Jesus said it. It's not an option.
GO. Just go.
October seems to be Missions Month around here. Some girlfriends are going to Guatemala, Amazing Daughter and her girlfriends are heading to Uganda and 21 of my girlfriends and I are packing for Ohio. It's been a month of fundraisers, garage sales, and bake sales. We've made and adjusted travel plans. We've sent hundreds of emails and texts and emoji's with instructions. Jesus said, "go" and we are going.
All three groups will be going to work alongside other ministries in those places. We, collectively, as in all 35 of us short term missionaries, are gathering gifts and stuffing suitcases. We are packing socks, gloves, hats, and scarves for the homeless winter in Ohio, Bible study materials for rescued women in Uganda, gifts for weary servants in Guatemala, and shoes for missionary children living in remote places. Retreat and conference attendee packets, books and bags are tagging along too. Oh, yeah, throw in some school supplies. Stacks of projects are in various stages of travel readiness all over our houses. My house has something for each team. And no, my friend, it is not a vacation.
In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus tells us disciples that we are "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world". He said, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Yes. We are to GO into all the world and BE salt and light.
Another girlfriend, who has spent some years in a missions unfriendly country, says, "Oh, they recognize the light". She was in a place that did not allow church, or missionaries, or Bible studies, or teachings about Jesus. But she and others Christians in that country were recognized as salt and light. She had many people approach her and ask her to explain the light.
May we be ever mindful and sensitive to encounters with other travelers.
Let's GO BE salt and light, but let's not rub salt in their wounds or blind them with our light.
I believe they will recognize the salt and light in us, without us putting it on display.
We've packed and prayed and studied and prepared.
Now, let's just GO and BE.
"Go with us", they said. "It will be fun. It's not hard. You'll be glad you did it." So I paid the money, signed the waiver, and strapped on the harnesses and clips and ropes and caution-light yellow helmet. Then granddaughter gave her short bit of eleven year old advice: "It's all about trust."
Great. Just great. Trust.
The back of my t-shirt is emblazoned boldly with Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Surely Paul the prisoner did not mean zip lining through tree tops at 30 miles an hour. The scripture I carried on my back and in my heart may have been bold, but I was trembling.
What was I thinking.
Up three flights of narrow steps. Take a picture. Stand on the mini platform. Hold the rope here. Yell as loud as you can "Scared silly grandmother zipping." Lift your feet and do all things through Christ's strength.
I hung on to that rope with all the strength I could find in my flabby granny arms, because when you come to the end of your rope, you tie a knot in it and hang on. Then my grip slipped and my double harness and pair of ropes held me. Do it in His strength and not mine for when I am weak He is strong.
It's all about trust.
We zip through life and hang on with our own weak strength going from one shaky platform to another when all we really need to do is lift our feet and relax.
And trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understandings. Proverbs 3:5
This wagon train has been on the road for two days heading for Montana. As we listen and sing to Alan Jackson's Mama's favorite hymns, I keep my trusty iPad close to research campgrounds, places to eat, AND occasionally sneak a few pages of my digital book. We wonder about the buffalo and the Indians and the pioneers. The Wagon master has never in 45 years stopped at one of those brown historical markers, a National Historic Site, or a National Monument. Well, maybe twice. I read them all but never get to see them. But now I have this magical little device that tells me what happened at all those places. I read them to the wagon master and we are both happy.
My book was a freebie on Amazon. The author is Lauraine Snelling, a Christian historical ficton writer and a native daughter of North Dakota. And, yes, thank you very much for asking, (drumroll), I have met her. Her books are full of Scripture and faith, which I love.
Today her characters are on their way to Oregon in covered wagons, amid all kinds of challenges and hardships. They have just left Fort Laramie, where they picked up supplies for the long trek over the mountains. You'll have to read it yourself for the rest of the story!
Driving through rain clouds and green grassy prairies today, I looked up from my device just in time to see one of those sweet little brown signs announcing
"Fort Laramie National Historical Site"
and then another about
"The Oregon Trail "
My man has been looking online for the car of his high school days. A few months ago, he found a close likeness for the right price and we drove to Hilton Head, South Carolina to seal the deal and bring it home.
One of our jobs for the upcoming car show was to photograph some of the business sponsors with the employees wearing their show shirts. We took the car to use as a prop. There were stories everywhere, from the guys mostly of the one that got away - that is code for the hot rod he had to sell when kids came along. Of course he sold it for pennies and it's worth millions now.
Folks who are firmly rooted in this great state, but have to move out of state have been known to carry seeds to their new homes in an effort to have a little Texas in their new landscape. It is not our officail state tree, but it covers over one third of the state - mostly in West and South Texas.
Now that we are back in Texas, my Inspector Handyman Hubby is wearing his Farmboy hat and has waged war with the mighty mesquite. The mesquites that have had a mostly peaceful life without us for the past eight or ten years while we followed the job.
But think about it. Sometimes, we feel like life has burned us out, chopped us down, and dug us up. We feel discarded and useless. BUT - if our roots are firmly established in His Word, in His Truth, in HIM - we will be like the trees spoken of in Psalm 1:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:7-8. We will be like trees whose leaves do not wither, who do not fear the heat, have no worries in years of drought, trees that bear fruit and prosper. PROSPER.
With so much worldwide attention on persecuted Christians, we can only pray that those sitting in prison for preaching Jesus, have roots that keep growing deeper and stronger. Some experts believe that persecution actually makes the church (as in the body of Christ) grow stronger.
"You're blessed when your committment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom." (Matthew 5:10 The Message)
"Let your roots grow down into HIM, and let your lives be built on HIM. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7 The Message)