Here is the most recent Blueprint!
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Hey y’all — Emily D here again.
This trip was a really good trip – not at ALL what I was expecting, but when is a mission trip ever what you expect? (Unless you’ve been there multiple times… but even then!!)
We did many things throughout the week… we would do community projects – like picking up trash in the park or pulling weeds at an old established church. We all had matching t-shirts — for 2 days of this – so older people would point this out and ask what we were doing – this presented a good opportunity for whomever the person asked. We would hang out in a park right across from the Bed & Breakfast where we were staying — seeing if we couldn’t strike up a conversation with somebody.
We also did a whooooole lot of praying & prayer walking. I believe this was a MAJOR part of what we were doing… without it, I doubt anything would have happened at all…. this sort of thing is something that God has to do, alone…. we are just along for the ride. (Which, is true of missions in general, but in this context it’s felt a bit more. People aren’t as open to just talking to anyone here – like at home -… you have to have a reason to speak.)
By Saturday – things were moving along well. We talked to quite a few people – probably at least 15 or so as a group. I was getting a bit discouraged at this time, because I hadn’t spoken to ANYONE yet, and our trip was coming to a close. This whole time I had been praying that God would send someone for me to talk to – to share the Gospel with. For the first half of the day, everyone I said hello to — only spoke French… and I can’t really do more than greet people and ask if they speak English, in French – much less have a full on Gospel presentation.
After spending the morning sort of discouraged, the ladies (5 of us including 1 under 18) split off from the park and went down a little bit to see if we could meet some people in the shops & surrounding areas. We met one lady from Venezuela – named Gabrielle (pronounced with a heavy French accent) – We weren’t able to share the Gospel with her, but we were able to talk for a bit & invite her to a church plant (Renaissance Church) here in Little Burgundy (which is a neighborhood in the larger city Montreal — Sort of like the Highlands or St. Matthews in Louisville – same idea). She asked that we pray for her family & her business. She doesn’t really go to church… she used to be Catholic when she lived in Venezuela… she didn’t really seem to claim it anymore.
Then we split off into pairs… divide & conquer sort of thing. So Bethany & I went off… and we passed a few shops, went into one or two…. no luck starting up a conversation… THEN we passed by a park. There was an older lady sitting in a chair (that was just sort of provided by this park area). She had a book but as we approached she put it down and watched us… I greeted her in French, she started talking… I promptly asked if she spoke English… and Oh. My. Word… yes, she did. I was so happy. haha. We talked about several things…. Her former job & now retirement, cats (which was great… because I got to show off my kitty cat), and sort of segued into the Gospel & visiting the church plant. Just being able to share with her was a breath of fresh air — but she told us she didn’t believe in God — that she grew up catholic and was catholic for awhile because her parents were… but once they passed on she dropped it. She said she respected people who do believe & thought we were doing a good thing — and was curious about what we were doing. We gave her a business card & explained where the gathering met, she thanked us and we went on our way. Her name is Carol (Also pronounced with a very thick French accent… and yes, she laughed when we tried. Indiana/Kentucky accents & French don’t really mix that well. ha).
Carol didn’t show this morning… nor did Gabrielle…. there was one visitor they had besides our team, but he was a believer & goes back and forth from here to St. Louis, MO for work… African, but has family here in Montreal.
Each of us on this trip (9 of us) had many conversations like the ones I described. Aaron & Samantha (the church planters) have many teams lined up to do the sort of thing we did this week all summer. Please keep them in your prayers – their church planting team, Renaissance Church, and everyone we talked to – and those that future teams will talk to. Pray that God will open doors in this mostly lost community (I believe it was around 95% or higher?).
I also want to take this time to remind y’all about our own communities — and think how many lost people there are in our own cities & towns. Montreal is not very different than say… Louisville, KY… just a slightly different context. Be praying that God would give you opportunities to speak & ask that He would give you boldness to share the Gospel…. because the Gospel is REALLY IMPORTANT. 😉
THANK YOU for the prayers for this trip & for for sending us!!! It makes a BIG difference.
We will be back in Louisville, Lord willing, around noon Monday. Looking forward to being with y’all soon!
Hey Y’all, Emily D here.
Wanted to let y’all know that we all made it SAFE & sound to Montreal last night. We’re staying in a bed & breakfast in Little Burgundy. Today (Thursday) was just sort of our introductory day, so not much happened – although there were a few conversations that we were able to have. Aaron (missionary on the ground here) gave us an overall tour & showed us where Renaissance church meets (the church plant). After lunch we hung out in the park & a few of us did some prayer walking around the area.
Montreal is very secular — more so than our context in the States in general. It’s a lot harder to start Gospel conversations here. There seems to be more of a European type culture. People are less open even to just saying “Hi” as you pass down the street. There are so many nations represented here as well. So many, that I lost track of just how many. There seems to be a large Muslim presence here alongside the general secularism.
We still met some people & had conversations, and we are thankful for all we met so we can pray for them.
Aaron mentioned that while we don’t really see it as well back in the states — no spiritual door opens here (in Montreal) without prayer. PLEASE pray for opportunities for us to speak about spiritual things with people. Pray that God will open many doors & call HIS sheep from Montreal… because we know they’re here! Also, remember to keep the Boswell’s (missionaries that are here) in your prayers as well – as well as the coming teams & interns who will be here after we leave here.
More later!! Be sure to check back!
Here is the most recent Blueprint!
In the summer of 2010, my wife, our two children, and I traveled to the African continent for the first time and spent eleven weeks in the countries of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. For more than six of those weeks, we lived with a missionary couple, Bob and Pam Brownfield, who had served for fifteen years among the Lomwe people of Malawi. These veteran missionaries were in a time of major transition, both in their family and their ministry. First, they were about to become “empty-nesters” as their youngest son prepared to leave Africa and move to Auburn, Alabama, where he would pursue his college degree. Also, after a long and fruitful ministry in Malawi, the Brownfields had sensed God leading them to relocate east to Mozambique, where they would engage the Lomwe people in that country with the gospel. During our time with Bob and Pam, we traveled back and forth between Malawi and Mozambique as they said their “goodbyes” to the Malawian churches and then explored the people and the area they would serve in the coming years. While these major changes were taking place in their lives, this missionary couple had the Vickerys (first-timers in Africa who brought with them a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy) tagging along with them everywhere they went… for more than six weeks. More than once I wondered, “What were they thinking when they agreed to have us come out to be with them?”
When I returned from Africa, I would enter my final year in seminary. God had revealed his call on me to pastor a local church in the United States and to lead that church to faithfully pray, give, and go for the spread of his glorious gospel to all nations. With that call in mind and as our month and a half with Bob and Pam Brownfield drew to its end, I asked them a question that had been bouncing around in my head for some time. What I wanted to hear, from a veteran long-term missionary, was this: “What are the benefits to churches sending short-term mission teams?” After carrying us around with them for weeks, I wondered if the answer might be, “I can’t think of any…” But that was not their answer at all.
Why send short-term mission teams? These are the answers from a veteran long-term missionary:
1) God uses short-term trips to expand the worldview of American church members. The worldview of those who go on the trips are obviously expanded as they experience cultures so different from their own and minister the gospel among other people groups. But this worldview expansion also spreads throughout the entire local church as team members come back and report on the work. This increased and direct exposure motivates more faithful praying and sacrificial giving for the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth.
2) God uses short-term teams to reinforce and supplement the long-term missionary’s teaching. Bob and Pam compared this benefit to that of Sunday School teachers for children in a local church. Parents faithfully teach their children and then, when a Sunday School teacher teaches the same truths, it reinforces the teaching in the children’s lives. In the same way, a long-term missionary labors day in and day out among a people group, and when a short-term team comes and teaches the same truths, it helps to solidify the teaching in the lives of the people. Also, the short-term team may be brought in to teach on topics that the long-term missionary simply has not yet addressed.
3) When a church is committed to sending teams repeatedly to a particular people group and place, it shows the steadfast love of Christ. This investment in that people group communicates a dedicated affection for them. When short-term teams come and work alongside the long-term missionary and simply love the people, the missionary’s reputation among the people is strengthened. The people will say, “Bob and Pam bring people here who love us and teach us. They come back again and again.” This investment strengthens the long-term missionary’s ministry.
4) God uses short-term teams to encourage the long-term missionary. Even if for a short time, the companionship and fellowship that short-term teams bring to the missionary on the field is like rocket fuel for their ministry tank. In this way also, the investment strengthens the long-term missionary’s ministry.
I must admit that when I heard Bob and Pam voice that fourth benefit, I wondered how much of an encouragement I and my family had been to them for those six-plus weeks. But then, they spoke of how our being with them had helped them to navigate that transition time of their “nest” being emptied and their leaving the Malawi churches they loved so dearly. It turns out that having two first-timers in Africa with their two small children running crazily about for those weeks had been less of a burden and more of an encouragement than I thought. I was reminded that God moves his people about in this world for his mission, for his glory, and for the good of his people. We are to simply follow where he leads.
There are likely more benefits to short-term teams, but these are four that were given to me by two veteran long-term missionaries in the summer of 2010.
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