We all hear about mission trips that people go on and often times we hear about the wonderful and life-changing experiences people have when they go and serve. The following e-mail from Joe Jacob talks about his experience as he gets ready to go on his mission trip to Haiti in October of this year. I love how he walks us through the journey he and his wife, Lynn, are on as they continue to prepare for this transformational mission to help those whose lives have been turned upside down.
Hi! As promised, here’s my first update to you regarding our Haiti Mission Trip this October 22-29, 2011. You’re receiving this e-mail because you’ve offered to support me either financially, with your prayers, and/or with your encouragement…any or all of the above!
Please consider yourself a partner in this endeavor. I really mean this: What you are providing to make this possible is perhaps much more than you realize. My mission team and I are understanding this more and more as we meet regularly to equip ourselves…I discuss this further below in What can I pray for?
In this update…
- The book that motivated me to finally answer this call to serve
- Mission of Hope Haiti website
- What can I pray for?
- Highlights of upcoming updates
The book that motivated me to finally answer this call to serve
Six years ago, while Lynn & I were still living in northern Wisconsin, I was led to a book called The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Many of you know this book, of course. Reading it daily, for forty days as suggested, I very quickly returned to reading my Bible and ultimately returned to Jesus, after THIRTY ONE YEARS of having slipped away. Is God patient and persistent, or what?
Anyway, there’s a chapter in Purpose Driven Life about short-term mission trips. I won’t get into the details of the chapter (please explore this book yourself, if you haven’t done so…you will be hugely blessed!). That summer in 2005, God placed a burden on my heart to “someday” serve on short-term mission trips…and that burden grew over the next six years.
BUT…The Purpose Driven Life is not what ultimately led me to finally take the step in faith to serve. It was another book that has been widely quoted by many of our leaders at Kensington Church, and I recommend it highly to you, whether you are a follower of Jesus or not.
Here it is: The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. Richard Stearns’ story in the first few chapters is incredible, from a wealthy luxury goods CEO to president of one of the most important worldwide ministries of our time.
Stearns’ front-line, eyewitness anecdotes of global hunger, poverty, disease, and injustice will break your heart over and over again…but he also provides lots and lots of encouraging, hopeful solutions.
Stearns addresses and offers these solutions at a very personal level, recognizing that people are often overwhelmed by the enormity of these issues and feel hopeless (so do very little or nothing), noting how individuals collectively can and are changing our world for Christ. Folks, this book describes, page after page, what Christianity is truly all about, being the “hands and feet of Jesus.”
Like I mentioned above, The Hole in Our Gospel is what motivated me, once and for all, to get going with pursuing short-term mission trips, after years of sitting on the fence and “waiting” for God’s call.
Mission of Hope website
Speaking of websites, have you also checked out Mission of Hope’s website? This is where we’re staying in Haiti; it’s loaded with information and pictures!
What can I pray for?
You’ve offered to pray for me, for my team, and for our trip…but are there specific prayer needs?
Oh yes, there are, and here’s an immediate one: As you may expect, when we are called to serve, we ALL encounter all kinds of hurdles, doubts, and discouragement that can easily throw us off course and even turn us away, if we don’t have the protection of our Lord…and that where we all really, really need your prayers.
Here’s how important you are to me (and Lynn can verify this, repeatedly!): Whenever I become doubtful about my calling and pray about this discouragement, I am instantly reminded of YOU – that you have supported me financially, with your prayers, & with your encouragement, however you have been led…in other words, with your love.
With this reminder, my doubts and discouragement disappear immediately. Thank you again…what you have done has built my faith even more, Lynn’s faith, and everyone else that we’ve told about how you have responded. Amen.
Highlights of upcoming updates
OK, what can you expect in the next few weeks?
My thoughts about another terrific book from an author who founded a church in Charlotte, North Carolina a few years ago, which grew from seven families to over 10,000 who attend weekly (and this is not a “touchy-feely-feelgood church” by any means!). He spoke recently at the 2011 Global Leadership Summit, which Lynn and I attended. He’s an incredible speaker, an incredible father and husband, an incredible leader, and an incredible pastor of an incredible, Bible-based church community . . . and he’s just 30 years old!
I’ll also cover what we’re doing at our upcoming meetings, as well as our serving day on October 1st at Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac.
Wow, we’re all connecting and getting to know each other in our group…and by serving together, working alongside and sweating together, it’s yet another terrific way to become even closer and tighter as a team…and hopefully, to be a blessing to those we serve at Grace Centers, too!
Please contact me anytime if you have questions…I’m blessed to have you as a mission trip partner! Take care…Joe
What an amazing story on how God has worked in Joe and Lynn’s life to prepare them for this trip in October. I’m looking forward to sharing in this journey with them and their team and can’t wait to hear about the impact the people of Haiti and God will have on their lives when the return.
If you are at all interested in Kensington short term mission trips, you can find out more information by CLICKING HERE.