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
Years ago on a trip to Costa Rica, as a team of young adults, we were serving in a very poor community called "Las Tablas." Most of the week was spent excavating a site and wheelbarrowing mud down a dirt path. This was in preparation for a foundation to be poured to expand a ministry center. During the week we were constantly mocked by a man living adjacent to the facility. He would sit on his roof or hang out his window cussing at us in Spanish.
Things happen when traveling in other cultures. Laugh with us at Americans abroad in Ethiopia, Panama, and India.
Have you ever wondered how the end of someone’s story goes when you see them struggling even to breathe because their circumstances are so dire? Social media helps us catch up with acquaintances near and far these days. But it wasn’t always that way.
I (Brian) just received the following report from Carole Kaylor. She and her husband, Dan, planted the La Viña Chiriqui in Porterillos Arriba, Panama. They just celebrated the sixth anniversary of the church being planted. Carole says,
Refugees have been in the news a lot lately, but this is a story of good news among refugees. In the one of the countries where I am involved in missions work, there is a large UNHCR refugee camp. Some of the people in this camp have been there for as long as 20 years. The residents of this camp come from approximately seven of the surrounding nations; some IDPs (internally displaced persons) live here, too. Residents of this camp represent several different faiths and religious backgrounds.
It was a hot day in Luanda, Angola, on the afternoon of the penultimate day of our gathering of African Vineyard leaders, and we were having our “cultural experience” exercise. Thirty plus women and men from almost a dozen nations filled a big bus driving the streets of this bustling African city.
When our church joined the Vineyard Mission partnership for a particular nation (closed country), I looked forward to the time I would be able to travel and see God’s work in and through the church there, because I knew some things would be different from the first time I traveled to that country.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this series, just a week before the start of the Missional Leaders Meeting, I was led to talk to the MLM staff about coordinating prayer ministry at the MLM. I knew Christine Cottrell, home with brand-new twin boys, would be absent from the MLM this year. Her leadership coordinating this part of the MLM would be missed. I wanted to honor her and the prayer team by putting my gifting to work on the ground. Four days later the MLM began, and I went to work.
Year after year at the MLM, God is at work in people, including those serving as prayer ministers. Prayer ministry is done by leaders who are hidden. This hiddenness often causes them to believe they are not leaders because it is such a quiet act of service.
After serving at the Vineyard Missional Leaders Meeting (MLM) for over 10 years in a variety of ways, including the prayer team, the “I can’t believe I get to do this” feeling never wears off. It is such a privilege to serve the men and women who attend this meeting. This year I was able to coordinate all the prayer ministry among other things. There’s a God story of its own there which I will share with you later Part 3.