It was 9:00 a.m., the beginning of our first day at the South Asian Center in Queens NY. It was amazing as the people began to trickle in to class. I had not left U.S. soil and I felt like I had been halfway around the world.
I had seen some of these people groups in travels with IBC on missions. But this time they were in my backyard; eager to learn my language, English. My 10th grade English teacher Dr. Littlefield would have been a little nervous. We discussed pronoun, adjectives and adverbs, but the real key was we cared for them. For many of the women who would meet with the women on our team this was their only time out of the house. Other than a brief time to the grocery store they do not venture out of there homes. The men usually come on their day off from work, which could be their only personal down time. Some even come for the morning and evening session.
But for all the English they get to learn, they like to practice it as well. So we get to talk one on two, however most of the time is more three or four on one because there are so many students. We talk about all kinds of things. We get to talk about children, marriages, work, religion and most of all we talk about what Jesus means to us. I was amazed at how open they were to talk.
They were so hungry to spend time practicing their English they were always slow to leave. For some this was the only place that someone seemed to care. To really want to hear their story. They all had a story.
Pray their story will continue with a new ending that finds them as Children of God John 1:12.
Come with us to NYC in 2012. Visit our Mission Trip Calendar on this blog or call 813-264-8727
Sometimes the simplest of ideas will stir the hearts of people and open their eyes to hear the Gospel. The Vimeo below is a great testimony to many mission trip teams. That sometimes you only need to be sensitive to the culture and find out what captures their attention.
For more exciting testimonies of this India trip take the time to view the Vimeo’s below, take time to pray and see if God is calling you to be part of our next India VBS Trip on June 9-6, 2012. If you are interested in more information visit our Mission Cafe and pick up a Trip Information Card or call 813-264-8727.
A unique learning moment in our 2011 High School SWAM New York Mission Trip was going to a Buddhist temple. This was a new experience to me. I felt so out of place standing in a building designed for the worship of something contrary to the God I serve, an environment that offered me no hope. What added to my discomfort was that those present who believed in what this place stood for knew that I did not share any such beliefs. I have been in other “religious” buildings, but at those times, I was merely a face in the crowd, one of many who passed in the day. Little did those religious patrons know that I believe in the God of the Bible. Here, I was also a face in a crowd. That crowd just happened to be a group of high school kids on a missions trip with a locally known, Christian pastor as their guide.
In those moments, I was reminded that we do not get to choose the environments in which we will be Christians. If you are a child of God, then that is what you are no matter where you may be – whether your t-shirt says it or not. I was both challenged to maintain an attitude that mirrored Christ and comforted because I knew that I did not have to be afraid to stand there. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Even a place that houses false teachings could not separate me from my God’s love. God is more powerful than the circumstances that surround us.
The most lasting impression was made by the children. While we were there, I saw fathers come in with their sons and daughters. The children were young. One little girl copied her father’s behavior by bowing when he did and then rising. They did not know any different. It broke my heart. These babies are growing up in darkness, separated from God who loves them so much that His son, Jesus, died that they might be saved. As much as it may or may not make sense, my first reaction was to be upset with the parents. They were not protecting their children by showing them Jesus. But then reason returned to me, and I realized that these parents were once in the place of the children. Years ago, their parents brought them to a temple and they were the ones patterning behavior. And once again, I was heartbroken. I found this to be the hardest thing to see on the trip.
We have to keep going and telling others about Jesus. Beyond the fact that it is the Great Commission, people will not know unless we tell them! (Romans 10:14-15) They will be just like the children who follow step after step behind their parents who probably did the same thing. We have to live the Gospel! Just like we learned from being in the temple, if you are a Christian then you are always a Christian. We have to teach our own children by example and educate them that they might believe for themselves.
By the way, we ended our time at the temple by having an impromptu worship time to Jesus, the true God …This was a great trip!
Author: Sarah Giddings
For more information on future SWAM Mission Trips
“The Gospel was not given just so we can live forever. It was given so we can live for today” (Ray Sanabria)
I used to think that the day I received the Gospel was the day all was well, the day I could rest and not worry, the day I was assured of going to heaven. But the more I read the bible the more I realized the Gospel was given to us for so much more. The Gospel has made our lives well. It has given us peace. Hell is no longer an issue. But there is more. Not only has it changed how we are going to live our eternity; it has changed the way we should live today.
The Gospel helps us do three things.
Live A Free Life
We are no longer a slave to sin because we have been set free. We no longer need to carry the burden of an unforgiven sin from the past. The Gospel cleanses the sin of our past so we can have freedom in the present.
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Live A Powerful Life
We no longer have to live an ‘ordinary’ life; we have the ability to live an ‘extraordinary’ life by the power the Gospel has deposited within us. This power is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Live An Influential Life
We no longer need to live a selfish life, thinking only about ourselves and our future. We now have the ability to live a life of influence. We can change the world a life at a time. We can bring freedom to a world that is a prisoner to sin. We can offer power to a weak world. We can turn the world ‘upside down’.
Acts 17:6 “And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also”
Don’t settle for an ordinary life. Live an extraordinary life!”
Join us as we “Live The Gospel” in our community and across the world. Get involved in our local ministries or visit our 2012 Mission Trip Calendar on this blog.