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Guest column: A safe mission

By Envision, Involve

By Brianna Alexander

It was supposed to be a “safe” missions trip. All I had to do was drive 20 minutes to church, hammer in a few nails, help carry some heavy wood pieces, and voila! I would have helped build a loft house for a family in Mexico and spread the love of Christ without putting a stamp in my passport. I had done this last year and I thought I was prepared.

The thing is though, I didn’t use a hammer. I used a spatula. I don’t use spatulas, or any cooking utensils for that matter. Seriously, I’m a terrible cook. I’m infamous for burning canned re-fried beans and just the other night I ruined crock-pot chicken! So imagine my dismay when I somehow found myself behind the giant church BBQ cooking cheeseburgers for 80 very hungry house builders. Funny, God, real funny.

Yet, as I stood there with smoke blowing directly into my eyes, I realized something. In the parking lot was a whole group of imperfect vessels. People were bending nails, hammering boards in the wrong place, getting bruised up. But no one was complaining, or yelling, or crying in a corner feeling sorry for themselves. They would all just laugh it off, bandage up and get right back in the action.

Getting Instructions

Volunteers gathered for morning instructions

That day was an amazing testament as to what the body of Christ can do when we set aside our own insecurities, annoyances and weaknesses and just focus on completing the mission God has set before us. Everyone one in the parking lot had a different story. They came from different churches, were different ages and were in a different part of their journey with Christ. What they shared was the desire to serve God by working together to bless a family they didn’t know, in a country many of them had never been to. That desire transcended all differences and weaknesses.

Imagine if we made that our goal all the time? Imagine if we stopped getting hung up on religious technicalities, cultural barriers and personality clashes? What if we stopped comparing ourselves to other people, stopped feeling inadequate, stopped focusing on our weaknesses and instead trusted God to equip us for the mission he has called us to? What if every day, whether it was at church, at work, at home or in a foreign country, we made a conscious effort to focus on the big picture, the God picture, and work with our fellow humans to bring that picture to life? Hmm, I wonder what life would look like then.

For that one morning, I set aside my own insecurities and cooked those burgers as best as I could. And while I did get asked “what’s this green thing in my burger?” (it was just an herb from the herb salt) the burgers turned out fairly decent. I actually didn’t have anything to worry about because the church’s resident chef was there cooking tri-tip that was to die for. Even if the burgers had been terrible, no one would have noticed. And while I appreciated and learned from that experience, I’m glad to be back behind my computer, using one of my actual talents to further the kingdom of God.

Couple receiving the house

Heriberto and Ruth now have a home to share with their one month old son, Jared

Did You Know…?

  • Hands of Mercy (HōM) helps churches build loft houses for families in Mexico. They have created a system that allows people to build walls, a roof and steps here in the United States. Then the pieces get taken to Mexico and the house is assembled and ready in a day so that the family can move in.
  • Many people in Mexico have never lived in a house with a lock. Someone always has to stay in the house in order to guard the family’s meager possessions. The HōM loft houses are equipped with locks and keys so families and their possessions are much safer.  Sometimes they have to explain how to use a lock & key set.
  • Some people have never lived in a house with a window. Because their homes are often pieced together with mismatched materials, including rented wood and sheet metal, it’s usually not logical or possible to add a window. But HōM loft houses are very sturdy and protect against the elements. Therefore, it’s nice that there are a few windows to open to let in fresh air.
  • You can host your own HōM loft house build! Gather a core group of people together to organize the event and raise $4,000. That money covers all costs including the cost of bringing the house down to Mexico. Then get the word out and gather a group of builders to help with the U.S. pre-fab and the assembly of the house in Mexico. For more information, visit HōM online or contact The Global Mission to learn how you can create your own event.

BriannaBrianna Alexander is an avid blogger who writes about social media marketing, real estate, Orange County, CA and the ridiculous price of mascara. She’s excited to use her talent to support missions and further God’s kingdom. When she isn’t blogging she’s usually doing things she will later blog about like cheering for the Angels, discovering new parks with her little dog and eating delicious food her husband cooks for her.  To see a video of the prefab she wrote about, watch How to Build a Home.

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When Silence isn’t Golden

By Envision, Personal
[pullquote_left]Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him.  Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.  (1 Chronicles 16:28-29)[/pullquote_left]

I think all parents are acquainted with the maxim that “silence is golden.”   But the Lord was speaking to me this morning as I walked my dog, reminding me that when it concerns God and His Kingdom, there is no place for silence.  I felt His gentle rebuke of my spirit that I haven’t been lifting up His name with the frequency or volume that He merits.

Here are some of the things I must belatedly trumpet:

Each of these is true and needs no explanation. But God has illustrated each of these in my life recently, so I will give Him the honor He deserves and address why He put them on my heart:

  • The past year was financially tumultuous as the economy and other circumstances impacted many of our ministry partners and their ability to give to the Lord through our ministry.  Yet again and again, in His timing, God met our needs in the moment and is now engaging many new ministry partners to come alongside us and provide the means to advance our mission.
  • Thousands are dying across the Middle East as lost souls cry out for change.  They may not know that Jesus can give them the living water they are so thirsty for, but we must be ready to lead them to the Well. My heart is broken for those suffering and persecuted, especially for the believers punished for their faith.  I pray the Lord will enable us to again take part in building His unshakable Kingdom in this region.
  • Haiti also continues to be challenged in it’s governance.  The Lord is not surprised by any of the turmoil in the nations, but rather He holds the future in His hands.  I will follow Him back to Haiti and wherever He leads as often as He calls.
  • It’s all about Him.  There is nothing in my day today that has greater significance than living for Him and seeking His Kingdom.  If it doesn’t have eternal significance, why am I investing in it?
  • I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Songs 6:3.)  God has illumined and envisioned His eternal romance in my marriage, which grows sweeter every year.  I love being married to Anne, and I learn new things about Jesus through our marriage all the time.

Yes, there are moments in life when the old axiom about silence being golden can seem true.  But never when it comes to the glory of the Lord.  Lift His banner high!

Do Heroes Question God?

By Envision

Heroes raise the flag at Iwo Jima

What we all want to know is whether it’s okay to question God.  If heroes can do it, then so can I, right?  But maybe I should dig a hole and bury my questions, because if I ask them, somehow that will make me a doubter.  Can a person of faith ask questions – or does that mean I lack faith?

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Not my will

By Headfirst, Personal

Why am I going back to Haiti again?  A third time?  Sometimes people assume that because of my heart for God or my heart for the lost, I’m just not like other people.  After all, everyone knows that missionaries aren’t normal.  We can’t relate to them because they’re just wired differently.  Maybe so.  Maybe not.  But I’m not going back because I would like to.  Actually, part of me wants to never go back. So Why Go?