I didn’t think I’d get the chance to write this week, but there’ve been a change of plans. We were supposed to leave for Puerto Viejo on Friday night, but a lot of people were still feeling sick, so our staff decided to leave Sunday morning instead.
We mostly were in class this week, but we did go to one of the Homes of Hope projects to lay a foundation. It was kind of awkward, because it absolutely did not require all eighteen of us. There was also a lot of rain, so we ended up only working for like two or three of the six we were supposed to. It was fun. I wish we could have done more, though.
This week’s teaching was superb. Our speaker was John Stenson, of Wisconsin, and he talked about evangelism. John reminded me a lot of Chris Gothold, one of PCC’s former high school pastors. He had a very non-linear teaching style. In the onslaught of wisdom thrown my way, I’ve found my whole idea of evangelism being completely redefined.
Jesus came to earth as a man to represent Himself to His creation. As Christ-followers, we’re called to be imitators of Jesus and therefore His representatives. Our lives should communicate the God’s good news for mankind; the good news that we can walk in freedom with our Creator.
What really challenged my perspective this week was the idea that evangelism is communicating God’s character, and not necessarily eliciting a response. I’ve always thought of evangelism as including the response, so I’ve shied away from sharing Jesus with people because I was afraid it wouldn’t provoke the life-changing decision that is expected. According to John, that’s not what it’s about. It’s all about sharing about who God is. That’s it. That alone, over time, will produce transformation.
John showed us two really cool images to illustrate this. First, he took a hammer and started pounding away at a rock. With each blow, the rock crumbled little by little until there was nothing left. This was meant to represent people’s walls they have to the gospel, and how no single interaction or encounter with God or His people will break those walls. Rather, a consistent exposure to God will do break apart the things that keep people from Him. The second image was scoring a goal in a soccer game. John set us up on a field and told us to pass a ball to one another to score a goal. We kicked the ball all the way down the field until the last person could kick it in. This showed us that the burden of sharing Christ is not on our shoulders as individuals, but as a team. We each have a part to play, but the victory does not hang on one person.
Why do we evangelize? Why do we tell people about Jesus? Because He wants everyone to know Him. He values every human being, as wants a relationship with them. We are precious to Him. We will never meet someone who is not completely loved and cherished by God. We should never pass up an opportunity to communicate this to people. God can use the smallest action to bless someone. A smile. A hug. Looking someone in the face. A kind word. We should never underestimate the small things.
Like I told you guys earlier, this was our last week of the Lecture Phase. No more classes. Our adventure pretty much begins this coming Monday in the jungles of Talamanca. We’ll be doing what is known as a “Niko Camp”, which is a week-long trip into the wilderness to prepare us for Outreach. It’s completely a secret, so I have no idea what is going to happen.
Roughly, my schedule will be the following. Immediately following the Niko Camp, the DTS will go to the Caribbean side for two weeks for our “local outreach”. Details have yet to be solidified, but there is talk of working with orphans. After that, we will split up into our Central and South American teams. Something weird happened to our plane tickets, so we have to stay in Panama for a week. Val and Julia are contacting the base in Panama City to see what we can do. After that, we will head to Lima. We’ll be staying in Lima for about a week where we will work with some local churches, possibly working with people with mental and physical disabilities. We will also be most likely working with Veronica’s House which has ties with the Not for Sale Campaign. It’s an organization that gets prostitutes off the street by teaching them a trade. After that we will go to Cuzco, hopefully to work at this coffeehouse ministry for backpackers. Hopefully we’ll make it up to Machu Picchu, as well. From there we will head to La Paz, Bolivia for another week to work with the YWAM base there. There’s more, I’m sure…and it will probably change…but that’s what I know for now.
I’m going to try to go to Freedom Street tonight, before we leave for Niko. I would really like to finally see this ministry in action.
I have to confess, I’m feeling pretty nervous for what’s ahead. Pray for me, guys.
-I found out I didn’t have insurance, but I got some a few days ago.
-All my fees are paid off for YWAM.
-We’re going on Outreach!
-Physical protection. Health.
-Peace of mind in the chaos. Things are about to become very unstable. I’m going to have to trust God a lot for the next two months
-Freedom in Jesus. From fear. From insecurities. From expectations.
-A thankful heart.
-Pray as the Spirit leads…I feel like I’m gonna need a lot of it. Just let God speak to you.