(It’s an exciting time of year as students from around the country prepare to serve God all over the planet. I originally wrote this letter for our Epic Movement [Cru’s Asian American ministry] summer project students, but I wanted to share the contents with all of you who are trusting God with the upcoming summer. I hope that you'll be encouraged.)
Dear Summer Mission Project Participants,
Each of you has a different story of how God led you to apply and how you ended up here at project briefing preparing to embark on an international summer mission project with Epic. I have to be honest. I'd give a kidney to jump on an airplane and join you and your team.
God has used these past several months to prepare your hearts for the task ahead. And just like how it felt to prepare to attend college--all the books/blogs you read, the stories you heard, even the campus visit you might have taken--all those things could not and did not capture the experience of actually being a college student and attending classes, living in the dorms, etc.
Our staff have drawn from their past missions experiences to come up with helpful content, but actually arriving in country and walking the streets, breathing the air, smelling the smells--that's when the change begins. The next six weeks will grow you and transform you as you experience life and dependence on the Lord with your team.
I've been reading through the "One Year Chronological Bible" this year. I'm currently camped out in the time of the prophet Elisha in 2 Kings. I was reading this morning and wanted to share a few thoughts as it seemed to pertain to God, missions, perspective and stuff I would share with you over a cup of coffee if time allowed.
▪ 2 Kings 6:8-23 Elisha is in the city of Dothan, surrounded by a great army ready to take him out. His servant sees the troops, horses and chariots everywhere and freaks out, "Ah, my lord, what will we do now?" Elisha responds, "Don't be afraid. For there are more on our side than on theirs." And Elisha prays for God to open the eyes of his servant to see what was really going on...The LORD opens his eyes and he sees the hillside was filled with horses and chariots of fire....
Remember: you are not alone. God has got your back. People back home are praying for you. There are spiritual forces at work all around you that our human eyes cannot see. You and your team plus God is greater than any earthly opposition.
▪ 2 Kings 7:3-11 Four lepers are starving because of a great famine that has taken over the land. They decide to go and surrender to their enemy, the Aramean army, because they figure they have nothing to lose. Turns out the army abandoned their camp and the lepers have a heyday going from tent to tent eating and plundering. They realize they can't keep this good fortune to themselves. They return to the city and God provides for all the people from an unlikely source.
Remember: you and I are poor lepers who have found the True Bread and Living Water. We cannot keep the One who is the true treasure to ourselves. He has the Words of Eternal Life. Sharing our lives, sharing our stories, sharing the Gospel is one humble beggar who has discovered unlimited resources pointing another humble beggar where to find Food. Keep an attitude of humility and point people to Jesus, not the Christian life or a moral ethical code, but to Him who is Life.
▪ 2 Kings 8:1-6 Earlier in 2 Kings (2 Kings 4:8-37) Elisha becomes friends with a woman from Shunem. He performs a miracle and brings her boy back to life. In this chapter Elisha instructs them to leave to the land of the Philistines because of the famine. They are gone seven years. She returns back to Israel, hoping to get her house and land back. The king had been talking to his servant about Elisha and the woman and her son appear at that exact moment to confirm the story of the son. Not only is her land restored, the king also compensates her for the value of the crops that had been harvested during her absence.
Remember: there are no accidents. God has determined the exact places we should live (Acts 17:26). As you engage in conversations, know that God has been orchestrating events before you arrive on the scene. Also remember: you can never out-give God. He is able to provide from unexpected places in unexpected ways. Seek Him first.
I'm so excited for all God will do in you and through you. I will be joining so many who are praying for you and look forward to seeing you back on this side of the ocean.
Proud of you, excited for you, expectant with you,
*connect with Vivian on Twitter/Instagram: @vivmabuni or on her website www.vivianmabuni.com
Photo courtesy of Liz West (Flickr Creative Commons).
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