Key elements for mission work

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, July 4, 2019

Mary Ella and I have just flown back from Phoenix, Arizona after two weeks on the Navajo Reservation where we helped the Blue Gap Church remodel their kitchen. Charles and Verna Dennis had given them a stove, refrigerator and hot water tank before he died, and we were there to finish what they started. 

Over the past few years, several mission teams from South Georgia had remodeled and doubled the size of their fellowship hall and our project will complete the transformation. The church had taken everything out of the old kitchen and together we cleaned the ceiling and floor and walls. Then we painted the ceiling and walls and laid tile on the floor. 

One day we drove the 294 mile round trip to the nearest Lowe’s in Farmington, New Mexico, to buy the plumbing and electrical materials we needed to install the appliances. We also bought a freezer and another stove to match the one they had (giving them nine burners and two ovens). After we left, they’ll install the appliances and cabinets, and we’ll go back this fall to dedicate the fellowship hall and kitchen in memory of Charles Dennis and Dorinda Whatley.

I read somewhere about the three key elements necessary for missionaries and mission teams: passion, purity and power.

From Luke 10: “He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

Passion says this is something you can’t not do. I’ve heard people say they always enjoy coming home. When we land in Phoenix or Albuquerque, we say, “We’re home.” And when we land in Atlanta or Tallahassee, we say “We’re home.” Maybe you’ll understand if I tell you, home is where God has called you to be for a period of time.

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 

Purity says you can destroy all your work with one ethical or moral failing. We can’t speak the language, although we can sing one song in Navajo. We don’t really know all their customs and have probably made some mistakes along the way, but we know we have to be ourselves. We have to be honest. We have to be real. We have to be servants, or we’ll lose our relationship with them.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

And power says you can’t control everything during your trip, but God can. We’re talking about “signs and wonders” at Woodland & Bold Springs UMC, and you can’t “do missions” without God’s help. He sets our agenda and makes all the pieces fall into place.