Last month, Alicia, Paisley and I all traveled to Springfield, Missouri to take part in Missionary Training and Renewal 2014 at Central Bible College. We spent three weeks living all together in a CBC dorm room, which neither of us had done for more than a decade (Paisley hadn’t either, but now she has spent 15% of her life in a college dorm!). Over those three weeks, we met and became lifelong friends with many incredible people who are giving their lives to serve all over the world.
We played a culture learning game with our Europe team that was hilarious and poignant as we venture into new cultures, had great times of prayer all together and in groups, and heard lots of great teaching from the AGWM leadership team. As we experienced a mixture of practical training and spiritual renewal, our hearts grew with a burden to share the message of Jesus with those who haven’t heard.
One of the misconceptions about Europe is that missionaries are unneeded because the people have already heard the Gospel message. The truth is, Europe has heard the politicization of Christianity more than anything: Christendom (the society of the church) has overtaken Christianity (following Jesus Christ), and it isn’t attractive. Historically, Europe has experienced diabolical actions in the name of Jesus, and in return, secularism is rising because Christendom has failed. There is also a throng of marginalized in Europe who so need a touch from Jesus. Groups like the Roma people (if you are unfamiliar with the Roma people, read this article about their shocking history and about how God is moving among them) and other socioeconomic or sociopolitical groups are often ignored and cast out from an otherwise modern culture.
There is an awesome team that has been assembled throughout Europe, reaching out to the marginalized and secularized in Europe, and we will no doubt have a part in reaching them with the good news.
On our last evening, we took part in the 2014 Missionary Commissioning Service, in the 100th year of the Assemblies of God. Ninety-nine missionaries were commissioned to go into the world, that ALL might hear. As we processed into the sanctuary, an orchestra and choir sang the song, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and I couldn’t help but begin to cry as the words of the third verse were more poignant than they have ever been in my life:
Let every kindred, every tribe, On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe, And crown Him Lord of all!
Following the sermon by the incomparable Steve Jamison, we were prayed for by our district leadership, Pastor Bob Wise and Bill Button. We were also joined by colleague and friend, Dick Gruber, who came down when they asked the appointed prayer partners to make their way, saying, “I don’t need to be appointed by anyone! I’m praying for you guys!” Following prayer, we were presented with a Fire Bible in the Spanish language, which, God-willing we’ll be able to read one day.
So, after all that, we are officially Assemblies of God commissioned missionaries, and we are so excited to serve as we itinerate this year, and anxiously look forward to our arrival in Madrid, Spain sometime next year.