Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What is at the Heart of Christian Missions?

Another good missionary update from friends Sean & Amber in Peru.  The heart of this report is a good reminder of what is at the heart of Christian missions.  Remember what the Apostle Paul said:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  ....  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Más Updates

Today is Monday, July 30
Book of the day: The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer
Soundtrack of the day: Philharmonics by Agnes Obel

Really trying to get Patience on a schedule. Not easy. We almost had her set before we left, but our life for the last month has made it difficult. Hopefully our six months in language school will allow us to set a regiment and keep it. 

Feeling a huge burden for my home church. Friends, I won’t go into much detail, but please join me in praying for my church. 

You can pray that:
  • God would get much glory from this church.
  • That he would use it to ignite a passion for the gospel.
  • That the saints in that church would be comforted and challenged.
  • That those with power would use it well and make wise decisions. 

Today is Thurssday, Aug 2
Soundtrack of the day: Michael Jackson: Number One Hits
So, we finally have our total expenses calculated for language school. Yesterday the gentlemen who runs the school gave us a total cost breakdown. Here’s what it looks like:

1 Week of School, per person - Group session (which is cheaper than the one on one):     s/300. So, that’s s/1200 per person, per month. That’s s/2400 per month for Amber and I. In US dollars that’s around $923.00/month (depending on the exchange rate). 

For six months that’s around $5,538

1 Month of Rent (what we have to pay to the family we are staying with while we are in school): s/2000/month...which averages out to $770.00/month.

For six months that’s around $4,615.

1 Month of Baby Sitting (which we aren’t too thrilled about, but we have no choice):   s/350...which is $134.00

For six months that’s around $807.00

Add it all up for six months and you get......drum roll please..... $10,960.

There you have it folks. Now, here’s the question: why spend so much money on language school? Why not spend that money on other things like: 

stockpiling food for the orphanage
resources for biblical training
clean water efforts
  • church construction
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.

and the list goes on...

Thank you for asking! It’s not often that I get a chance to ride my hobby horse all the way home. Here’s why:

That is just a short list of charity organizations who have little to no religious affiliation, and absolutely no Christian ethics driving their work. There are many more. You don’t have to be a Christian to care for orphans. You don’t have to be a Christian to provide clean water to the villages along the amazon. You don’t even have to be a Christian to build churches. 

The thing that makes our mission different than Kiva’s, MercyCorps, Help Sudan International, and a hundred other organizations, is that we must proclaim the gospel. If the gospel is not proclaimed; if disciples are not made; if the nations don’t repent and believe the gospel; we might as well let our unbelieving friends take the rope. The thing that separates  us from the rest of the world and their philanthropic endeavors is this: we minister because of what God has done for us in Christ! 

That being the case, we fail miserably if we don’t clearly, beautifully, and consistently communicate the gospel. If we give a thousand orphans a good education, a warm bed, and a healthy body, and they die and go to hell, under the wrath of God forever, have we succeeded? I’m sure there are many atheist explicitly non-Christian organizations that could make the former happen. No problem. Raise a little money...invest a little time...hire some zealous humanists...

But can they relieve their eternal suffering? No. 

So why are we investing so much in language acquisition? Because we’re here to communicate. Everything else we do with our hands (Lord willing), will simply be a witness to the gospel we proclaim with our mouths. 

We hope that you will join us in prayer about several things:

  1. That the Holy Spirit might equip us to acquire the language quickly.
  2. That we would trust the Lord to provide for us.
  3. That we would stand on the truth of scripture and let that govern our strategy and mission, not things like money, power, or influence (which are about as trustworthy as leaving me around a plate of freshly buttered biscuits). 

Today is Friday, Aug 3
Book of the day: God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgement by Jim Hamilton

I woke up this morning feeling more convinced of my own inadequacy than ever before. I need to focus on Christ. I need to be convinced of His strength...His Power...His love. 

In case anyone’s been wondering, the “book of the day” is whatever I’m reading. Amber’s reading too, but not as frequently due to baby Patience. Right now she’s studying church history for children. She’s reading a book called “Peril and Peace - Volume 1: Chronicles of the Ancient Church”. It’s a good, easy read. Great for teaching children church history. 

Amber and I are also walking through Genesis together. Good stuff. 

We had an earthquake today. Apparently they’re quite common here in the “Valley of Volcanoes”. One earthquake a week is pretty common. 

Today is Saturday, Aug 4

Patience has a fever again. It started yesterday. It got up to 103.4 last night. This morning it’s back down to 102. At first we thought it was from teething, but a 103 degree temp isn’t from teething. So far it seems to be asymptomatic. We’re just praying and doing what we can to bring it down. 

Today is Sunday, Aug 5

Patience had a fever yesterday. We thought it had pretty much dropped, but last night it shot back up to 103. She’s not a great sleeper when she’s not feeling well, which means Amber’s not getting much sleep. 

Oh, to top it all off like misery sprinkles on a fail cake, I wasn’t watching patience closely enough this morning and she fell off the bed. She has a scratch on her forehead. It’s a permanent reminder that Amber is a much better parent than I am. It’s funny now, but not so much immediately post noggen-saki bomb. 

Language school starts tomorrow. Our biggest concern is that we not abandon our individual disciplines of prayer, scripture reading and memorization, etc. 

There’s supposed to be something like four hours of homework a night. Four hours! I (Sean) haven’t done homework since the 8th grade (see: high school dropout). I might just bribe Amber to do my homework for me. What will I use to bribe her? Kisses and beard rubs, of course. 

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