist can see), and were able to share with many many more. I'll never forget the church service Sunday morning. After a great time of worship, the pastor called for the members to come forward with their offering. I sat amazed watching people with barely any source of income as they came forward and placed money into the offering plate. Watching people with so little give with gladness in their hearts was an amazing reminder that following Jesus is not about gaining wealth, but gaining joy in Him.
Our time in Tanzania was just as rewarding and as special as in Nairobi. Tanzania is a gorgeous country, with Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru as the highlights of the horizon. Tanzania was a bit more of an adventure, with no running water and no electricity, but the people there have a beautifully simple way of life. On our last full day in Tanzania, we had another great turn out for the dental clinic. As people waited, we were able to share with them the story of Jesus. While sharing with one woman, she became very reluctant to leave behind her religion to give her life to Christ. It was perhaps one of the greatest moments of the week as I sat with her and the translator and simply watched God give her peace in accepting Him. This woman came in search of help with her teeth and, along with many others, she received an even greater help and joy from accepting the Gospel into her life. There is no greater joy than sharing the Gospel with others and seeing firsthand how the Word of God has the power to change lives.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations..."