God is so good. I find it simply too wonderful to understand why He chooses to use us, weak and faulty though we are. Justin and I have been trying to pattern our lives after our favorite definition of ministry:
Ministry takes place when divine resources
meet human needs
through loving channels
to the glory of God.
Divine resources: Nothing worthwhile can be done in our own strength, God is the initiator. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Human needs: There are needs all around us: physical, financial, emotional, spiritual. Maybe you aren’t serving on the “front lines”, as you may think of it, in Africa or Papua New Guinea, but the mission field is all around you. There is a sign at the exit of our church property here in Florida that says, “You are now entering the Mission Field”. What a great reminder!
Loving channels: This is us. We all have the opportunity to be a conduit of God’s love to a lost and dying world! All we have to do is be surrendered, available and obedient and God does the rest; in this way we can truly love even the unlovable.
God’s glory: The greatest and highest purpose of mankind, in fact, the chief aim of life on this earth is to bring honor and glory to the King of kings. Would you deny Him His right? I certainly wouldn’t want to take praise for something He has done through me.
TEACHING and REACHING
Justin recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak at Mission Connexion, a youth mission conference, in Portland, Oregon. Combining his passion for missions and reaching youth is one of the reasons that Teen Missions Int’l (TMI) has been such a great “fit” for us. At the conference, Justin shared a message about “baggage”. Last summer he shared a similar message in one of our evening rallies; the response was overwhelming! More and more kids that are coming on our summer mission trips are coming from broken homes and difficult situations back home. Not everyone wants to be there, or is even a Christian for that matter. Many have been exposed to so much sorrow, pain and temptation at such a young age – it’s heartbreaking! During a summer team, our ministry as leaders is first and foremost to our team members. Pouring into their lives, right where they’re at, showing them that we care about them, that they are important, that God loves them, that they have potential to do great things for His glory…
As most of you know, we led a group of 24 teenagers to Honduras last summer. We want to share with you a recent testimony from our hosting missionary and TMI’s Honduras base coordinator Chico Chicas, written by his wife, Kathy:
“Chico had been doing door-to-door evangelism for a few months already, when one day, he was approached by a couple of armed teenagers, obvious gang members, who told him that their leader didn’t want him to pass that point. We are not talking about a little gang of teenagers who cause problems in the neighborhood, we are talking about an internationally known gang that is run by the drug-lords that is so powerful in Honduras – the police don’t even get involved! They don’t play around with anything – they kill people on a daily basis for things as trivial as not paying the required gang-imposed taxes. So, as a result, most people are pretty compliant. Well, about a month later, Chico was told that the leader had been killed and the new leader wanted Chico to come and pray for him. When Chico went, he had a very nice, long talk with the new leader, Pastillita, and prayed for his two young daughters. Pastillita asked Chico why he wanted to come into the neighborhood, and Chico said, “I want to share Jesus with these people.” He said, “You know this is a very dangerous area? Somebody could kill you!” Chico just said, “Actually, I am already dead.” “What?” he asked. “Yes, because I gave my life to Jesus, so my own life is not my own anymore – I am dead!” Well, Pastillita liked that idea quite a bit, so he told Chico that he could preach there all he wants! In fact, there are three empty churches because he ran the pastors out of the area. When Chico asked why, he said that they were hypocrites. They just take the people’s money, but don’t do anything for the people. Whereas the gang takes sick people to the hospital and pays the bill! The gang has also repaired the electricity problems in that area. Well, Chico said thank you, but that he didn’t want a church building, he just wants to share Jesus with the people. Pastillita liked that, too, so he said, “Why don’t you hold a service out in the street tonight?” Well, you don’t miss an opportunity like that, so Chico started calling everyone he knew and got sound equipment and some people who could sing ready for that evening. Meanwhile, Pastillita told the gang members to close the streets at both entrances to the neighborhood, and they picked up all the garbage that typically lines all Honduran streets, and he even told the people they had to turn off their loud music during the hours of the service! It was truly an amazing miracle! Chico said when he came back that evening, he felt like he was the president! There were about 200 people present at the service that night, about half of them were gang members and the other half were people from the neighborhood. Although no one prayed to receive Jesus that night, we know that God’s Word was preached and will not return to him void. Please join with us in praying for this neighborhood. The majority of the gang members are young, 13, 14 year-old boys and girls, almost all of them are under 20 years old, and they live in fear – almost every day someone is killed.”
God’s Word is going out and lives are being changed. Light is shining out in the darkness. This is only one of the many testimonies that we, and you, our faithful financial and prayer supporters, get to share a part of. The ministry of Teen Missions is reaching out with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ every single day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe and North America. Thank you to those of you that prayerfully and financially support us as we serve with Teen Missions.
Together in His Harvest,
Justin & Shannon O’Hara