I can remember the conversation like it was yesterday. I was standing in the hallway of my first call church. We were selling Christmas ornaments in the shape of the church sanctuary to raise money to go to Ecuador on a mission immersion.
As one of our members walked by, I asked him if he’d like to purchase an ornament. He refused, saying, “I don’t want one. Moreover, I ain’t going to support your trip overseas.
There are enough problems in our community that we need to solve before going somewhere else.”
I smiled and pointed at the missional opportunities board behind me, saying, “Well, I’m glad you feel that way. We’d love for you to participate in this Saturday’s Operation Community Outreach. You can do real work in our community.” After he rescinded his eyes to a normal openness, he responded with an audible scoff.
Why do we go? That’s not an unusual question. It might even be followed by the question, why should I go?
Venturing away helps us expand our worldview. We begin to see how other people live and how God is at work beyond our context. Yes, going makes us grateful. Yes, going transforms our minds to see others in the way God sees others, despite their unfamiliar circumstances.
As we go, we commit to the ministry of presence and encouragement to those who abide in these new contexts. As the Old Apostle wrote, “We comfort you with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1).
In turn, these experiences inform and transform how we go about doing the work of God when we return. As we return, existing ministry partnerships might take on a new vigor and understanding. As we return, the Spirit of God opens us to new possibilities of loving our neighbor.
Most importantly, Christ has called us to go beyond home to the outer parts of the earth. Therefore, we go.
UBC will be venturing out on two mission immersion experiences in 2019.
Domestically, we will go to Atlanta for a 7-day or 4-day experience. This trip is designed for participants of all ages and giftedness. Learn more and take the next step in participating by joining the 10:00 am meeting on Sunday, January 13.
Internationally, we will go to Ecuador for a 7-day experience. This trip is designed for participants to work alongside ministry partners by assisting with hygiene clinics, teaching children, medical care, light construction, and building water filtration systems. Learn more and take the next step in participating by joining the 6:30 pm meeting on January 16.
For some, going is not physically possible. Therefore, you are invited to partner through prayer, encouragement, support, and planning.
I hope you will discover what God would have you do in all of this.