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
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.
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.