Wow, I can't believe that it was over eight months ago since I last blogged on Mongolia. Then I didn't know when, or if, I would actually be going to Mongolia. Now I know that I leave in about four weeks for 17 days! As the trip approaches, I find myself praying about the purpose of my visit. I wrote this in my last post:
I am convinced that God wants me to go for a number of reasons:
1. I believe it is important that I be stretched and challenged by the Lord to keep the church healthy.
2. I believe it is important that Valley Baptist Church continually look outward. I don't want the church to become inward focused. The Lord told us to share the Good News with the world and we should!
3. I believe my trip out to Mongolia will be a great encouragement to the family serving there. So often people go overseas in service of the Lord only to find their supporters have forgotten about them. I want our family to know that we really do stand behind them.
4. I am planning on bringing two younger guys with me on the trip this first time. I think this will be a great experience for them to grow.
I will comment on these reasons, in the order of importance as I see them today. I love looking back and seeing how God comforts us and adjusts our way of viewing things over time.
1. Funny, my number "3" reason has become my number "1" reason for visiting Mongolia. I think I have learned a thing or two about supporting someone in ministry by those who have supported me through my journey in restarting Valley Baptist Church. The family serving in Mongolia have been on my heart since I came to VBC.
As the church grows and matures, I strongly desire to increase the level of support to this family (although I don't know what this looks like). The one passage that continues to burn in my heart concerning Mongolia is Romans 1:11-12. I truly feel that my role is to encourage this family, but I am also convinced that they will encourage me in ways I don't see yet.
2. My second reason seems to be a combination of my previous "1" and "2" reasons. The last 2 1/2 years have been pretty full speed ahead for me. While life is never the same, it is easy to grow comfortable with a routine. Unfortunately, this can result in dullness in our relationship with God--sometimes without us even noticing. Now, I don't feel like I my relationship is dull with God, but I feel like God has more for me with Him! I have no idea what God is going to teach me through this journey, but something will. I am so thankful for this opportunity go to Mongolia--thank you for supporting us!
As the leader of the church, I feel that my walk with God is critical for the health of the church. I believe that leaders are to lead from the front (blame it on my SEAL team days), not from the rear. Jeff Harris, a friend of mind through seminary, shared with me how his church encourages the members to do a local mission trip every year (like to Mexico for us on the border states) and to take an overseas mission trip every five years. When he said this to me, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to encourage my church to do! I hope we at Valley Baptist Church grow our passion for international missions in the years to come by actually going! I am convinced that if this passion is going to exist, I have to be willing to lead by example. I trust my trip to Mongolia will help fan this flame....which leads to my last point.
3. Well, the Lord led me to a "younger guy" who is actually older than me! As things started to come together, Richard Erler sort of surfaced and expressed an interest in going--well, I think I asked him, but he was totally game! I am excited to see how God uses this experience in his life. I am certain he is going to be changed as he travels overseas for the first time in his life.
We cherish your prayers. I am sure more posts will follow concerning this subject...