As I write these words, it’s almost noon on Wednesday, March 4, and I’m in Southeast Asia. I’m part of a short-term mission team of fourteen folks from Ingleside.
We are here in support of a group of frontline missionaries who live and share the gospel in some of the most challenging circumstances in the world. The purpose has been to help provide these missionaries and their children a few days of rest, renewal, training, and encouragement that will enhance their effectiveness when they return to their assignments.
So, one of the big jobs for our team has been to provide care, bible studies, and activities (like vacation bible school or a retreat or a camp) for the preschoolers, children, middle school, and high school students. While we have worked with the kids, the parents have been freed to be in meetings and training sessions throughout each day. Our Ingleside team has served tirelessly with excellence and joy. I know the Lord is pleased!
In addition, we have led a worship service for the older students and adults each day. Most of these missionaries do not have the privilege of worshiping in their “heart language” (English) very often. So, they have sung heartily to the Lord and listened intently to the preaching and teaching of the Word. By God’s grace, these times of worship have been spiritually rich and moving!
Of course, all the observations made and lessons learned on a trip like this one are too many to articulate in this short space. However, let me mention just two:
1) Serving is satisfying. Jesus put it this way: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35, ESV).
2) The gospel is spreading and changing lives. The Bible says that we should not be “ashamed of the gospel,” because “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, ESV). The testimony of those we have served this week is that even among people-groups long resistant to the gospel, some are now hearing, repenting, believing, and following Jesus Christ as Lord!
What a joy it is to be part of a church that is committed to going with the gospel – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally (cf. Acts 1:8). And, what a privilege to be part of this team in Southeast Asia this week!
I look forward to seeing you back at Ingleside in worship on Sunday.
Your Pastor and Friend,