Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”. James 2:5 NKJV
Over the last 29 years paste Deb and I have taken kids, youth, and adults on short-term mission trips to Reynosa, Mexico. The group always experiences a wonderful and new culture. They see first-hand the pressing needs, and the joyful spirits of those who were less fortunate than them. Truth be told, we all knew they were ministering to us more than us to them.
While on our bus ride home, we all made a vow that went something like this:
“No more complaining - ever! I will support missions forever! My attitude will change to be the servant, instead of seeking to be served!” I will continue to do daily devotions and Scripture memory.”
Sadly, that tends to last about two weeks for some. The entitlement culture soon swallows their enthusiasm, and they return to similar lifestyles. Others make it a lifelong learning experience that changes them forever.
I would highly recommend taking your family to Mission Mexico or one of the other CROSSROADS mission experiences. I have some observations that may help us to remember why Mission experiences matter.
1. Awareness. The poor are everywhere. Jesus said, “the poor will always be with you.” (Mark 14:7). There is always a needy person around us if we look hard enough. Mission Trips can help us see the needy around us. Let’s start loving the poor right outside our doors and in our city.
2. Attitude. The poor can be rich, in faith. "Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" James 2:5 (NIV). "Poor" children are playing with sticks in the dirt and are happy. "Rich" kids are playing with X-boxes, iPads, and social media, then find that they are depressed and bored. Those financially disadvantaged choose to believe God’s word and trust God even while they are suffering. They are hungry for God and joyfully celebrate their faith! We can learn a lot from them.
3. Worship. Those with less resources love to attend church. It is their social connection, their family, their entertainment, and most-treasured time with God. They love to worship and dance before the Lord. They are not in a hurry to get home and watch sports. Their church services are long and frequent. They celebrate Christian community often better than more affluent churches.
4. Gratitude. The poor are grateful. In the midst of their hardships, they choose to thank God and others.. They find both great joy and tears in the presence of the Lord, and they wholly give themselves to unhindered times of worship and thanksgiving. These things fill them more than money ever could.
5. Prayer. Those we meet in the mission field love to pray. They close their eyes, open their mouths, and begin to publicly, and loudly express, their needs to God. They have found the joy of praising and praying at all times.
6. Evangelism. Those with the least material possessions love to tell others about Jesus. They are not ashamed of the gospel, for the gospel is LIFE to them. Jesus is the best thing in their lives! They will joyfully and openly talk about it; it is not just a Sunday-religion to them. It is personal, but not private. Jesus is their life!
I may have more money than some, but many of them are richer than me because of their faith. Those I spend time with in Mexico are my spiritual heroes. I need to keep learning from them, because as they influence me, I can
better influence others.
In Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Paul Marzahn
We will be taking registrations early for Mission Mexico and doing some fundraisers to scholarship those who can’t afford to attend. Don’t miss out on this life changing opportunity for you or your family. Go to the Crossroads Church webpage to register. The cost is $500 for CROSSROADS members and $600 for non-church members.