South America. When I hear that, words that come to mind include the Amazon, soccer, Carnival, delicious coffee and capybaras.
I know that’s a pretty shallow list, but I’m hoping that this Summer, that list will change to things much more meaningful and potent. Perhaps I’ll add things like desperate, hurting, crime…or even words like hopeful, thriving, or transforming.
That’s because in July, I will getting off a plane with a team of about 5 others and together we will be stepping onto the soil of Colombia, South America. I’m going with a team from my home church, Manna Church, to partner with global missions organization Frontline Missions and divinity school Grace College of Divinity.
While there, we’ll be working with a Colombian Bible school Instituto Biblico Gracia Divina and helping them to train and equip local church leaders. We’ll also get a chance to get our hands dirty by helping renovate church buildings in the area that are in need of repair.
Colombia isn’t exactly on on the top of people’s “let’s go there on a missions trip” list. It’s not like, say, Haiti, or one of the more impoverished countries in Africa. One of the reasons for that is that 94% of the population self-identifies as Christian–the vast majority of that number identifies as Catholic.
So, you might be wondering, “Why then are you going to Colombia?”
My answer to that might not seem all that “spiritual” to some. God didn’t show up in a dream and tell me to go (though He can do that). I didn’t hear an audible voice. I didn’t receive a sign of any kind.
And to be honest, when I first heard about the trip, I didn’t even really pray about it that much.
Here’s the reason I’m going:
“And Jesus came and said to them,”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””
I’m going to Colombia because Jesus already commanded me to go. I don’t think I really need to pray about that. I don’t think any Christian does, really. If there’s a missions opportunity in front of you, and you have the ability to go, then it’s quite possible that you need to get on a plane and go, not spend a week praying and fasting about it, but actually going–because Jesus already commanded you to go in the Great Commission.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s good enough for me.
When He said “all nations”, He really means ALL nations. The Greek word there is better translated as “people groups”, and there happens to be quite a few in Colombia. 5 of them are considered “unreached”, meaning they have little or no access to the Good News of Jesus. I don’t know if we’ll encounter any of these people while we’re there, but I’m certainly praying that we will.
I understand that not everyone can go on every missions opportunity that pops up–and that’s ok. For a particular trip, some are called by God to go, and others are called to send. But whether it’s going or sending, all are to be involved in the Great Commission.
If there’s a missions opportunity in front of you, and you can go, I would strongly encourage you to go. If you can’t, you can still help send those who can go. I’d love for you to be a part of what God is doing (and will be doing) in Colombia. If you’d like to help send me to Colombia, you can visit my crowdfunding page–I’d appreciate your support!
By the grace of God, let us finish the mission and take the Message of Jesus to all people groups!