Update from Ecuador! – Pastors’ Blog 27Jun2016

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We have made it to Tambo, Ecuador for the second of our Vision trips in 2016. More about this trip in a moment.

Last week, we served in the Copper Basin in Southeast Tennessee. We partnered with Ninth and O Baptist Church and local missionary Jason Dublin, and his wife Dara, to do mission work in Appalachia. It was HOT! There was a lot of sweat and hard work done in the few days.

The Appalachia trip involved 4 major projects. The first of these projects was to help with some light construction at a local elementary school. The work included painting a compuer lab, exterior painting, installing glass block windows, and other maintenance work. The principal of the school is a believer and our work has been a great blessing to her. Her vision for this is that many of the children live in homes that they are not proud of because of the condition and that she wants them to find their school as a source of pride. The second major project was building a ramp at a home for a mother and adult daughter that needed better accessibility to their home. The adult daughter has an adult son that lives with her, and Philip Brown [The Singles’ Pastor from Ninth and O], was able to connect with him and spent some time discussing life and the good news of Jesus with him. The third major project was a complete house renovation for a lady that lived near Turtletown. The home was unlivable and she had to live in a trailer with her handicapped son. The goal of the project was to get the house to a place where either her or her son could live in the house and the other in the trailer. Before we arrived, the house had very little room to move around in, had no handicap access, no water [which we didn’t find out until later], and had many other needs to be livable. In the course of the trip, the house was completely cleaned out, new cabinets were installed, a lot of electrical work was done, a 100+ foot trench was dug to bring a water supply to the house, a dead raccoon/possum [we weren’t sure which] was removed, a new hot water heater replaced a rusted one, and a deck with handicap accessiblity was built. The final project was a pastors’ conference on stewardship and finance was held for local pastors. The goal of this was to teach through a course so that they could take the material back to their churches to be taught there. We had a team also serve food and care for these pastors and pastors wives as they were at the conference.

Right now, I am typing this from Ecuador, and let me tell you–IT IS COLD! Right now I have a portable heater pointed at me, a huge blanket slung over my lap, and layers of clothes above my shivering frame. I started typing this with gloves on, but that proved rather inefficient so I am frequently hovering them by the heater. Yes, I am a wimp. The difference from the heat of Appalachia to the cool of Ecuador is humourous. Many of you are wondering about David and Julie’s luggage: it is in the country now and we hope to have it by this evening. They have been champs in dealing with this inconvenience, and it has set a great tone for the whole team.

This week in Ecuador, we are partnering with Reaching and Teaching International Ministries. Dr. David Sills is the leader of this organization. Some of you may remember that he was our keynote speaker at our 2015 Missions Conference. We are also partnering this week with Chris and Carol Sills [his son and daughter-in-law]. Chris and Carol are the local missionaries for this area. We are also working with two guys from Beeson Divinity School [a seminary in Birmingham], a pastor from Texas, and a math teacher from Kentucky. We have a main project here and a few side projects. The main focus of this trip is pastoral training. We have about 13 pastors and other men from the region here to be trained in another module of pastoral training. This module includes the HEART and a focus on the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization, the HEAD and a focus on church history from AD 0 to the present day, and the HANDS and a focus on the two ordinances of the church. David and Julie are exploring some potential projects that our church could send larger teams to assist with in the future, such as: building and construction, smaller construction projects, connecting with the community through backyard Bible club type events, and doing Bible studies for the women of the area and the wives of the pastors.

Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, “That is not what I read about missions work in the book of Acts.” To that, I say that you are correct. We are not going into synagogues and market squares and preaching the good news of Jesus and planting churches. That is not the point of these trips. As short-term mission trips, we would not be able to complete goals of this size in a single week.

This is the importance of year-round MISSIONS PARTNERS. When we left Appalachia and when we leave Tambo, the work doesn’t leave. This is because the Dublins and the Sills will have benefitted from our time here. Short term mission teams can help them do work in a week that they would not be able to complete for months otherwise. Short term teams also allow for their work to be multiplied during that time and free them up to continue building relationships that would not happen if they were always working in these other ways where we have helped. In addition, we are a huge encouragement to these missionaries. They are in cross-cultural contexts all the time and often they do not have opportunities to spend with other believers from their spiritual maturity level. We are a breath of fresh air to them and we are used by God to put wind back in their sails. By supporting them and their year-round mission work, we are technically participating in the total mission of God. We are glorifying God by making disciples of all nations.

Here is my challenge to you: START PREPARING NOW.

In a few weeks, we are going to be presenting trip reports to the church. You are going to hear about opportunities for future trips. You are going to think of other people that would be great for the trip. You may even see ways that you would be able to help on the trip. Start preparing now. Be praying for yourself and others to go on trips. Start reading the book of Acts now to capture a wider vision for Kingdom advancement. Start saving now to send yourself or another on a trip. Be diligent in fulfilling your commitment to the Missions First Offering. Start talking to those who have gone on trips about how you could fit into it. Start committing yourself to going next year. Don’t worry about the heat or cold, it isn’t that bad <grin>. If you are still worried about going on a trip, memorize these two verses of Scripture from Philippians 4, “6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
-Assoc Pastor Daustin