“What are you doing next year?”
Sometimes all the options for next year make me feel like I’m getting attacked by a bunch of crazy geese…(pic from the book Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh)
First, a little perspective.
God’s been teaching me a LOT over the last month, through a variety of people, circumstances, and Scriptures. He’s been humbling me and giving me a different way to look at life. Some of my findings:
Life is short and unpredictable. Things change. People change. Sin and brokenness are throughout the earth. We live in a messed up world. I’ve felt this deeply in the past few weeks as one of my closest friends lost her baby. Elijah was born two months premature and lived twenty minutes. I’ve been convicted to use every day, every moment to glorify God- every opportunity, because we don’t have much time here and it could be over any minute. But the short time we are here can make an eternal impact. Elijah’s life and death has brought so many people closer to God. He’s reminded us to cling to the one who never changes. There is something more than just this world of brokenness. That’s a hope that I want to share with as many people as possible.
Then there’s the fact that nearly 3 billion people on our planet haven’t had a chance to hear about this hope. 41.8% of the world’s people groups are unreached. That meansthere is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group. And we are called to reach these people.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19
You don’t necessarily have to go directly to these places to have a part in the Great Commission. Maybe you’re a sender, preparing people and getting them excited about sharing the Gospel. Maybe you are a prayer warrior, praying for the nations. Maybe you’re crossing cultures in your own city. But we are all called to be a part of this mission.
But along with that, I’m learning that God’s plan doesn’t NEED me. The whole world will hear the gospel eventually regardless of whether I obey or not. Nothing can mess up His perfect plan. He tells us that directly:
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:10
Talk about humbling. He doesn’t need me, but He wants to use me anyway. I want to be a part of His plan, whether He asks me to stay in the States or go to the nations.
These are things I know. There’s a lot I don’t know, but I think that’s okay.
So back to the original question.
At the moment, there seems to be an open door for me to work with Cru in South Africa for a year! Yep, I’m going on STINT (short term international missions with Cru)!
You may already know that South Africa has been on my heart for a long time. I spent two summers with other Cru students helping launch movements on multiple campuses in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, and you can read about my experience in earlier blog posts from 2011 and 2012. Our region has a partnership with Campus Crusade for Christ, South Africa (CCCSA). In 2010, Cru sent a small team of students and staff to Port Elizabeth, where they started a CCCSA student ministry movement on one campus of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).
This photo was taken the second summer I was in Port Elizabeth. Khaya (center) interned with CCCSA the following year, and Tyler (left) is currently working with CCCSA at NMMU!
Four years later, CCCSA is on two campuses in Port Elizabeth and just starting on three others. We have committed to sending a small team of interns each year to support these movements and train up student leaders until national staff can take over leadership and training. We’ve seen a lot of progress towards this goal- last year a South African interned alongside the American staff team!
South Africa is a particularly strategic country to reach as it holds significant influence over sub-Saharan Africa. While it has modern infrastructure, there are many “third-world” realities in this nation. Racial tensions are nearly as high as they were in the days of apartheid, the political sphere is extremely corrupt and unstable, and the income gap between the rich and the poor is huge. AIDS has crippled the country’s development, and violent crime rates are rising rapidly. It is a broken nation with broken people, and only Christ can heal the deep wounds this nation has experienced.
The Missionvale campus of NMMU, surrounded by slums.
But tomorrow’s leaders are today’s college students! I am so excited to move to South Africa in January and come alongside student leaders in their efforts to reach students with the gospel. This university hosts many international students from all over the world who have the potential to take the gospel back home to their communities, some of which are unreached.
The only barrier we are facing at the moment is that our team needs TWO more men to be able to go. Will you join me in praying for the Lord to provide? This is something that Jesus directly asks us to pray for:
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
May the Lord’s will be done, whether our team is able to go or not!
Read more about unreached people groups here: http://joshuaproject.net
Read more about STINT with Cru here: http://www.wearesent.com/vision.html
Read about the current ministry in South Africa here: http://www.wearesent.com/africa.html