Posts Tagged missions

Small Church, Big Future

4 March 2012

Today, Dad and I drove about 30 miles to a church in Crane, MO. As a full-time missionary, Dad is on his year of “itineration” where he gets to travel from church to church, sharing reports of what God is doing around the world and especially in French-speaking countries.

And, exceptionally, I had the privilege of traveling with him.

The small town of Crane calls itself the “neatest town in Missouri” but in my opinion the neatest thing about the town is the church we attended and its pastors, George and Margaret Burnash.

The Burnashes are friends from my college days. Both are incredibly smart and have huge, welcoming smiles. God brought them to this struggling church several months ago and has given them an intense burden for their community.

Walking into the church, the first things I noticed were the missions posters all around the sanctuary with the “red and yellow, black and white” faces from all over the world: Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, North America, Latin America … It made us feel instantly welcomed.

Pastor George, Margaret & son Joseph

The church and its pastors have a pioneering spirit. The church itself looks like the epitome of a little country church, with its white facade and sturdy wooden pews, but the congregation has thinned out over the years through a variety of events. But though the church may be small, it has a big heart and a big vision.

We had a wonderful time of praise, worship and prayer (as well as great donuts and coffee, I’ve got to admit it!), Dad’s sermon was good and he didn’t require that I sing, like he did when I was a little kid (I’m very happy about that).  We all sense that God is getting ready to move in a big way in Crane.

As I read in a devotional book yesterday, “When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!” If you are facing a challenge that looks pretty scary from where you’re standing, know that if God has called you, He will equip you. He’ll also send friends and companions along at the right time to stand beside you and help you in your work. Just be faithful to that call!

Please take a moment to pray for George and Margaret and their two children:

  • For protection over their lives and their work
  • For strong Christians to come alongside them to help in the ministry
  • For financial provision for the Burnashes and their church
  • For courage in the midst of adversity and joy in the midst of discouragement
  • For God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Crane, esp. in the area of deliverance from unhealthy habits and addictions

“When we know what God has called us to do, we can also know He has provided the wherewithal to get the job done!”

Travel With Purpose: A Divine Mandate

8 September 2010

Sunset in BeijingFrom the beginning, Christian travel has been purposeful travel. An examination of the travel patterns of early Christians reveals that when they traveled, it was for a specific purpose: to make Christ known and to spread the Gospel message.

In our modern era, a few heroes of the faith stand out as men and women who traded everything they had in order to travel the world and tell people about Christ.

One of those heroes is William Carey, known as the “Father of Modern Missions,” who was born in England in 1761 and became a shoemaker at age fourteen. By the time he was twenty he had mastered Greek, Hebrew, Dutch and French. Carey began to realize the implications of the Great Commission by reading The Last Voyage by Captain Cook. He felt God saying to him,  ”If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

 ”If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel … then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations.”

And Carey replied, “Here am I; send me!”

When Carey explained his understanding of Christ’s command to “teach all nations” at a ministers’ meeting, he was greeted with skepticism and jeers. One man shouted: “Young man, sit down: when God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

But nonetheless Carey went to India. There were no Indian converts for the first seven years but by the time Carey died in 1834 the Scriptures had been translated and printed into forty languages, leading to the conversion of many.

A number of mission organizations formed as a result of the excitement generated by Carey’s departure to India.  Soon one of America’s first missionaries, Adoniram Judson, set sail for India as well. Among the missionaries of this era was J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, of whom it was said: “Never once in fifty years did the sun rise in China without finding him on his knees.” At Taylor’s death in 1905, there were 205 stations with 849 missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians in the China Inland Mission.

River Scene, BeijingWherever they went, these godly missionaries built churches, schools and orphanages, and helped bring technological advances to those who had not benefited from the European industrial revolution. Others, like Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, helped to open trade routes while carrying out their divine duties.

Their example reminds us that we, too, must be willing to bring help and hope wherever we travel, carrying out the divine command to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.”

For more information on how you can leave an eternal “footprint” when you travel see PrayerWalk Beijing.