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Short term mission trip with Way of The Cross
Matamoros Mexico January 2003

A group of us from Christian Community Church went on a mission trip to Mexico with Way of The Cross (WOTC). During that week we lived together; we worshiped, studied, and prayed together; we worked together building a church building, and we shared our faith with the lost together. For that week, at least to me, it felt like we were living our lives like the Christians described in the New Testament lived. It was a great experience and I miss it!

My son Daniel and I introduce Alberto to his new friend, Ernie. Alberto blessed me more than I can put into words when he came up with a huge smile, hugged me and said, "thank you for building our house".

My good friend Ken and me working on the the building. For some reason all the pictures just show me standing around like this or eating. Hmmm.....

Each morning we rose early for some time alone with God, and one morning I wrote the following in my notes while reflecting on what was happening around me:

Wow, I feel like I need much more of this in my life. I want to serve God full-time. If I can't see my way to do that through full-time missions, I want to be much better about serving Him at work, at home in Murray, and by taking more short term missions trips. I also want to stay in touch with and support those who have been sent out to the field.

God has opened my eyes. This trip has been yet another step in God changing me through the awakening that started last summer. His sanctification of me has escalated as a result of His grace in showing me areas in my life where I had not offered Him Lordship, in fact I was holding back. Namely in the areas of the stewardship of my time and money, and my lack of desire to fellowship with, and truly love my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lord, I repent of my lukewarmness in these areas. I want to make You Lord of all. Show me the way to walk, to live, and to serve you dear Jesus. Show me how I can have an impact for Your Kingdom. Lord God, help me to hold back nothing from you, but to give you my best, and my all.

On our last day of ministry in Matamoros we visited the squatters camp. Here we played with the children. I was so blessed by these little ones. They are full of joy in spite of having so little compared with how we live here. They wanted ride after ride on my shoulders, and seemed to have an endless desire to be lifted up to reach and hang from a bar that comprised the soccer goal, the sole piece of equipment they had to play on.
I'll never forget the fun I had with these precious children of the squatters camp.

Toward the end of the afternoon we held a service on the side of the bus.

First we sang worship songs in Spanish and presented a puppet show.

Then several from our church shared testimonies and offered an invitation to accept Christ. Seven adults raised there hands and prayed to accept our precious Lord and Savior.

We handed out Bibles to the new believers and many others as well.

A local pastor who received training from WOTC stressed the importance of fellowship for the new believer and gave them an invitation to come to his church (one of three built by WOTC lead groups in this area.

Afterward we prayed for special needs for several of those gathered. Translators helped us to understand the needs we were praying for.

After prayer we handed out rice and beans, which we had packaged earlier at the WOTC warehouse. Also candy for the kids.

Many more people were gathered than we expected, but most received something. The needs in this area are great, the people are very poor, and yet they were well clothed and seemed well fed for the most part.

We all wished we had brought much more food to give out. Next time we will bring more.

So dear readers, I find myself here in Murray wondering how to be a full-time missionary while also keeping all the plates spinning with my work and family. I think the key is to develop a missionary mindset, whether we are in the mission field or the work place, in or our homes and communities or in deepest Africa. God's work is wherever we are if we will just open our eyes.

I think that short term mission trips like this one are a great way to discover this missionary mindset, or to renew one. Through God's grace I plan make many more of these trips and make them a priority in my life. I'm also committed to finding more ways to help with missions while I'm at home, and to doing more here with a missionary mind set. I also think the close daily contact with my fellow Christians was a big factor on the trip, and what I brought home from it, so I'm hoping to make that a part of life here somehow too.

Click the here for the CCC WOTC Missions site ,with lots more pictures of the trip.