Thursday, July 17, 2008

"You Never Know Why You're Alive..."


"until you know what you would die for."
"I Would Die for You" Lyrics by MercyMe

If you are not familiar with the mission motivating song "I Would Die For You", the line from the chorus may stir your spirit. It ignites mine! Granted, they frighten me as well, given the experiences I have had in the mission field. I will never forget the very dark night in China after my friend had been deliberately targeted and run down by an automobile that I asked (okay yelled) at the Father "why?" to which the Spirit replied, "you are willing to die - but you are not willing to see someone you care about hurt for My Name's Sake?"

When I travel down mountain roads in third worlds at a rate of speed that causes my heart to race faster than the dangerous wheels that are carrying me - I calm myself with the joke, "I AM willing to die Lord, but maimed we are going to have to discuss." Frequently heavenward negotiations are involved when danger or fear erupts in our hearts. Real or imagined - we really don't want to suffer, experience pain or be out of control of any given situation.

In 2000, after a particularly emotional mission trip in war torn Bosnia , I was ready to leave the mission field. But one of the members of the team, upon hearing of my soul sickness recommended I read Don Richardson's "The Peace Child." It recounts his story of taking his family into Indonesia to live among a tribe of head-hunting cannibals. When he arrived with his wife and baby son, they were met by the tribesmen with war-painted bodies and spears held high. Immediately, he felt the presence of Jesus confront him and say, "Missionary, why are you here?" Peace that passes all understanding came over him as he answered, "Lord, I am here to tell them about You, and I am prepared to die to do it." From that moment on, while they were in many grave and life-threatening situations, he never doubted his mission, his call, or his God.

The baby he carried into the jungle (Steve Richardson) is now president of one of the largest mission organizations in the world (Pioneers). I had the great honor to sit next to him at a mission conference and tell him how his story kept me in the mission field, and keeps me going.

I share this bit of mission "history" to remind you part of the largeness of "His-story". There will be a day we will each have (on the other side) when someone will approach us to thank us for the life we have led, the way we faithfully followed, and how our obedience to stay the course, changed their life. Your "sending", your "praying", your "providing" is part of "His-story" in Kenya, in Ghana, in Tanzania, in India, in China, in Bosnia, in Israel, in Romania, in Finland, in Bolivia, in Sri Lanka, in Russia, in Siberia, in Cuba, in Mexico, and here on the home shores of America.

Join us in changing the history of Tanzania !

July 29th I will travel with a team of women to conduct two conferences. The first will be held in Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria . This will be for women in leadership positions with a focus on the Gospel's response to human rights issues, as well as equipping them with boldness to enter their communities with the Truth. The second will be a three day conference in a remote village in the Shinyaga Region where ritual killings of elderly women accused of witchcraft take place. Below is an Internet article to give you some idea of the enemy realm we are entering into:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tanzania-suffers-rise-of-witchcraft-hysteria-517157.html

There is also a six minute video which address the horror:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWwFVfd9kY8&feature=email

In some ways, when I researched the situation, I felt the question, "Missionary why are you coming here." I felt inadequate and ill-equipped to confront head on such evil. During our village time we will be face-to-face with the men who have committed such atrocities. We will be looking into the eyes of the tribal elders and shaman (witch doctors) who order and ordained these heinous crimes. What do we a small group of white women have to say?

The Truth.

And that is all we need.

Each day, I am given new courage and boldness through the Word, and His Spirit. When the Lord told Joshua,"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) he had a great deal to be frightened of. While the situation we are entering into is one the enemy would love to evoke fear and trembling in us, we stand strong on ALL the promises of the Living God.

We will need the ammunition of intercession. We will need the effectual fervent prayers of the Saints on our behalf. We HAVE the commission of the Living God, we HAVE the provision and we HAVE the protection of the powerful shed blood of His Lamb!

Closing with conviction from "The Message"

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out....


Good-bye, friends. Love mixed with faith be yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ. Pure grace and nothing but grace be with all who love our Master, Jesus Christ.

Smiling in the Truth of His service,

"Greater is He that is with us.."
"We are more than conquerors"