"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. "Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. -Isaiah 60:1-4
Years ago, I was sitting in a basement room, during a biblestudy, in the YWAM building called 'The Samaritan Inn", in Amsterdam, Holland. I was overwhelmed with the diversity of people from many different nations that were present. I was captured by the international and multi-cultural aspect of missions abroad. I had prayed and longed to come to do mission in this city but the Lord continually said No. He called me to return year after year...but never to move there. I was feeling a bit despondent in the meeting and opened my bible and turned to some passages in Isaiah that glimmered with prophetic purpose for my future. God spoke to my aching heart about the days to come...when He would send me the nations. I was encouraged that the Lord had not put a love and burden for the nations on my heart with no way to fulfill that burden.
This last week, we hosted one of three teams that came to Spokane from Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta Canada. 7 students (5 girls and 2 guys) stayed at our church for 5 days and joined us in a week of prayer, discipleship, teaching, service and mission. This team came to study "Community Development" in preparation for an upcoming trip to Guatemala.
This week involved working in the CRC clearing out junk, sorting donations and preparing stuff for sale in our upcoming rummage sale. They sorted clothes and organized goods. They helped our Community Dinner team prepare the meal and served during the dinner. Some of the team joined me in delivery of meals after the dinner to four homes in our neighborhood. Tuesday night we split the team up into three groups and put them in 3 refugee homes for a night of cultural immersion to prepare them for their trip to Guatemala. Wednesday morning we shared a big Karen breakfast.
The team helped us give the CRC a makeover, with a new paint job, decorations and cleaning. We spent one day doing a service project in the neighborhood for a family that has a number of disabled family members. Their yard was in desperate need of cleaning and clearing. We removed 7 truck loads of garbage and yard debris to the dump. It was hard work but the family was so blessed. They also were able to join and help two different days with our Refugee Tutoring program, one night with the Kid's Team and another with our Adult team.
In-between these activities we unpacked the gospel and mission, prayed and contextualized book learning with street action and visited people I partner with and places where mission takes place outside our immediate area. It was a full week...and what I treasured most...was that all these activities were in-between the normal "church days" where most church activity takes place. My dream of being a church that lives out mission during the week and comes together on the Weekend to truly celebrate what God is doing during the week...is finally coming to pass.
There were many times during the week, where I was reminded of the Lord's words to me. As I sat in one of the Burma refugee's homes with students from Canada, Australia and different parts of The United States...that word was materializing before me. This week I have seen a number of confirmations to the trustworthiness of God's prophetic words to me over the years. I stand blessed at His faithfulness.I throughly enjoyed my time with the young people from Canada. Sharing life, mission and hearts, seeing God be made known to them and through them, was a gift to experience. I pray that we will see such a program of Urban Mission and Community Development emerge in the future, maybe in partnership with a likeminded institution or bible college. The fruit was really good.
Here are some pictures of the various things we did this week.