July 4th marks America’s Independence Day and is typically celebrated with a day off from work, great food, friends, and fire works. I (Chris) have wonderful memories of past July 4th’s but 2011 will be special for me because I felt the power of prayer and God’s smile.
Numerous people have heard our story and the journey God is leading us on and know that our former student pastor, Cory, led us on our first trip to Ghana. He is now the student pastor at Riverstone Church in Kennesaw, Georgia. Every year he leads a week long summer camp for around 400 middle & high school, and college age students from that church and this year he invited our family to experience their kick-off Sunday worship and then tell our story the following day as a way of encouraging the students to begin thinking about taking the Gospel to the nations so all nations may worship Jesus as Lord.
However, it was they who encouraged us. Once I finished sharing our story, Cory invited the students to pray for us, and then he invited students to come up onto the stage, lay hands on us and pray. It was beautiful to hear all the voices at once lifting up prayers to God for our family and ministry. Four hundred separate voices assimilated into one voice of prayer and praise. Yes, we were encouraged!
The encouragement didn’t end there. Several of the college aged students then also encouraged us by their words but none so powerful as the young lady that smiled at us and commented how thrilled she was that we were going to do something desperately needed by missionaries on the field. Her family, missionaries in Japan, were affected and hampered by short-term teams that came into that culture and caused the “train-wreck” in relationships. That wasn’t their intention but a lack of cultural understanding adding to the pride of “we know how to do this” simply wreaks havoc. Training is key to success.
We will be training and leading short-term teams to Ghana. And by God’s grace we will do it well so that the ultimate purpose of the nations worshipping Jesus will take place soon.