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Posts Tagged ‘short term missions’

My Mission Trip Experience

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Nine years ago, my husband and I first went to Dorie’s Promise on two occasions – one was to meet our new son whom we would adopt just a few short months later, and the second was to bring him home. His name is now Matthew James. During that time period, I knew that one day I would return to Dorie’s to do mission work and that hopefully, it would even become something my family could do, once everyone was a little older.

My first opportunity came in March of 2014. I’ve been sponsoring a few children at Dorie’s ever since Matthew’s adoption, and keeping in touch with Heather Radu and the organization from time to time. My new position as Orphan Ministry Director led me and a wonderful team right into the hands of Dorie’s Promise so that we could potentially make just the slightest difference in the lives of the children living there, and the amazing people in the community whom we assisted. Well, the biggest difference was not what we could do for all of them, it was what they could do IN all of us!

From the start, we were placed in the hands of an outstanding team – Pablo who is wise beyond his age (Mission Director), Jessica who is so intelligent, sweet, loving and caring (assistant to Pablo); and of course, wonderful “servant’s heart” Abel (who was our driver 9 years ago, and remembered me the moment he saw me this time). We still feel like family to this day with the entire team and miss them greatly. Next, spending time with all of the children who we see in our videos and photos was heart-warming and inspiring. Each of those kids has a purpose from God and what a blessing to us to spend time playing with them, braiding their hair, reading books and watching movies, and seeing the smiles as we presented some gifts. And Lastly, we were not prepared to be as astonished by the love and faith of the locals in the community that we assisted with various projects and shared meals with, as well as the special needs children at the State Orphanage who just loved upon us and showed us that God truly is in each and every one of them! I personally came back with a changed perspective.

One of the special things about this trip was that my dear friend Rosa (who is 70 and very much family to me and my family) was with us. Rosa is from Mexico originally and we spoke about doing this trip ever since Matthew was adopted. Having that desire become a reality still warms my heart. Rosa was the biggest blessing to everyone on the trip since she spoke the language fluently and connected with the people in ways none of us could. She knows we plan to go back together!

I’ve always been impressed with Heather’s work and with Dorie’s Promise and their philosophy of orphan care. But doing “mission” work brought my admiration so much higher than I ever expected. They are so well planned, so thorough in the details, and keep care and safety of the teams to the highest level. I highly recommend you grab your team (large or small) and book a trip to Dorie’s soon!

Gerianne Cygan

Wauconda, IL

Part of the Family

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Here's our"family" photo with Jennifer taken in June 2014

By Kari Janusz-

Friends, Brayan and Wilmer together during one of the Januszes trips to Dorie's PromiseOur family first began receiving newsletters from All God’s Children International sometime around 2004. To this day we have no idea how we got on the organization’s mailing list, but I believe strongly that God placed us there. At the time, I had already been praying about adoption, but my husband Chris (who is adopted) was not quite there yet. I would lay out the newsletter on our kitchen table with the photos of children in the hope that God would soften his heart.

In December 2005, Chris asked me to go to Starbucks on a “date” and to bring my adoption information with me. So there we sat, discussing the possibility of opening our hearts and home to another child. I had already prayed about which country I felt God leading us to adopt from, but asked Chris what country he thought we should pursue. He looked up over my head for a second and said, “Guatemala*.” About a year later, he told me that when he looked up, he saw a sign advertising Guatemalan coffee, and knew that God was speaking into his heart. Chris and I both had ministered to Hispanic teens in New York City and knew that we felt at home with the culture.

I made a promise when we brought Wilmer home to the United States back on March 16, 2008. I promised the Special Moms of Dorie’s Promise that I would not forget them, that we would be back. Now, I am sure that they had heard that before, but we don’t make promises we can’t keep in our family. So in February 2009, we were on a plane to Guatemala on a mission trip to Hannah’s Hope/Dorie’s Promise. We continue to visit Dorie’s because of our desire to expose our son Wilmer to his culture, to maintain the friendships forged when Wilmer was growing up there, and because of our deep love for the country and her people. Guatemala and Dorie’s Promise are forever a part of our family, because they a part of our son Wilmer.

We feel strongly that God has called us to continue to support the place that raised our son for the first five years of his life. It is also important for us to continue to give opportunities for other children to be impacted by the tremendous love and care given at Dorie’s Promise by the Special Moms and staff.

Sponsorship allows us to see how the children are growing when we are not there.

Wilmer with Mama Noe, one of the Special Moms who raised himWilmer had a sponsor when he was at Dorie’s, and she reached out to me after we brought Wilmer home. This awesome woman had saved some of the drawings Wilmer did for her when she was sponsoring him. She sent those drawings to us, and we have framed them and hung them on our wall. Her impact as a sponsor continues to bring joy to Wilmer’s heart every time he looks at the pictures he made when he was young. Sponsorship has lasting impact. Even our 16-year-old son Caleb knows of the importance of sponsorship — he supports one of the teens at Dorie’s.

Mission trips provide such an awesome opportunity for people to bond with the children they sponsor. Personally seeing your sponsored child can make a huge difference. It changes the child from being a photo in your mind to a hug in your heart. Mission trips for our family provide us the ability to continue to grow the relationships that we already have with the children and staff there.

The bonds our family has with the children and staff are forever. Going back to Dorie’s is like going home. They are like family to us. The precious women and men who care so deeply for these children amaze us. Dorie’s Promise is a safe haven, an oasis for children and visitors alike. It is not just a house, it is a home. It is a place very hard to leave. That really is what sets Dorie’s apart from other places — it is a home. When God has His hand upon a ministry like this, you can feel His presence in such a palpable way.

If you want to find the kinds of connections the Januszes have, start by visiting our sponsorship section and reading about our children.

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

The Long Term Impact of Missions

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Children of Dorie's Promise

 

The Scott's visiting the state orphanage while on a trip to Dorie's Promise.By Arwen McGilvra-

When we received this touching letter and donation from a teenager who had visited Dorie’s Promise Guatemala back in August 2013, it got us thinking about the long-term impact that supporting Forever Changed International has on our mission-trippers, donors, and sponsors.

Dear Forever Changed:

I just wanted to write a quick note telling this organization about how you have impacted my life. Going on a mission trip to Guatemala through Forever Changed was one of the greatest trips I’ve taken. I truly am forever changed. I’m giving to you ($50) because I feel this is how God wants me to give to Him, by giving to Forever Changed. I saw what you do for the kids at the orphanage, and those kids are precious. I saw what our mission group was able to do for the people we visited, and I even made friends I will never forget. I hope I can go back, and I hope this money helps. 

Dannae Sribnik

Obviously for this 14-year-old, the impact is still strong. And she’s not the only one. Our post-trip surveys are full of comments about the impact a mission trip with Forever Changed has on participants. In fact, many come back for repeat trips.

Returning to the dump had a significant impact on one mission-tripper: “I recognized a lady who lives at the dump/ghetto. Last year she had given me a bracelet she was making. This year when she saw me her face lit up, and I knew she recognized me also. It meant a lot to see that she, one year later, would recognize me. She remembered my face because of God’s love shown through us.”*

Holding a baby at the state orphanage.Another expressed why so many become sponsors after visiting: “The breadth of your programming is definitely the most impactful part of the trip. By connecting the dots of how your children come to be there and the pieces of Guatemala that connect to their plight, the need is better understood.”*

One of our donors, Helen Beidel, recently passed away. Before she died, she requested that in lieu of funeral flowers, donations be sent in her memory to Dorie’s Promise. A steady stream of donations flowed in for about three months. In the end, her family and friends donated $2,500.

When Rebecca Scott, Helen’s daughter, adopted her third child from Guatemala back in 2008, her mom traveled with them to Guatemala to pick her up. Later, the Scotts found out about Dorie’s Promise through their friends the Ratcliffs, who had adopted through our home**.

“They told us about the mission trips, and we immediately knew we wanted to go on one with our family. My mom was very sick at the time and was so sad that she couldn’t go with us, but she gave generously for us to be able to go,” says Rebecca. “When we got back and told her about our trip, she immediately wanted to send money to the pastor who feeds the children every day near the dump (and whom we had helped). She was so thrilled that we got to return to Guatemala and serve in that way.”

“After she passed away, and we talked about where to have people donate, we immediately thought of Dorie’s Promise and Forever Changed because of how much it has impacted our family. We knew she would be thrilled to have money go to y’all.”

The impact goes on … we regularly receive letters and comments telling us how lives have been forever changed by interaction with our organization. Here are just a few:

“It has forever changed my life.”

“I thought at first the name ‘Forever Changed’ was ambitious. But it was a reality. I am truly changed forever.”

“It was an amazing experience — they don’t only forever change the lives of the children and communities, but it has changed me and how I see the world and what I want to do.”

“Your name Forever Changed could not be more appropriate, for I am forever changed!”

Want to experience for yourself what they are all raving about? Get started here.

 

*Survey results are collected anonymously

**International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

Missions: All about relationships

Friday, December 26th, 2014

A family serving with FCI installs a sink called a pila for a family living in one of Guatemala's ghettos.

By Pablo Villagran –

Missions Coordinator Pablo VillagranIf you are reading this message, it means you are a friend of Dorie’s Promise, and we thank you for having a relationship with us. I would like to extend a special invitation to you to come visit us during spring break 2015 … And here’s why:

When you come to a place like Dorie’s Promise, you are part of the change that is going on with the children in our home. You become a part of their lives. They love to build relationships with mission-trippers and those who visit us because the children receive the love and attention they deserve.

In your visit to Guatemala, you will see other ways of living — the realities that are the dump and the city ghettos.

We focus a lot on relationships in those communities as well. We constantly visit there, and we meet people who are living in very poor conditions and lack opportunities, but who have a great heart and sense of meaning. It is easy to connect with these people.  Those relationships are life-changing.

When we do development projects in communities we try to practice this Bible verse: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

Self-sacrifice is the high water mark of love.

A missions team visiting a ghetto in Guatemala.When we share love, we share Jesus. When we share Jesus, we plant a seed. When we plant seeds of the Gospel, we fulfill God’s purpose to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).

Coming on a mission trip is more than just a chance to make good memories. It is life-changing. It has changed mine. It will continue to change anyone exposed to it.

The reason is very simply: JESUS.

He transforms us. By doing His Kingdom work, we are challenged, stretched, and made more like Him. Having a relationship with Him changes everything. Knowing this is the most important relationship of all, we focus on it with all the children at Dorie’s Promise, staff, and friends of the organization. When you visit us, it will be our focus for you, too, to grow your most important relationship.

We are waiting for you. Get started today! Check out our trip handbook, watch a video, or fill out an application!

 

An Interview With Celebration Church

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014


By Arwen McGilvra-

A group of 17 people from Celebration Church in Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada), visited us at Dorie’s Promise in October. We interviewed Cory Illingworth, the Pastoral Team Leader and trip coordinator, about their visit.

Guatemala City McDonalds and Celebration Church members.How did you hear about Dorie’s Promise? A father and son from our church wanted to go on a mission trip together in 2013. They searched on Google with the following criteria: slums, orphanage, garbage dump, and Central America. Dorie’s Promise was the top search. The father prayed about it and felt it was the exact place they should go. Blaine, his son Carson, my son Luke, and I made the trip to Guatemala in June of 2013.

Have you been on other mission trips? Our church participates in many types of mission trips. We have outreach opportunities in our community, city, country, and to the corners of the earth. For more than eight years, we have sent a team to northern Canada to work with the first nation’s people and the Metis of Canada. Over the last couple of years, we sent teams to India, Uganda, Haiti, and Las Vegas.

How was your trip with FCI different? Working with FCI has been such a blessing. So professional. So organized. So accommodating. So encouraging. Everyone who attended Dorie’s Promise this past year commented on how safe, comfortable, and cared for they felt. The Special Mothers are amazing.

Mission trippers from the from Celebration Church in ReginaWe heard you did some special activities with the children. Can you tell us about those? We went to the football pitch with the children, the staff, and the Special Moms. It was Canada versus Guatemala. Then we taught everyone from Dorie’s Promise how to play Canadian football. We also took all of the kids to Divercity. That was a great experience for us. The children had so much fun.

The highlight special activity was having Canadian Thanksgiving (Monday, October 13, 2014) with the children, Special Mothers, and staff. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, pumpkin pie, and Canadian candies. The children all came dressed up to the guest house, and we ate the meal together. To my understanding, it was one of the only times the children had been to the guest house. It was by far one of my all-time favourite Thanksgiving meals.

What was your impression of the home? The staff and Special Mothers? The children? Everyone on the team stated they felt like we were staying at a resort. The staff and Special Mothers are my favourite part of Dorie’s Promise. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those kids. But I personally feel God has called me and our team to bless and encourage the staff and Special Mothers for what they do. Our youth loved the children. They even got to go water sliding in the backyard with some of the them.

What other projects did you do while in Guatemala? Here in our city we have a ministry called the Burger Bus. It is a bus that goes into the inner city and hands out McDonald’s cheeseburgers to people. We bought 300 cheeseburgers and had the opportunity to hand those out all over Guatemala City. We had the chance to pray for people at the hospital, on the streets, and in the rain. We want to be ambassadors for Dorie’s Promise in the ghettos and in the dump. We are so proud of you, as our brothers and sisters in Christ, for the impact you are making there. You gave our team exposure to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Thank you.

Outing with the children to Divercity.In the future, we would love to have two teams come to Dorie’s Promise. One team that solely works with your partner ministries in the ghetto and dump and one that spends the majority of its time with the children of Dorie’s Promise.

Other thoughts? I have a few other comments I need to share. If you are a team considering going to Dorie’s Promise or any other mission trip, please read the book When Helping Hurts by Corbett and Finkert. Our job as short-term missionaries needs to be to support the staff of FCI and your partner ministries.

One of the goals we had as a team while we were serving with Dorie’s Promise was to make sure that we were a blessing to everyone we encountered: the bus driver, the police officers who protected us, the people at McDonald’s, and every person in Guatemala we met. FCI does not need us to tell them how to run their ministry (they are doing an incredible job) — they need us to hold up their arms and cheer them on.

To the FCI staff and Special Mothers: We love you — you are doing a fabulous job for God’s kingdom.

We heard you are already planning a return trip. Why would you like to come back to Dorie’s?
1. Obedience to God
2. The Special Mothers
3. Missions Staff
4. Queso Pies from McDonald’s
5. The hill above the garbage dump
6. The food at the guest house
7. The children
8. The children
9. The children
10. To bloom for God in the land of eternal spring.

Cory Illingworth — Pastoral Team Leader

 

Poverty in Guatemala

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A boy wandering in the trash at the Guatamal City dump.

By MJ Zelaya-

As the trucks come into the dump working rush to sort through the rubble.Not only does Africa contain some of the poorest countries in the world, but there is also one country in the Americas, a very small country called Guatemala, where people exist and live in inhumane conditions.

And it’s hard to say this when you are talking about the country where you were born.

Poverty can be defined generally as a situation in which households or individuals do not have sufficient resources or skills to meet the needs of those individuals. In the national survey of living conditions in 2011, more than 13 million inhabitants, above 50% of the population in Guatemala live below the poverty line— with more than seven million people living in extreme poverty.

And it’s why thousands of Guatemalans decide to emigrate to other countries, risking their lives simply to seek better opportunities. Poverty in Guatemala is cataloged in two ways, from “poor” to “extreme poverty.” People living in extreme poverty live on $1 a day. That dollar is supposed to cover their basic needs, and in reality they have only one: eat to survive.

A vicious circle is created over generations that is hard to escape because you have such limited options: without education the new generation follows the same pattern… work hard to get the minimum to eat and survive, or die.

Children, like this girl are the most vunerable to poverty's effects.It’s a daunting but very real scenario. Just walk around the cities of Guatemala — you can see people in need in the streets, poor people trying to get by with God’s help, needing Him to be true to what it says in Scripture: give us today our daily bread (Mathew 6:11).

A lot of those who are better off try to indulge being islands, keeping to themselves — no matter what is happening around them, they are only satisfying their OWN needs and forgetting God’s heart — to help the poor.

And that’s why Forever Changed International supports those in need, working to meet the many needs Guatemalans suffer. Through outreaches in our missions program you can make a real difference. The many children and families we serve throughout Guatemala eagerly wait for Forever Changed International to bring teams of people to share Christ’s love with them as well as provide them with what we would consider basic living essentials. Soap and a pair of shoes can brighten the eyes of a 5-year-old boy more than you can imagine. Apply for a trip today!

Coming to Guatemala is a real eye-opener. The suffering will change your mind and your point of view. It will show you how many are truly hungry, and that you have been privileged to be born and raised in a country with a multitude of opportunities —a very different life to live. Even more so it will help you gain a kingdom perspective. One mission tripper put it this way, “Seeing their hearts for the Lord displayed with Dorie’s Promise children, the communities we visited and with our team was very impacting on us. Every person on our team has expressed the positive life experience our time at Dorie’s Promise has produced.”

A home in the ghettoBut poverty is affecting many things in our country: starving children are being exploited physically, emotionally, and sexually — a reason why Dorie’s Promise, our orphan home in Guatemala, is so important.

Dorie’s Promise Guatemala changes the lives of those most vulnerable to poverty’s effects – children. They come to us lacking the emotional, physical, mental, and, most important of all, spiritual fundamentals they need to break free from the cycle of poverty. You have the opportunity to lift a child out of poverty and into a loving home by becoming a sponsor! Sponsorship does more than just provide them with the basics of life – food and shelter.  Your sponsorship fills their life with love, hope, education, and care.

Mission Program Updates

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Missions Team - Von Hausen

My team has learned what it means to have compassion for others. The kind of compassion that enters your gut and compels you to do something.

By Pablo Villagran-

Mission Program Updates - Phot provided by Cayce DossettGod has been so merciful and faithful in every single step of this program. We have learned to give Him the glory for everything and in every moment. He has shaped this program into what He wants it to be. We have learned to trust the Lord and to know He is the pilot — we only have to enjoy the ride.

Teams have come with us and have connected with our kids here at Dorie’s. Our kids have learned to make friends and to trust people again. They love to have “missioners,” as they call, them around. They often come to me to ask if any are coming because they know they will be able to receive and give so much love and attention. Our mission program has become very important for the kids here at Dorie’s.

I would love to thank every person who came this last summer and loved our kids. Some relationships and connections impacted them in many positive ways.

Unfortunately, our missions outreach was affected by the news that the community of Linda Vista was removed from their territory. They had been fighting a legal battle for their land for more than two years, but in the end they lost the land— the buildings as well as about 100 families were removed. It was a tragedy for us. We couldn’t do anything about it, but we know that God is in control. Of course, the families were devastated. In past years, whenever there is an eviction, many people die trying to defend the land. But the Gospel was deep inside these people’s hearts and no one fought — they all left there in peace, not in tragedy.

For me personally it was a crisis. It marked my life. I have heard from a good friend that crises refine your life. I think it molded my character to have more compassion for the homeless and the poor. The community is waiting for the government to get a new place to start a community again. Many were touched by this place and the people. They are the most rejected people in my country, and that’s where we work. I believe Jesus would have done the same thing. So I thank everyone for how you have invested in this place.

Aside from the changes in some of these plans, we have seen how other doors are being opened to new opportunities to help others in need. We are constantly working to help and support places that are making a big difference in their communities:

Panaroma of Guatemala CityThe first one, is Casa de Pan (Bread house). This is a feeding center that helps 260 kids who live and work in the dump of Guatemala City. Pastor Mercedez has shown many people what it means to work for the poor and to have compassion for the one who has less. Years before, she used to be one of those kids who would dig in the garbage to find food for her siblings because her parents, addicted to drugs, were not providing. She knew her purpose in life was to help kids who live in extreme poverty.

The second one is hogar estatal (a state orphanage). They currently have 700 children but only the capacity for 400. The kids living in these conditions are exposed to abuse. The state of Guatemala at some point looks like it doesn’t know what to do with them.

Our program is focusing right now on their facilities. We want these children to have a nice environment to grow in, and we are working with the kids, teaching them the Gospel and how it has changed our lives … and it could change theirs!

The third option: Luz del Paraiso (Light of Paradise). Located in Palencia, it is a place helping 60 children with food and tutoring classes. But the children here suffer malnutrition, poverty, and violence in their home life. The program is run by college students. We support this place and the homes around it with different infrastructure and water projects. They just received a land grant, for the next 20 years, donated by the municipality to do their project. We will support them as much as we can.

Luz del Paraiso (Light of Paradise)We have also started visiting an abandoned school in a place call El Palmar, Palencia. We realize that because it is far away, the help doesn’t get there … but there are plenty of opportunities for us to help.

It is clear there are many places that need your support. You can donate to give to a community, water, educational, or health project, and we will use it in the best way.

And that “best way” is to come on a mission trip. Every single week is different. But God has called us to help the poor.

You might have the idea that you are coming to give so much, but in reality you will receive much more in return.

I think God is opening doors to us to help people in need in different places. He has given us a Kingdom vision so that we can work with other organizations for the sake of that Kingdom.

Special Donation Through The Bronco Country Heroes Award

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Cayce Dossett with her team at Dorie's Promise

By Heather Radu-

Cayce Dossett  in Guatemala with LesterWhile it is impossible to rank the importance of a particular donation to the work of Dorie’s Promise, I am especially pleased by a recent $500 gift from Cayce Dossett.

A senior at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cayce made her first trip to Guatemala last March. She and a friend joined nine other volunteers from various parts of the U.S. and Canada to make the week an unforgettable one for our residents.

The children especially enjoyed a day of music instruction provided by Cayce and her friend Andrew, who brought along a guitar, ukulele, and harmonica.

“I loved doing music with the kids,” says Cayce, who grew up in Winter Springs, Florida. “Pablo said they had never been able to do that. It was neat to help them learn some music. The Special Mothers are amazing, too. We got to hang out with them and see how they treat the children as their own.”

SCayce Dossett participating in the Broncos eventince she sponsors one of our children, we already knew Cayce had a special bond with our home. Still, we were excited when we learned she had designated her winnings from a pro football athletic competition to FCI.

“Train Like A Bronco” was held prior to a Denver Broncos’ training camp. It included 50 members of various military branches. Participants competed in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, cone drills, bench press, and vertical leap.

Cayce, a member of Cadet Squadron 34, was the winner among the female contestants. Fellow cadet Christopher Ryals won the men’s division.

The pair received their Bronco Country Heroes Award at Denver’s first preseason game at Sports Authority Field, the team’s home field.

Since National Football League telecasts are among TV’s most-viewed events, we are pleased that this year’s season includes a link to FCI. I would say I’m surprised, except that I’ve seen God do so many things over the years I really should expect it!

I’m also pleased that Cayce plans to spend her final spring break next March in Guatemala. She is recruiting other cadets and members of her Colorado Springs church (Woodmen Valley Chapel) to join her.

She is sharing with them about the home, as well as the community projects completed by most of our mission teams.

Cayce Dossett with a new friend she made while on her trip to GuatemalaCayce’s mission trip included going to a state-run orphanage, pouring cement sidewalks, and painting a pool at a community center near Guatemala City.

“It was my first time going on a mission trip,” Cayce says. “I was impressed with how organized it was. It made traveling there easy. I felt safe the whole time and I loved being with the kids. I think I learned more from the people and the kids there than I helped them.”

We like to say that mission-trippers’ lives are changed by a visit to Guatemala. Cayce’s story is proof of it!

Gospel Words and Deeds

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Efrain and Specail MOther.

Part fifteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduI would love to live in a world that has been totally transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. I suspect you would, too. Imagine how much love, peace, and mercy would fill people’s lives! No one would steal, kill, or betray—it would be incredibly beautiful. Sadly, we do not live in that world right now. We live in a world that has been shattered by sin.

Part of our calling as Christians is to recognize that the world is shattered, but to also remember that God sent Jesus to repair it. One of the most important ways to do that is just go out and tell people about what Jesus has accomplished (and continues to do). But I want you to know that there are other ways to bring healing to the people we meet.

I think sometimes we forget that we demonstrate the Gospel just by bringing relief to those who are suffering. I cannot help but think of what Jesus said in Matthew 25. When we provide for the needs of the “least of these” it is as though we are doing it for him. We are living out the truth that his life teaches us. That is an essential part of the truth of Christianity.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying we don’t need to proclaim the Gospel with words! That is absolutely vital because God has chosen preaching as the major way to declare his message. But what I am saying is that there are times when our words will not penetrate people’s hearts.

When people are suffering they often can’t hear your words. In fact, they may actively resist what you say. But if they can see your actions, then you have their attention. Once they are sure you care and that you are trustworthy, your words will have a much greater impact. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen or heard about hard-hearted people who were softened by someone who patiently lived the Gospel out before they spoke up.

I look forward to living in a world that has been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. Until that reality comes to pass we can, through God’s strength, live in a way that shows what that transformation looks like. Then those who are in need will understand that Jesus is what they’ve been looking for all along.

Following the Way of Jesus

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Following the Way of Jesus

Part fourteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduDid you know we have not always been called “Christians?” If you read the book of Acts, Luke tells us that Christians were also called followers of “the Way” (Acts 9:2, ch. 19). If you think on those verse for a while, you might come to realize something surprising: being a Christian is not just about believing the truth about Jesus (although that is absolutely vital). It is also about following his example.

When Jesus graciously saves us, we are not called to relax and live a comfortable life. He didn’t, after all! Instead, we represent him and share his message. One of the things that Jesus did while he was here on earth was identify with the poor. In Matthew 8:20, he told his followers that he had no place to lay his head. Can you imagine? The God of the universe was homeless!

What does this have to do with us? Am I saying that we all need to be homeless and give everything away to the poor? No, of course not. Again, the book of Acts shows us that some people in the church had more money than others. The problem arises, though, when we who might be a little more well off begin valuing comfort over service. This is a huge danger for me, and for many Christians in the U.S.

Christians have to return to Jesus again and again. We need to be reminded that being a Christian should lead us into serving others, not because we’re better than them, but because we are just like them. When Jesus came to earth he became a human being he did not say, “I’m going to separate my people into the ‘upper class’ and the ‘lower class.'” This means that the playing field is even. No one is better than anyone else.

Since all this is true, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly imitating our Lord as we go about our daily lives. And the majority of the time, we will have to say ‘no!’ But even those moments can serve as a reminder that Jesus came down and put on a body just like ours so he could identify with us. As Christians (or followers of the Way, as Luke put it), we should always be ready to imitate our Lord.