First, let me apologize for my lack of updating during the Cape Verde journey. My hope had been to update you at least a few more times but unfortunately, with the events of the journey coupled with the lack of good wifi, it became impossible to get a blog post out.
Let me give you a quick overview of the week since there were a few different components to this journey that lead into our activities. We were there to work with our ministry partner (Global Year) by training and encouraging their students while also working with a local church to train and mobilize their people into the harvest fields of their country.
The local church we worked with is already developing a “church planting” DNA so they had a total of 4 church plants with buildings and somewhere around 18 house churches. We were able to join many of these churches in their villages and neighborhoods throughout the week to provide training and then immediately put it into practice in the community. Most of the training was done in small groups by our NLGM team and then they took those small groups into the community to practice and provide any additional coaching that was needed. Many of our team did such an awesome job of training that they only had to model once or twice before the local believers completely took over sharing and discipling.
Some of the churches also have a preschool program offered during the week called “Proyecto Pepe” that is aimed at loving on the local kids in their neighborhoods. Our team helped a few mornings with this program to free up the teachers (and a GY student and NLGM team member) to go and visit the families of these kids. This was an awesome time of sharing the gospel of Jesus with these families and we were able to see many give their lives to Jesus and begin being discipled through this ministry.
Global Year is a “gap year” ministry that takes students 18-25 and places them in a country for 9 months to learn a new culture and language and truly seek God for the direction of their life. We worked with the 9 GY students living in Cape Verde this year to help them be multiplying disciple makers while they are there but also when they return home. We got the great privilege to do some “formal” training but also simply do life and ministry with these students. During the formal training, the students soaked up as much as they could and then immediately went out into their neighborhood to share. Throughout the rest of the week, many of our NLGM team joined individual students or small groups as they met with those that they are personally discipling. These are AWESOME students that are going to be greatly used in fulfilling the Great Commission.
In many ways it was an awesome journey, but I want to take a step back and address something that came up in a big way. You may have wondered what I meant when I used the ominous term “events of the journey” earlier. Without getting into the details, we had a team member get very sick a few hours BEFORE we landed in Cape Verde. They stayed in the hotel, were moved to the hospital, and eventually ended up being flown out for additional medical care. That meant two of our team (our ill teammate and our co-leader) “missed” the week in Cape Verde. This brings up what I want to address. When you are a part of short-term journeys you have to actively combat the notion that the mission is only accomplished on the journey. This is very far from the truth. In Acts 1:8 Jesus calls his disciples to be a witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. That wasn’t a list of exclusive places, but rather an all-inclusive invitation to be on mission every day and everywhere. My prayer for every team that journeys to another country, especially this team, is that they would learn what it means to truly live on mission. Jesus doesn’t desire our obedience for one week in a foreign land. He desires us. All of who we are.
Let’s not miss the ultimate mission. Jesus wants to use us to change the world!
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:26-40
Also, please be praying for my family next week. Abigail, Adaline, and I will be traveling to Bolivia on November 9-17 to set up future work in a new city and do leader training.