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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Faithful Servants

Like this swollen stream, so is my heart ~ 
Gushing, pouring over, overflowing with God's goodness.
Photo taken by Daniel Petersen, one of the teens at the MTR
On December 2nd, my husband and I boarded a plane and headed to the airport in Bilbao, Spain. From there we rode another hour or so to attend the Mission Teen Retreat at a farmhouse in the Basque region.  It is a place that is cold to the Gospel, being entrenched in Catholicism.  Works and religion are the words of their beliefs ~ no grace here, only fear and hopes for the life after this one.

This computer screen on the airplane allowed us to map our route as we flew!

My husband was asked to be the speaker at the retreat for the twenty-some teens that attended. The teens came from homes of missionaries and they live all over Europe, Mexico and also the island of Yap. The were attending to be encouraged with the fellowship of other missionary teens, have the opportunity to be challenged by the Word of God, and serve in the church in Spain on Sunday.  I got to challenge the teen girls one day, share a missionary story each night to the whole group, and I was able to speak to the ladies in the Spanish church.  To serve in these ways were blessings beyond compare!

But the biggest blessing of traveling to Spain to be with our missionaries was getting a feel for what they experience day to day and to see their faithful service to the Lord.  To be one of few Americans in their small towns, and of fewer Christians, is difficult.  They are outsiders.  They are watched and critiqued by the people who are native Spaniards.  The language can be challenging, the demands grueling and the fruits disheartening.  But they labor on, knowing that it is the Lord Who gives the increase.  They are always on the lookout for opportunities to reach out to those around them.  Their doors open easily to those lost in religion.  They welcome them into their homes ~ and into a personal relationship with their Savior.

As lush as the hillsides and mountains surrounding them, these missionaries see the timeliness of their ministry there and of the need to use every moment wisely for eternity's sake.

Though they grew weary through the ten days we were there, they pressed on, going in the strength of the Lord, never uttering a complaint.  They were a blessing to me ~ over and over again!

This morning as I bowed my head to pray for these precious servants, I couldn't help but weep as I thanked God for their faithfulness and for the opportunity to serve a short time with them.  I prayed with far more understanding of their needs than I had before our trip.  I prayed specifically for their neighbors and others they had mentioned.  I am home, and I have brought a bit of Spain back with me - it's in my heart as I pray and hold these dear folks up before the Throne of Grace.  They have a difficult task and they need our prayers so much.

If you and I are not careful, we can smile as we drop our Faith Promise offering into the plate, nod with joy as we hear the missionary letter being read, and pat on the back those servants who visit us while home on furlough.  We smile because we count those deeds as "our part in missions."  But I've realized even more after being on a foreign field how great a responsibility each one of us believers has right here in the USA. There are people all around us who need Christ, and we speak their language!  We know their culture!  We don't have to take a ten hour flight to get to them.  They are next door, behind us at the store, and seated next to us at the doctor's office.

I make excuses too often.  I mutter to myself, "They don't want to be bothered right now."  "What will they think if I just start talking to them?" "I'm not sure how to get started."  I have no excuses, only a responsibility - and that is to be a faithful servant as well to the task Christ left for us.

How about you...are you serving faithfully where God has placed you?  Spain is beautiful, but there's no prettier place than where you share the Gospel with a lost soul!  Let's be faithful in sharing the Good News right where we are!

With love,


Hazel said...

I understand this so well after traveling to Mexico with Julia Garst! It was an eye opening experience that I will never forget and am thankful God allowed me this experience.

Denise said...

Glad you got to go!