Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Promised Greater Evangelism Later is NO Excuse for No Evangelism Today

Busy with work and the demands of family life, many well meaning Christian do little evangelism, but placate their guilt feelings with the thought of doing more for the Lord at some future time.

I have heard: "After I retire...," " When I get to the Mission Field...," "When the kids leave home..." and "When I find someone to go with me..." and a host of statements that seek to placate the troubled conscience of those who are not doing evangelism today. Somehow it is felt that a promised future and greater obedience is an expectable substitute for non-obedience today.

I learned as a missionary, that much of this is based on the idea that somehow evangelism will become easier at some future point.

It doesn't.

When you do evangelism in a different country with a fraction of the vocabulary that you enjoy in your home country, it is very much more difficult. If evangelism is hard on the ego and embarrasses you, try doing it when you might sound like an unintelligible idiot to some people who can't decipher their language spoken to them in an American accent that is difficult to shake.

The thing to know is this: present obedience in missions and evangelism, however difficult, will prepare you to succeed in future missionary and evangelism outreach.

Don't fool yourself. If you won't do it now, you won't do it later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A hole that made a hole in our budget

This is the continuing sad story of an attempt to dislodge a flushed paper towel that escalated into a damaged underground sewer pipe, a big hole in front of our house and involved two plumbers working two days to get it fixed.

Someone visiting our home flushed something other than toilet paper, which caused a clog in the sewer pipe. We called a plumber, but in the process of unclogging the pipes with his plumbing snake, he destroyed the old pipes. Unfortunately, plumbers don't pay for what they break. 

To be fair, the pipes were old anyway. Its just a shame the snake caused them to crumble apart during our ownership of the house.

We had to call in another plumber. We got a good reference from some other missionaries here and called Marzan Plumbing. The owner is a mid-twenty something young man with two vans and a couple of helpers. They came by late Monday night and commenced digging immediately. I was impressed by his good attitude and willingness to get muddy to solve our problem. But the deeper this hole got, the more nervous we got.

But, what could we do? It's not like the toilet is an optional frill in the entertainment category of our budget. We just had to get it fixed, cost what it may. Puerto Rican rates may be lower than the same work in the US, but this job is a big one, so we are holding our collective breaths for the final tally.

The rest of the story: $425 for everything. That is a lot of money for us, but not bad when you consider two plumbers working over two long days and all the thick, muddy, sewer soaked dirt they moved to make it happen. It could have been worse. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Hard Work over Time Brings Blessings: A former student gives us an offering

A lesson I have learned in missionary work that applies to other areas of life:
Little things done over time add up to great accomplishments.

We have been on the mission field long enough to experience the blessings of longevity, and these blessings are significant. Yesterday, a former student that I taught in our Puerto Rico Baptist College came to my house. He had returned to Columbia as a missionary to his own people, but was in the area representing a Bible College he is starting in Columbia, the country of his birth.  He heard I was recovering from prostate surgery and wanted to encourage me. He surprised me by giving me a handshake and putting a $100 check in my hand!

I imagine the early church in Jerusalem felt the same way when they were in a famine and the missionaries came home, bringing an offering to those who in the past had been supporting them. That feeling is one of surprise, humility and joy. 

How was it possible to experience this blessing? By every week, witnessing, teaching, training and never stopping until a man was won to Christ, who in turn could begin a work for Christ and bring it to the point to where they could contribute in turn to the work of missions and help a fellow missionary.

We just had to keep at it long enough and be around for the moment when the work reached a point of maturity that made these blessing possible. I am so thankful that the Lord has given us the priveledge of remaining on the field long enough to see the fruit mature and be able to participate in the harvest of it and to taste its sweetness.

Not just missionaries can benefit from these kinds of blessings. Consider this:

The average American watched 5.11 hours in 2012.

What if you took just 2 hours a day and did something else, consistently and over time and never stopped?

With just two hours a day, or 14 hours a week of that TV time invested on a consistent basis, someone could take a Karate class, take flying lessons, learn a musical instrument, go to church and still have time left over. At the end of a couple of years you could have a black belt in Karate, have a pilot's license, play the guitar and still have the 14 hour a week to invest in other things.

Imagine if you just spent just 15-30 min a day on a task, like memorizing Bible verses, learning foreign language vocabulary, preparing to pass an exam that would get you a license. Now imagine that you never stopped that practice and kept it alive every day for a life time. Where would you be then, what progress could you have made?

It's not to late to start. Start each day in reading the Bible and prayer and use your time, however little it is, wisely, daily and consistently.

A little, over a long time, will go a long way if you just never stop. Blessings come to those who never give up doing what God wants them to do. We know it's true, because it happened to us.