Do you ever put yourself in situations, knowing that if God does not come through for you, you will be in big trouble? How about trusting God to provide food and shelter for you in a strange land, knowing that if He does not arrive on the scene to care for you, you may end up going hungry and homeless for the next 24 hours?
Every year our Vida team leads a missions training camp called Luke 10 in Action. This camp is designed to give opportunity for participants to test the simpleness and reality of missionary life. This particular outreach also provides them with a deeper understanding of what it means to choose a radical life for God by stepping out of one’s comfort zone into the swirling waves of water-walking faith. During the first week of the camp, we study Luke Chapter 10, along with other topics like spiritual warfare, world views, and teamwork. The following week, we send the participants into the surrounding area with the goal of finding a “son or daughter of peace” (as Jesus describes in Luke 10). The indications of such persons are:
– They must receive the word of God.
– They must receive our participants.
– They must provide food and shelter for our participants.
As our missionaries in training are received with hospitality, they are encouraged to stay with the people who welcome them and to help out in any way needed. They are also to eat whatever food is provided for them and to sleep in the accommodations they are offered.
This year we decided to hold the event here in San Luis de la Paz. We had thirteen teams – more than double from last year’s outreach!. The participants came from both ends of the Mexican border, some from the far north of Baja California, and others from the southern state of Oaxaca. Each of these participants helped make contacts with people with whom we will be following up for discipleship purposes.
Here is just one story from team members Jose and Toño, showing how God was at work:
As we arrived in the district, we roamed about the village, looking for opportunities to share the gospel with others and so to find a “man of peace.” As we walked, we came across a guy with a backpack who did not seem that pleased to see us. He quickly asked,“Are you selling or buying?”
We replied, “Neither of the two. We are not into drugs, but into something much more than that. We are sharing God’s story. Would you like to hear it?” The guy nodded and sat down to listen.
As we shared, the man listened to our story with much personal reflection. He confessed to being a drug dealer in the area, then he pulled a New Testament from his bag filled with drugs and told us that he had tried to seek God through reading the Bible, but without much success. “Please pray for me,” he said, “so I can be obedient to God and not remain a slave to this life.”
After we prayed with him, as a sign of loyalty to us, the man extended his protection. “If anyone tries to mess with you while you are around here, let them know you know me.
We answered, “God’s protection is all around us, but thank you.”
That very day, we entered a house and began to share God’s story with a family. As we shared, one of the family members arrived and started shouting. He angrily questioned us several times, “What do you want here?”
We responded that we were sharing God’s word, yet the man continued to challenge us, growing more fierce and becoming increasingly agitated. Finally, he pulled out a pistol and pointed it in our faces! From that point, we decided not to answer his questions, but instead to pray silently and continue to share the story with him and his family members. As we shared the gospel, the man slowly lowered his gun and began listening. He later confessed to us that he had recently shot and killed a couple of people, but while we were sharing, he realized the life he led was not right.
Surprisingly, he invited us to return every day we remained in his district so he could hear more of God’s word. He and his family are now being followed up by one of our missionary partners who lives in the area.
Time and space will not permit sharing stories of all the participants. Some spent all five days in the streets. Some went hungry for a few days. Some were put up comfortably in luxury guest suites. Others were frustrated by their team mates and felt responsible for personality clashes happening between them. Still others, despite being confronted or chased out of the districts, came back rejoicing and reporting of God’s goodness, protection, and provision. All came back joyously glorifying God for the opportunity presented to them in focusing on the sake of the cross instead of their own selfish desires. With the heart of Luke 10, they all long to see the kingdom of God expand here on earth.
Please pray for everyone who heard the word of God shared with them through this outreach. Please also pray that the passion God ignited in the participants through this experience will not cease after the training, but that these servants will continue to grow and reach out to their communities through the days and weeks ahead.