We have a new team member joining us! Below is a Michael’s story.
We all have someone we can point back to who inspired us in our journey to find meaning and purpose in life. Donald Kamese is without a doubt one of the people that I point to. My earliest memories of Donald involve a checkered board and his huge, gleaming smile. My dad met him on a short-term mission trip to Mexico in 2010 and the following year, in 2011, Donald came to stay at our house during his visit to the United States. I remember in my first impression of Donald, thinking that there was something special about him. I could see the joy of the Lord in his contagious smile. He was actually the first missionary that I’d ever met. As a teenager, I’d heard of people taking short-term mission trips, but I’d never really known of anyone who had answered the call to leave everything that they knew to make disciples in a foreign country. However, if you have ever met Donald, you would agree that he does not seem like someone who has lost his life but someone who has gained it. He boldly took Jesus at his word when he said, “…whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).
It wasn’t long before we discovered that we both enjoy a little friendly competition in the classic game of checkers. I remember we spent hours leaning over a checkered board in deep concentration carefully calculating our next moves to overtake the other. At the time it was just fun and games, but looking back I’ve discovered that these moments taught me something profound about Donald and what it takes to serve Christ and the Church overseas. To put it simply, I learned that every move matters. He counted the cost with every move and each match mattered to him as much as the last. I began to notice this was not because he hated to lose, but because he had built in his character the desire for excellence. With a simple game of checkers Donald was teaching me, whether he knew it or not, the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul when he wrote, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
As I count the cost of leaving the place I’ve called home, Houston, Texas, to serve the church in Tur’an, Israel, I constantly recall the impact Donald Kamese has had on me. He’s been an example of cheerful generosity and a source of encouragement throughout my journey of discovering who I am and what I’m called to do. Over the past two years, God has surpassed my wildest dreams and brought me to the Holy Land five times! I’ve been able to live in Nazareth, worship with the believers in Cana, and get to know many brothers and sisters who represent the very small population of Christians who remain in the Middle East. Next year I will assist the Pastor of Tur’an Baptist Church with the weekly duties of the church, help facilitate bible oriented language classes for the community and host the groups that come from around the world and stay in their guest house. “God so loved the world that he gave His only Son…” (John 3:16a). Out of love Donald cheerfully gives his life to serve the Mexican people in San Luis De La Paz. Out of love I too will cheerfully give my life to serve the church in Israel.