Monday, July 28, 2008
As our team filed through the first check-point, we missionaries were standing behind the security gates, watching to make sure the Spanish-to-English exchange between them & the security officer was being understood. Of course, in a big group like theirs, the officer decided to check at least one of their bags. You'd imagine that when a group says they've been doing "mission" work, that the officers would think you were the most innocent people in the world. In our country, many so called "missionaries" are actually drug traffickers...sad, but true.
Decked out in his new traditional, hand-crafted Colombian hat, our fearless team leader Keith was chosen out of the bunch. He walked over, smiling like he'd one a prize, and watched as his old fashioned, hard cover suitcase was inspected. As the officer inspected his suitcase he founds something interesting...a box. As he opened it, Keith began to explain to him what it was. It was an Evanacube. Keith took the cube, and using his basic Spanish began to explain each picture, opening the cube, showing man's sin, Jesus' death, burial & resurrection, the choice we have to accept his free gift of forgiveness....and the officer stood there staring, listening to every word he said.
We missionaries stood there watching. Keith offered to give the officer the cube...and the Spanish-English New Testament that was also sitting on top of his luggage. (What divine placement of those two items!) After Keith had moved to join the rest of his team members, waiting to check in at the airline desk, we kept an eye on the officer. Immediately he took the cube and showed it to the other 3 officers who were also checking luggage. Serious & stern faces turned to smiles as he opened the cube and began to repeat what he had heard! He then took the cube to show more officers down at the next check point. We all stood there in utter amazement! What might the Lord have in store for this man!? More than 30 minutes later, we saw the officer, walking down the airport, Bible & cube in hand...I think this was a gift he intended to keep.
Thank you Lord, for preparing Keith's luggage in just the right manner, for giving Keith boldness to use the little Spanish he knew to be obedient and share your Truth. Thank you for opening the heart of the security officer. For giving him the desire to share this new Truth with others around him. Give him the desire to learn more about you, to read Your Word and to come to know you personally.
What we thought was a routine security check-point, might have been the check-point that officer needed to find everlasting security in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:15a
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..."
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Every day, children within the internally displaced people group of Colombia wake up in a dry and weary land and feel unworthy. They walk through the streets of a neighborhood that never improves...it just continually falls to pieces. Their parents have nothing, their friends have nothing...so why should they believe they could ever become something more? Value is based on: for Boys (who you're sleeping with) & for Girls (whose baby you've had) This is no joke.
Can this cycle of "tradition" and mixed up "values" be broken?
Where is their hope?
FBC Euless brought a team of 8 into the communities where we work. They came to tell a story. A story of worth and value....found in Jesus Christ. "Amar y Esperar"....True Love Waits in Spanish :) They told stories of a different kind of love & combined their lessons with fun games of good 'ol Colombian "futbol" (soccer).
So often, most of us take for granted that we grew up from infancy within the church. We were privileged to hear Bible Stories time and time again. Sometimes we forget how much these stories of Truth, Love & Forgiveness have shaped our lives.
The Euless Volunteer Team of high school grads & 1st year college students poured their hearts out this week. Most people don't realize how easy & effective it is to Bible Story. We're used to hearing sermons, but bringing it back to the basics can really be effective...especially in our communities,where literacy is at it's best, at beginner levels.
They storied about Bible characters like King David & Solomon, and how they dealt with temptation. They spoke of God's forgiveness & His faithfulness to draw us back to Him, even after we've sinned. Light bulbs went off in the minds of our Colombian friends. We heard comments all week like..."I've never heard that story before. Why haven't you told it to us before?" and "I like what you have said this week. I'm really going to have to think about that."
Don't take God's Word for granted. Truth is powerful and changes lives.
Our kids heard about how they were persons of VALUE. That's a word they rarely hear. All they ever hear is how sex is bad...but then if they don't have sex, they loose status from within their community-based "societies." This week they heard something different. They learned how sex is a gift from God & is meant to be good when it's within marriage. How they can be persons of worth & value without having pre-marital sex. I honestly think some of them started to re-evaluate....
Oh Father, these children are so precious to You. Each one is a valued treasure. May they repent and turn to you....experience your forgiveness. In a dry and weary land, Father pour out your spirit. Let these children know Your presence. Call them to Yourself! Show them their is more to life that what they see around them.
Acts 3:19 (NIV)
"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."