Saturday, May 17, 2014

Within My Power


Royce photo-bombed Miguel and me…
 

On July 7, 2009, I was in a motorcycle accident that should have killed me. I was traveling at approximately forty mph when a car pulled out in front of me. I hit it broadside. My back was significantly damaged when I landed on the highway twenty-five or more feet from the point of impact.

On May 9, 2014, I was troubled/worried at how cranky my back was as I sat on a wooden bench in the Peruvian jungle church. The old injury is starting to catch up with me. At one point, I tried to stand and couldn't. I gathered myself, stood, and then wondered if I would be able to walk another step, or sit for five more minutes. All of this caught me off guard. Over all, for my age, I am in better than average physical condition. I weigh about twelve pounds more than I did when I graduated high school. I am active. On the Amazon River, I was shocked at how physically hampered I was for the first time in my adult life.

Upon arriving back at The Shire, I immediately focused on my physical core strength, specifically working on my lower back and abdominals. I cycle, so my cardio and legs are fine. I am not "old," but neither am I getting any younger. My sixth decade (the new 40's) is less than two years out. But most importantly, I am committing myself to a prayer of the Psalmist. I want to resist the wisdom of the age that encourages us to give in and slow down and coast into the shadow lands. As much as is within my power, I want to finish as strong as possible--out on the edges--proclaiming God's power to a new generation for as long as possible.

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I've trusted you, O LORD, from childhood. 

And now, in my old age, don't set me aside. 
Don't abandon me when my strength is failing.

But I will keep hoping for your help;
I will praise you more and more.

I will tell everyone about your righteousness. 
All day long I will proclaim your saving power, 
though I am not skilled with words. 

I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD.
I will tell everyone that you alone are just.

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. 

Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, 
your mighty miracles to all who come after me. 

  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interpretations

Teaching and answering questions...


"How can this be?" they exclaimed. "These people are all from Galilee., and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are--Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the area of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!" ~ Acts 2:7-11

"After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the lamb…"  ~ Revelation 7:9

It's been my privilege to breach the language barrier and teach God's Word through an interpreter in Bulgaria, Venezuela, China, Greece, Mexico, and Canada. Never have I enjoyed it more than among the river people of Peru along the Amazon. Rick, Royce, and I each had interpreters/guides that traveled with us. Louis, Manuel, and Elias have been interpreting for "Gringos" for years. Each of them is a committed Believer. Manny (Manuel) was my interpreter; he was gregarious and exceptionally skilled at duplicating the inflection of my words. We made a great team!

On the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God served notice that the gospel would be unbound, unstoppable, powerful, and viral. It would be equally effective in bringing salvation among every nation and tribe and people and language. Looking into the dark eyed, dark haired, dark skinned people who surrounded me in a semi-circle as I taught, it came to mind that my fellow missionaries and I were witnessing the Kingdom of God advancing toward its promised culmination:"After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the lamb…" 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Here, There, And Everywhere…

Me with some of the pastors I taught from villages on the Amazon

Left to Right: Rick Stallings, Miguel, Royce Railey standing in one of the churches their team built. 


Charles, Rick, and Royce have been going into the interior of Peru (via the Amazon) since 2007. During this time they have taken nearly 200 Americans with them. A broad ranging group of short-term missionaries: students and teachers, doctors and nurses, husbands and wives, white-collar and blue-collar people making up their teams. Three different objectives compel them: medical, construction, and gospel presentation. Due to the longterm commitment of these men, there are many believers and new churches that never existed before they began taking Christ to the river people of the Amazon.

I am now among the cloud of witnesses that have been blessed to see this work of God there.

Before sunrise on my first morning in one of the primitive villages, I went out into a clearing and looked upward toward the eastern horizon for Venus--just like I do every morning when I am at The Shire in Cataula, GA. There it was shining brightly. As I stood there, I knew that Sandy was very likely doing her early morning reading and also looking out her window at the same shimmering planet. It was an interesting moment that I can't seem to capture in words, except to say that I truly felt like we were only separated by a few feet, rather than a few thousand miles. I remember specifically thinking about the omnipresence of God--He was present with me, and with Sandy. I remember audibly speaking into the dawn, "God, you are here with me, and you are there with Sandy, so we are all here together. Thank you,,,"



Thursday, May 1, 2014

You Can't Perfectly Plan Your Life, But You Can Live The Life God Gives You...

Trusted Christ at 16 years of age and did street preaching in Boston, Massachusetts (it didn't go well)
Church planting in northern and central Maine
Church planting in Canada
Construction of a school for the deaf in Rio Bravo, Mexico
Construction of relief and distribution centers in the aftermath of Katrina
Medical mission trips within the U.S.
Mission trip to 250 remote villages in a large Asian country to indigenous people who had never hear the Good news
Construction and Church planting in Caracas, Venezuela
Church planting among Gypsies in Samokov, Bulgaria
Construction and Church planting in Thessaloniki, Greece
Teaching at SIAS University in Henan Province, China
Living in The Shire in Cataula, GA.

NEXT STOP… Mission trip to Peru and villages on the Amazon River to train indigenous pastors

Enjoying the Adventure--one that has far surpassed my dreams or anyone's expectations...