This is my baby nephew.
Well, he’s 5, but he will always be my little baby.
As you can see, he’s a fire chief.
And sometimes a pirate.
Before I launch into the reason I’m writing this blog, you need to understand the relationship Eric and I have.
Maybe these pictures will add some clarity.
To put it simply: no one in this entire world has my heart like this little baby and I’m hard-pressed to find anyone or anything in this world I love more than him.
This past week Eric got his first study Bible, so on Saturday I took him to Panera to have a breakfast date with God.
This is my favorite little pirate reading John to me in between sips of coffee (and bites of his chocolate chip bagel).
This was also when I gently broke the news to him that I would be returning to Romania (for more about that click here). This was a big deal because he wasn’t thrilled when we went the first time.
His reaction to the news taught me a lesson.
This is how the conversation went down:
“So you said you needed to tell me something this morning?” he said, smiling over his bagel.
Since we had just sat down to eat I told him we could talk about it later.
“I think now is a good time,” he said sweetly. (He’s such a grown up.)
“Well, okay,” I said slowly. “Not right now but in six weeks, I’m going back to Romania.” I braced myself for how he would digest the info.
He looked at me for a few heartbeats, unblinking, as his big green eyes filled with tears. Finally he broke the silence and in a soft and slow voice filled with betrayal said, “Why?”
“Because that’s where God wants me to go. We’re going to love on those people and teach them what Jesus said.”
He blinked away tears. “But you already did that!”
Just like most American churches, Eric is confused about what real missions is.
What is missions?
I tried not to laugh at his ultra-serious remark but he was just so cute that I cracked a little smile.
Then I realized his reaction is like most of the American church in their response to missions.
I’ve heard people respond this way:
“Why go back to somewhere you’ve already been? You’ve already been there, you’re done. There are other places in the world that need to hear about Jesus too.”
There are other churches whose philosophy of missions are short-term trips designed to mostly impact the ones going, not the ones they’re serving.
Take the following quote from a church’s discussion forum for example,
“I’m a youth worker at my church and the short-term missions trips we do are mainly to get the kids out of their comfort zone and to see how people live in other parts of the world.”
Um. That’s not the point of missions.
The point of missions is not to go so you’ll feel good about yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
The point of missions is not to go so you’ll find satisfaction in how much better off you are than others.
The point of missions is not even to alleviate the impoverished and the help the needy.
The point of missions is to take the Gospel, the power of God for salvation, to every tribe and tongue and nation to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Why? So we can cross “go on a mission trip” off our bucket list? Absolutely not. We go so God will be rightfully glorified in this world as the only One worthy of our affections, worship and lives.
Our mission in Eastern Europe
As a 5 year old, Eric doesn’t understand the true purpose of missions is to ignite the hearts of people around the world to a white-hot worship of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t understand that yes, while we went to Romania in April and we loved on the people and Bro. Michael and Florin taught pastors and church leaders what it means to make disciples, that the work isn’t finished.
That’s the point of launching the Romania Missionary Fellowship.
We went to Eastern Europe for two weeks in April and we’re about six weeks away from leaving for another two weeks but that doesn’t mean the work of God stops when we leave. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The first conference laid the necessary and much needed foundation for Florin Vasiliu, the director of RMF, to begin pouring into these brothers monthly, discipling them to become disciplers so they can train their own men who will in turn go out and duplicate the process as they plant new churches.
This is an exciting process that has been going on for the last five months. However, the pastors need more than just one person pouring into them. Another set of conferences is needed to pour another layer of Scriptural foundation on their souls and continue equipping them to see the mission God has called us to participate in.
So we must go.
Why? God’s glory is on the line.
Does God need us? Certainly not.
But He chooses to use us to make Jesus’ name famous and to stir the nations to a greater understanding of who He is so that the Lamb receives the reward of His suffering.
This is the point of Psalm 67:1-2,
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face to shine upon us,
that Your way may be known on earth,
Your saving power among all nations.
We ask for God’s favor, His blessing, His help so that His way may be known on earth, His saving power among all nations.
Will you join us? Together we can join God in wrapping His arms around the nations.
Please prayerfully consider supporting the work of this ministry by giving financially. If you believe the Lord is leading to give to this ministry, you can go here and make a donation by clicking the drop down box and selecting the “RMF Fall Conference” button. Or you can send your check to Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2945 Oaks Rd., Paducah, Ky. 42003. Please memo your check RMF Fall Conference.