Sunday, August 31, 2014

July/August 2014 I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up…Then said I, Here am I; send me.

July/August 2014                    
I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up…Then said I, Here am I; send me.                                                                                                                       ~Isaiah 6:1, 8

The prophet Isaiah was fully aware that his high and lifted up Lord was worthy of all glory and honor and praise; he also clearly recognized that devotion leads to action, that is the personal fulfillment of a divinely appointed mission.

God surprisingly opened the door for Erén (Pastor Martín’s wife) and me to travel alongside a very diverse team of followers of Christ from North Village Baptist Church (NVBC), and we stepped through it having little idea of what we would encounter as we apprehensively said, “Here I am, Lord. Send me where You will.” Our plan was to encourage the believers and introduce the AWANA children’s outreach opportunity to the Libanus Baptist Church in Llanfairfechan, Wales, just as a team from NVBC did for IBBM-Tepic, Mexico, 19 years ago. God’s plan was much more.

We found that Wales is a very beautiful country full of lush, green hills, extraordinary flowers, quaint walking paths, and surrounded on three sides by the Irish Sea. It is a land of castles and fairy-tale princesses, but it is also a land of dragons and paganism. It is almost always cold, dark, and damp, and many Welsh people are often depressed and despondent. Per capita, Wales has the highest suicide rate of all UK countries. The Prince of Despair sees to it that the powers of darkness abound where his evil plan is least expected. 

Never did Erén and I dream that in the land of Celtic druids, at a quaint little restaurant called Pete’s Eats, we would literally run into a Huichol shaman, dressed in his complete authentic garb! A multi-national congregation of his believing followers had transported him all the way across the Atlantic from his natal village in the Mexican Sierra Madre Mountains to the community of Llanberis, Wales, to offer traditional Huichol healing sessions for the emotional, physical, and spiritual disorders for all who would pay for his services. 

Where does one begin who has seen the Lord’s mandate, and is surrounded by people who need a personal relationship with Him? We didn’t dare to expect in less than two short weeks to accomplish what we know takes years of relationship building and discipleship, but we did anticipate that our sovereign God had specific tasks for us. We began following Jesus’ example, making friends one-at-a-time, earning the privilege of sharing, and inviting all who would accept to come to the weeklong AWANA-style VBS. We know that children everywhere have the greatest potential for becoming His followers and useful lifelong tools in the Master’s hands. 

How ironic it is that though Wales was the site of the Great Welsh Revival a century ago, nearly half of her people today insist they adhere to no religion. The Welsh parents and grandparents, like the Israelites who witnessed the water parting in Joshua’s day, must have forgotten to tell the children about their all-powerful God.

Not only did God answer our prayers, and yours, for children to attend the 5-day AWANA club, but also He sent amazingly hungry-to-serve young people and several adult leaders who are learning that a walk with our Savior implies service. This missions’ effort now has gone full-circle, as Erén, a veteran OANSA leader from IBBM-Tepic since its inception, along with the rest of the NVBC team, has now reciprocated in sharing the Good News and in effectively presenting AWANA, a very effective tool for spreading it. We are praying that AWANA will be fruitfully implemented at Libanus and many children will become the future leaders and champions for the Gospel in Llanfairfechan and beyond.

Thank you for sharing and praying for us. Not only were we privileged to make life-long friends and share the Gospel story with the beautiful people we met in Wales, but also, the members of the team from NVBC and the people of IBBM-Tepic back home in Mexico, experienced first-hand and participated in what Isaiah meant when he “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up… and answered, ‘Here am I; send me.’” 

See a 3-minute video clip produced by Brian Wright of the AWANA club in Wales here, 
and a collection of pictures of the NVBC/IBBM-Tepic mission trip to Wales here.