Monday, March 18, 2013

Today, Together, and To the End of the World


I love to travel and have been blessed by God to travel around this world more than once. It absolutely energizes me. As a wise saint once said, “I may get tired in the work, but never of the work.” I have collected treasured souvenirs in the many rich blessings that God has showered on me during my travels. Recently, I had the choice privilege of being in the International Baptist Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where pastor Miguel Núñez and his staff overwhelmed us with some of the warmest hospitality I have ever received. The godly and fervent worship in his church is unsurpassed by any I have known in any country. I had traveled to Santo Domingo with a team from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to participate in the Por Su Causa conference where our president, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. was speaking.

The beauty of this Caribbean paradise will take your breath away. (It was not lost on me that I was able to enjoy it by asking a colleague to substitute for me in New York City that weekend where the city was being battered by the worst snowstorm since 1978. The Lord is good!) The Dominican Republic’s kind people and rich history matched the beauty of the island. We were able to visit some of the historic sites in the city, settled by Christopher Columbus’s brother Bartholomew in 1498, making it the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the New World. You can imagine all of the pirate history, including the taking of the city at one point by none other than Sir Francis Drake. The Catholic Church there is the oldest in the Americas and we were able to go to the homes of Christopher Columbus and that of his son Diego who served as Governor of the Indies from there. The subsequent history of the country with seesaw political turnovers and coups makes the island even more fascinating to the history buff.

The most precious treasure I brought home from this trip was new friends and partners in Gospel ministry. Like the island, the conference itself was a gathering place of people from many countries and cultures. I met a dear brother from Havana whose son I had taught in a Cuban seminary years before (small world!), a brother from Puerto Rico who lives in the States now but ministers often in El Salvador, and Dominican brothers and sisters who long to link arms in ministry. I look back over my journal and smile to think of new friends and co-ministers such as Felipe, Otto, Oskar, and on and on. Indeed, Reaching & Teaching International Ministries has already planned our first pastoral training program in the Dominican Republic, launching a three-year institute in May. Others I met on this trip will join Reaching & Teaching and travel to the jungles of Peru in July to help train pastors and leaders there. I love to see the Holy Spirit morphing the mission field into a mission force and I pray He will always use me to help facilitate that.

The entire world is the Lord’s and He has people in every corner of it. As we embrace others who share our passion for missions, we at Reaching & Teaching find that we are like one of those airline route maps that you see in in-flight magazines. You know . . . those that show all the routes that their airline travels, launching from the hub and touching down in far-flung places, only to take off again and land in other places further still. Some airlines have partner airlines that share corporate mission statements and values, allowing them to do more together than any of them could do alone. That is how we work at Reaching & Teaching International Ministries. Looking at our website to see where we are working is only the beginning of the story. Our map of “flight routes” shows where we are going, but we are launching from there with others we meet and helping them go where God calls them, creating a synergy in which the work we are able to accomplish together is infinitely greater than the sum of the parts. God is doing the work and we are joining Him, and helping others to do the same. If you are burdened to reach and teach others and prepare biblically qualified leadership for Christ’s church around the world, email me. It doesn’t matter whether you represent yourself, your church, or your mission agency. Let’s leave logos and egos at the door and work together to reach and teach God’s world, doing His will His way. When? How? Where? Today, together, and to the end of the world. 

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