What does missions work really look like?
Much of what we provide is the "how to" of missions. And as important as it is to have a clear roadmap and agreed-upon set of expectations to do this work, it doesn't reveal the "why" behind any decision to engage in missions.
This is why we capture stories.
You're invited to meet some ordinary people with extraordinary and powerful stories to tell. These are stories of individuals exalted and communities transformed. They are stories that speak to our hearts and invite us to take action.
“If you’re a teacher, a factory worker, a mom, a youth in high school, or whatever – you’ve got a role. You can be people that bring hope to people that have no hope.”
ROSS NAYLOR-TATTERSON | Pastor, Without Walls Vineyard, Holland, MI | Indonesia Partnership
Have you ever thought you may have missed your calling? Or forfeited one too many opportunities? Or maybe turned a deaf ear to the Lord’s leading? If so, we can relate!
In February 2008, a team of leaders from five churches in two countries met in Ethiopia to consider forming a partnership to come alongside the newly developing network of Vineyard churches in that nation. It was an adventurous week. A partnership was formed, and though not all the churches decided to join, others joined along the way.
In February 2008 a group of Vineyard pastors went to Ethiopia. When they returned I received a phone call from one of them, a local pastor from the Hamilton Vineyard, Ken Ritz. We as a church had been praying about serving in Africa. Kenya had actually been on our minds, and I had even talked with Bubba Justice about it since he was leading in Kenya at that time. But when Ken shared with me about the need in Ethiopia, I couldn’t get it off my mind. We decided that Ethiopia was the place that God wanted us.
Two recent missions trip experiences have left me thinking about attitude and heart posture. This story starts in the Mozambican city of Tete in 2017.
In Mozambique, most places we visit lack running water, restrooms, etc. But Mozambicans understand the need for hygiene, so the custom is to offer a pitcher of water and a basin …
When I travel to Africa, one of my favorite worship songs I frequently hear has this line in it: “We praise the African way.” It involves dancing and singing and raised hands and more. I’ve sung it in Kenya, Angola, South Africa, and elsewhere. It’s typically played following the offering at a big conference or celebration service. It’s a joyous celebration of the greatness of God and gratitude for His abundant provision.
South Sudan found its name and independence in 2011. Freedom of any kind is a sense of hope and promise, but the world’s newest country is also one of its least developed - anywhere you look. There are no precise population figures, but in 2014, the World Bank estimated there were 11.91 million South Sudanese, four in ten of them aged 14 or younger. Whether you are a child or a nation, age 7 to 8 is usually a time of rapid growth and development. But South Sudan, as beautiful as her people are, is faced with stunting restrictions.
A beautiful island nation just south of the U.S. experiencing a new-found freedom and change, is growing and stretching out of old ways of thinking--well some of them. I was informed that there are many informants in there. They go around listening to what preachers are saying.
It began before we even got on the airplane. However, everything we planned to do was accomplished, in spite of four (!) mechanical breakdowns with our vehicles, but thankfully, no problems with the airplane. Well, at least not while we were on it.
Have you ever wondered if a church should invest so much time and effort in training and sending short-term missions teams? Are the at-home benefits really worth the expense? Would it be more effective to just send the money? Let me tell you a story 19 years in the making.
On our annual trip to encourage and foster growth among the rural Cambodian churches we had a baptism scheduled in one of the villages. This village is specifically known for raising hogs! The village mayor/chief who is not a follower if Jesus (yet) welcomed us to hold a public service in the middle of the main road, under the traditional Khemer wedding tent. (This tent is so colorful you need to wear sunglasses!).