On Wednesday we (all 3 of us – Jacob, Anna, & Eric) will be on our way to Costa Rica to spend our summer leading mission trips. We will be traveling all over the country, meeting different people, worshiping in different ways in different environments, and seeing what God is up to there.
So… let me just answer a few questions some of you may be thinking…
First… it all starts here:
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Matthew, the disciple, could have ended us book with a detailed description of the ascension, more talk about the resurrection, how he was feeling, etc… but instead, it closes with a command to GO. So… we will go.
Why are we going to a different country when there’s so much to do here?
We believe that a person/family shouldn’t GO to another country to do missions unless they are doing missions in their own backyard. Our everyday lives should be our mission field. We believe we should not only go here (Walmart, next door, or down town), but we should GO to the ends of the earth. We try to do that in our lives – be mission-minded here in Birmingham, AL, and whatever country we may be serving in. We go because there are people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus – HERE and there. We go because we believe that Jesus is the TRUTH.
…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15
There are people, like Pastor Manuel (pictured below), in Costa Rica that we are able to simply give the amazing gift of running water too. When we are able to meet physical needs, people are more willing to trust us when we tell them how Jesus can meet their spiritual needs. We are able to bring teams that are skilled in optometry, dentistry, Bible Study curriculum, medical, serving, building, etc…. in order to work WITH those we encounter for the overriding goal of bringing them the Good News.
Are we crazy? Didn’t we just adopt? And now we are going to another country with our adopted son?
Yep. That’s us. We have been passionate about 3 things throughout our relationship – 1. Adoption, 2. Missions, 3. Youth/Teenagers. So… that’s what we shall pursue. Because we really do believe in what the Bible says and we believe we are to live lives worthy of what we believe… we will do it. We believe in the power of missions, partnerships, and relationships. We believe in the importance of Eric being involved in our missions and seeing the power of the Lord. It’s all about disciple-making… with the teams coming, with the people in country, and within our own family/staff.
And, don’t worry, Eric can get back into the country! All the documents have been received and all the okays have been given for him to go! HALLELUJAH!
Does Eric want to go? Does he understand what’s happening?
We have talked with Eric about our jobs and what we would be doing in Costa Rica since we started talking to him on the phone in October. He’s good with it. Although he doesn’t understand what it all means and includes YET… he is looking forward to it… most days. Yes, it means he won’t have a typical teenage summer. Yes, it means the electronics and video games will be left behind. Yes, it means the home that he now knows will be left for a couple of months. Yes, it means meeting new people each week. All of those things will bring their own challenges… but the benefits FAR outweigh any “what if’s.” He gets to see the Gospel in action… globally. He gets to meet people from all over the U.S. and Costa Rica and will understand that we all have one mission and goal. We get to work together as a family. He gets to go zip-lining through the jungles of Costa Rica and see some beautiful beaches/sights! He gets to use his talents (if he’s willing) of playing with kids, bringing laughter to all, telling stories, leading youth his age, and more.
We think he knows us to understand that yes, we are crazy… but he can trust us and Jesus.
Are we nervous or freaking out about this?
Honestly, we aren’t. Although there are several things that we have to get decided and finalized and handled before we leave, we have extreme peace and expectation for the summer. And life goes on and things happen and bills have to be paid while we are gone, but we feel good. I have learned a lot over the past 2 years about God being a “With Us” God. One of the names of Jesus is Emmanuel (also Eric’s middle name) and it literally means “God with us.” In Matthew 28:18-20 (The Great Commission), He doesn’t say to go and He’ll watch from afar or He’ll check in on us or He’ll let us figure it out… He says GO… And surely I am WITH you always, even to the end of the age. He is WITH us. He surrounds us. He goes before us. He knows our every need and fear. That’s CRAZY!!!!! And so comforting.
He is with us.
He cannot fail us (although this doesn’t mean that our lives will be easy, stress-free, or pain-free… it does mean that His plan cannot be thwarted and His purpose will prevail).
He is faithful. Good. Merciful. In control.
He knows every detail of every person we will be serving with this summer… and He is WITH us all.
He knows about the uncertainties and the circumstances being left at home… and He is WITH us.
Getting myself pumped up to go this summer, I listened to a David Platt podcast on Matthew 28. I’ll leave you with a few of his points… good stuff:
Jesus’ authority compels us to GO
- His worth is the FEUL of our mission.
- His worship is the GOAL of our mission.
Jesus’ authority gives us confidence as we go.
- This Gospel WILL SAVE.
- This mission will succeed
- This mission is not based on WHO we are or what WE can do
- This mission is based on who JESUS is and what HE is able to do in and through our lives!
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.