Missions Trip Day Five:
Today (Friday) was our final day of the Atlanta missions trip. It has definitely been a week of learning, humility, and love. As the last day of a busy week, this morning we got to climb Stone Mountain. This was to symbolize how Jesus would frequently climb to mountain tops after teaching large crowds. We climbed the slope 1 and 1/4 miles to the top where we got to see God’s beautiful creation in all of its glory. Here we discussed what God did through us, what God did in us, and what comes next from this trip. Unfortunately, our time on top of the mountain was cut short due to an incoming storm, but thankfully we made it down safely before the rain started. From here we went to a little Mediterranean grill where we ate chicken or beef shawarma: a wonderful dish that greatly stirred our affections for Christ. After finishing our delicious meals, we traveled to John Harrison’s new house where we helped him and his family move in. We also enjoyed a prayer walk and a little bit of free time before dinner. We celebrated our time this week with a meal composed of “different” Chinese courses at Happy Valley. It was hard to say goodbye, but we are excited to return home and put all that we have learned into practice. This week has been full of God’s undeniable love for all cultures.. along with lots of good missionary training. We can’t wait to share our experiences with you!
Missions Trip Day Four:
Thursday morning we went to experience the Center for Human and Civil Rights where we were challenged by many different social issues that occurred at various points in history. One learning experience unique to this center was something called the “counter experience,” which simulated the sit-ins at restaurants of the civil rights movement through an auditory experience. After the center, we ate a delicious lunch at the CNN headquarters’ food court. During our free time we went to play with puppies at a local pet store, and we met the cutest huskie and pomskies. Back at the local church where we have been doing our evening ministry, we executed “operation junk removal.” All throughout the day, Joshua Brussel constantly reminded the group that every situation is missionary training and that even the little things in life can stir our affections for Jesus.
Missions Trip Day Three:
At the midway point of the missions trip, we’ve all gotten pretty tired. However, that didn’t stop the day from being an awesome experience! We woke up bright and early in the morning to head to Encompass headquarters, where we learned all about the Islamic religion. This was an enlightening experience for us all: We discovered that Islam and Christianity actually have a lot more in common than we thought, and we learned how to better interact with Muslims we might meet.
Later in the morning, we visited the Al-Farooq mosque. The mosque was a beautiful work of architecture, but the true experience was inside. We were guided through the mosque by a close Muslim friend of one of the Encompass guides, and he taught us a lot about the mosque and his religion. While there were a few key points where our beliefs clashed, our Muslim guide even managed to convict us through his devotion to his faith. This goes to show that God can use everything to point to him!
For lunch, we had Mediterranean food, consisting of chicken, rice, salad, and beef, and then we were off to help Grace Church in their efforts to clean up their church. Today, along with several other small jobs, we cleaned out an entire room and transported its contents to another room. We returned to the hotel for a delicious dinner from Jimmy Johns, and now we’re ready for sleep — and Day 4!
Missions Trip Day Two:
This morning we woke up to another hotel breakfast. After arriving at the Encompass headquarters, we had the opportunity of hearing from a converted Hindi named Emanuel. His passion for Hindus was evident as was his skill in evangelism through relationships.
The temple itself was in a small room in the back of a global shopping mall. We were welcomed by a priest and two prominent members of the Hindu community. There was time for listening, asking questions, and even sharing the gospel. One thing we as a group all agreed upon was the emptiness that was evident in the posture and words of these people. It has made us all the more grateful for a God that brings structure in our chaos, wisdom in our confusion, and light in our darkness.
During the afternoon we continued our service at Grace Church at Town Center. This church has been in existence for over 55 years, but through several circumstances it sees itself as a church plant. Today we worked on moving furniture, cleaning rooms, and landscaping. Although it was ‘only’ practical labor, we were constantly pointed to the encouragement we are able to be by simply being present.
This evening, after a much needed Chick-Fil-A pitstop, we rallied around God’s command for us to hunger for righteousness (Mat. 5:7), paired with his promise to pursue us with his mercy (Psalm 23:6). In the midst of the daily Nascar updates, rubix cube races, and Mennonite history factoids, we are being build up in our spiritual walk and sharpened in our worldview. This is mainly happening through the encounters with Christians that, though very different, are pointing us to our pursuing God. If it is a missionary from Korea, a converted Hindi, or a missionary using his marketable skills to serve God, all of them are encourage us to live a missional lifestyle.
As God bring us to your mind, would you be praying that:
- We would be granted boldness and wisdom as we will be visiting a mosque Wednesday;
- We would be effective encouragers both in our interaction with the Encounter staff and the church members;
- For an eager ear to listen to God’s guidance, especially those prayerfully considering what their roles in missions might be;
- For an eye to find God’s blessings, both big and small, and a mind that is eager to retain them.
On behalf of our team – Joshua