July 26 2012
Walking in Confidence
Confidence makes a person stand out among others. Yet, confidence is not something that is easily obtained. Rather, it is something that is slowly incorporated through trial and error. A confident man or woman has seen valleys, but has risen above them through God’s grace, trust and faith in Christ. Jeremiah 17:7 states, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”
Elida Walton, One Mission Society missionary nurse and Pensacola Christian College graduate, left for Haiti only yesterday walking in confidence with the Lord. Elida is no stranger to stepping out in faith with Christ, as her parents, Carl and Heidi Walton, served as OMS missionaries in Haiti, next moved to England and served there for six years, where Carl is from, after this the Waltons served in the Philippines for fourteen months and then moved back to the states to work at OMS World Headquarters in Indiana.
Elida will serve in Haiti as a nurse at OMS-related Bethesda Medical and Dental Clinic in Cap Haitien after five months of language study. In 2007, Elida returned to Haiti for two months and enjoyed it, but her calling was not affirmed until 2009 when she went to the Ivory Coast in West Africa for two weeks. A fellow nurse said to Elida, “I can tell you have a heart for Haiti, you should go back.”
Elida began to pray, “Lord, if you want me to go back to Haiti, that’s fine. I need direction.” In 2010 a missionary from Papua New Guinea spoke at a Wednesday night church service that Elida was attending. The missionary spoke boldly about giving your life to Christ and obeying what He wants you to do. Elida said, “I need to find out what God wants me to do.” She changed her prayer and stepped out in faith asking, “Can I go back?” and God said, “Go.” This very prayer electrified Elida and marked the beginning of her journey as a missionary.
God is always faithful. Yet, Elida has experienced some fears along the way of this amazing journey. One of Elida’s biggest fears is not being able to deal with a situation as it comes up in the clinic. Elida states, “I struggle with self confidence and my biggest fear is incompetence. I could lose a patient because of my incompetency.” Yet, Elida is reminded that she always has God with her, and He has all wisdom and knowledge.
Elida has Joshua 1:9 written on her heart, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV) Elida still struggles with her fears of incompetency, but God is showing her how to walk in confidence, in His wisdom and with courage. The days to come will not be easy, but Elida is excited as she learns to walk in confidence with the Lord.
July 24 2012
God's Perfect Timing
Jonny and Gemma Forsythe are from Leeds, England. They and their two children (Matthew and Susannah) are going to serve with One Mission Society in Mexico for three years after they attend language school in Costa Rica for a year to learn Spanish.
Jonny and Gemma participated on a mission trip to Mexico in the past for a holiday Bible study and fell in love with the people of Mexico.
Jonny felt God calling them back to Mexico, but Gemma was hesitant. Yet, any time she heard a song or read a book she felt like these things reiterated “Mexico, Mexico, Mexico!” When Gemma told this to her friend, her friend said, “Well, have you said yes?” Gemma jokingly replied, “No, because that means we’ll have to go to Mexico.”
When Gemma told Jonny, he said, “I don’t know if it’s the right timing.” Yet, Jonny and Gemma laughed and agreed that God had perfect timing of when He would lead them. Gemma stated that the verse they cling to is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
God led a clear straight path to Mexico, even though there were several twists and turns for Jonny and Gemma. God’s way is always pure and right.
July 23 2012
Evolución: Female Prisoners Transformed
By Lauren Staley, OMS missionary candidate
Evolución─this was one of the first Spanish words that I learned upon my arrival in Medellín for a short-term mission trip. I learned it because I saw it spray painted on walls, houses and street signs. It’s always accompanied by the traditional picture of a monkey, gradually morphing into an upright man. However, the final stage of evolution is pictured as a soldier in black fatigues, carrying a heavy machine gun that is aimed and ready.
Each time I spot one of those stark, spray-painted images, I can’t help but imagine that the monkey is actually a child, crawling on his knees, and that the picture isn’t really representing the evolution of man from one form to another, but rather, a man’s transition from innocence to violence, from victim to killer.
Jeannine (Brabon—longtime OMS missionary in Colombia) warned me that I would be able to feel the spiritual battle raging here. I believed her, but I didn’t think anything could have prepared me for it. The enemy has been fighting for this city for generations. But God is not silent. He isn’t willing that any should perish and the believers here are tirelessly working to sow the seeds of the Gospel of peace in Medellín. The results are cause for undignified celebration.
This morning, Jeannine and I went to Pedregal, the women’s penitentiary. I went through security with my U.S. passport stuck in my back-pocket, and we began the long, hot climb to patio (cell block) 5. There were 10 patios in all, but the Medellín chapter of Prison Fellowship only has enough workers to regularly disciple the inmates in two patios at a time. I’ve never seen so much barbed wire in my life.
We progressed to patio 5, and immediately, Jeannine and our Colombian partner were called to a corner near the bank of telephones to comfort a woman whose face was swollen and distorted with tears. I was left standing, rather stupidly, in the middle of the cell block with my “Hi, how are you?” Spanish vocabulary, having no idea what I ought to be doing.
“Help me, Jesus,” I prayed desperately as I looked around. There was a patch of blue sky above me, but the sun didn’t quite reach the gray concrete where I stood. Barbed wire framed the swatch of blue, and I suddenly felt as if the world was much smaller than I had previously understood. There was a row of white-washed showers along the left hand wall─so few for so many women . . . and then I saw them. Two young women sitting on a step in front of the showers, clad in an odd mismatch of civilian clothing and drab prison garb.
“Buenas tardes!” I waved, tentatively, and went back to studying the small patch of sky as if I expected the hand of God to write out directions in the clouds. As awkward as I felt, I forced myself to look back at the girls and noticed that they were waving me over.
“Me?” I pointed at my chest uncertainly and looked behind me. Surely they don’t want to talk to the socially stunted gringo…
“Si!” They said, smiling widely, and my feet carried me forward.
“Hola, como estas?” (Hi, how are you?) I said when I reached them. I immediately kicked myself. “Hi, how are you?” “Oh, I’m great thanks, just enjoying my incarceration. How about you? How’s life on the outside?” But I had surrendered the day and my actions to God, so I offered up another prayer and refused to dwell on the bitter taste of my foot.
Before long, I was sitting with Claudia and Daisy, laughing about funny sounding English words like “flip-flop” (they asked me to say it over and over again,) and telling each other in Spanglish about our families, our favorite music and our love lives (or lack thereof). Another woman, Tatiana, had joined us, and we sprawled out on the concrete, giggling and carrying on while the older women prayed in the corner with the distraught mother. While we talked, a woman who had been arrested because she was a member of the guerilla forces served me fruit tea. She had a beautiful smile.
We were called to gather, and I found myself sitting in a group of 12 women. We gathered around a white plastic table. Jeannine sat in the center with her Bible open in front of her. Claudia sat at my right elbow and Tatiana at my left.
“And now, Laura (my Spanish name) is going to sing a song,” Jeannine announced in Spanish.
I think I choked and sputtered a bit at this point, but a song immediately came to mind, and I began to sing, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” The patio grew silent as I slowly sang the verses while Jeannine translated. After I finished, Jeannine preached the salvation message, and the women listened intently. I looked around at their faces. How precious they were!
Before that moment, I think I had unconsciously thought that when Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me,” that He was talking about prisoners who had been incarcerated unjustly. I realized the truth of the matter as I looked into each woman’s eyes and saw hope reflected there. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Each person around that table, including me, deserved to be in chains. But it’s not about what we deserve, is it? “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jeannine invited the women to confess Jesus as Lord. We bowed our heads and prayed. All 13 women accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, and I was confessing His lordship right along with them.
It was a holy moment.
I bid farewell to my new friends and new sister’s in Christ, hugging them over and over again. As we left the building, Jeannine said, “You know you sat with murderers today?”
It made no difference. God had given me His eyes and His heart.
Evolution … I saw a new kind of evolution today: the transformation of sinful, self-consumed creatures, into daughters of the king and co-heirs with Christ; from guilt to purity, from killer to new creation.
July 17 2012
Obedience: God’s Justice & Restoration
Obedience is a difficult task to follow. It is how God shows His unfailing love, as noted in 2 John :6, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” (NIV) Christ calls us to obey Him in love by showing others His love.
Obedience is what called York, Pennsylvania, native and Houghton College graduate, Emily Rinehart, to the Philippines. Emily is a One Mission Society missionary, working with HOPE61 (OMS’ anti-human trafficking ministry). Emily leaves for the Philippines July 30, and she is excited to follow God in obedience.
OMS asked Emily, “What made you want to become an OMS missionary with HOPE61?” She responded, “God put the issue of justice on my heart when I was in college.” Emily realized that God’s view of justice was very different from our own definition. She said, “God’s view of justice is restoration rather than punishment.” God revealed to Emily in a prayer that He wanted her close to His heart. Emily states, “God said, “I really love you. I want you to follow me. I want you close to My heart and My heart is for justice."
Emily’s acceptance of God’s will on her life was revealed when she attended One Weekend at OMS. She said, “I remember Dawn Cox saying, “It’s really to Himself that God calls you to, rather than a geographical place or people group.” Emily was amazed by God’s deep love for her and His will for her life.
Fear attempts to entangle those close to God. Emily shares how God is erasing her fears, “God holds our lives in His hands. He reminds me that He’s in control. I am to be joyful.” Emily use to feel guilty after learning about anti-human trafficking, as if she should not be happy or having fun. Yet, she realized, “If I don’t enjoy life, bear joy, give praise to God or live freely, then what is the point of all of those blessings?” She realized, yes, human trafficking is horribly oppressive, but if she let it keep her down, then how could she lift others up to see hope? Joy is why there is hope for the broken.
Emily keeps Hosea 2:1 close to her heart, “Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ and to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’ (NKJV) The trafficked and abused are our brothers and sisters. Emily states, “I realized that God wants to give them mercy now, here on earth.”
So how can you help Emily? Pray that she will have cultural understanding of the Filipino culture. Emily also asks for this, “Pray that I will remember to safeguard my heart and find my rest in God.” You can support Emily Rinehart by clicking here. Also, follow Emily’s journey by clicking here.
July 3 2012
Homelessness in Indianapolis
At One Mission Society, we focus a great deal of attention on discipleship—what it means, how we do it and where it leads. Our mission statement is clear: By God’s grace, One Mission Society unites, inspires and equips Christians to make disciples of Jesus Christ, multiplying dynamic communities of believers around the world. Our primary goal is making disciples—making obedient followers of Christ.
Saturday, two of my roommates (fellow interns Becca and Kayla Jo), an OMS missionary, funding to serve with HOPE61 (Emily), and I headed to downtown Indianapolis to help meet a physical need by providing lunch for some of the homeless people and to pray with them that they may know Christ and enter into a relationship with Him.
We stopped at a grocery store to buy paper sacks, zip lock bags, apples, bread, ham, and bottles of water—we managed this with $16! As we went home to prepare the sack lunches, we came up with an idea to write Psalms 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him,” on the sack lunches.
In the car, we prayed over the sack lunches and the people that would receive them. We asked God to give us boldness as we spoke of His love for these folks and how His love is strong enough to free them from bondage.
As we entered the city, we split into two different teams (Kayla Jo and I and Becca and Emily). We started walking up and down the tourist section of Indianapolis. Each team was able to give away five lunches and pray with a total of 10 homeless people.
Praise the Lord that the men Kayla Jo and I spoke with knew the Lord! We spoke with, R.*, who stated that he recently become a Christian and was meeting with ministers from a local church. As we prayed with him, he asked, “How do you guys know how to pray and have the Lord so closely?” I replied, “When you accept Christ as your Savior, then the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and gives you peace, wisdom and understanding,” R. seemed very receptive of this.
Another man we met, A.*, stated that he recently became homeless. He seemed hot, and I suggested that he move into the shade next to the building, and he replied, “We can’t sit next to the buildings, they make us sit in the sun.” I felt compassion for this man as he had no place to go, and he could not even be comforted by the littlest things in life such as shade.
We offered to pray with A. and he reached out to hold mine and Kayla Jo’s hands. I was reminded of Matthew 19:13, “Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.” He thanked us for praying with him stating, “God bless you, ladies!”
The last man we were able to encounter, S.*, was grateful when we gave him the sack lunch. He said, “Thank you for having so much compassion to help me. It puts your faith back in people.”
S. shook his head as tears came to his eyes and we asked if we could pray for him. He said, “Please pray for me!” He extended his hands and as we held hands, I could feel him squeezing tightly. I was moved by S.’s faith in the Lord and I am humbled by his willingness to trust us.
We were sent to these people for a specific reason, whether that was to provide them lunch or remind them of their walk with the Lord; it was led by Christ and for His kingdom. Please pray for these people to continue walking faithfully in the Lord and to seek God as their refuge. I praise God for shining His light in the darkest of places.