Saturday, June 29, 2013

ONE DAY Last Week…

We stay pretty busy.  We came to Haiti to work.

Recently I was reminded that it is indeed important to celebrate victories!  We at RMI have been working hard to exponentially increase our quantity and quality of ministry.  As I was reflecting upon the importance of celebration, it hit me… 

One day last week, one day, RMI facilitated 2 teams doing a Dental Clinic at Miserne, a Dental Clinic at Laval, a Food Distribution Batte, a Food distribution service at Laval, an Open Air Evangelistic Service at Laval, a Deworming Clinic in Dorlette, a Ladies Gathering in Lievre, a Worship Service in Lievre, and a Deworming clinic at a Dorlette.  ONE. DAY.  The RMI Team, along with our 2 churches visiting, dug deep and made it happen.  Unbelievable.

Thank you Galion Alliance Church and Petersburg Bible Church.

We are so privileged to be here.  As I have been saying a lot lately, we are so blessed to have a team of supporters standing with us, helping to make the above happen.

Rob

Galion Team June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

All You Need is Love…

body-of-christThe Beatles sang it.  I believe it (as long as Love = Jesus of course).  I don’t think that is what the Beatles meant, but you get the point.

This past week, my family has been going through a “little” trial.  In light of Eternity, it’s a little problem.  In light of what many others are going through, it’s a little problem.  But, for us, right now, it’s significant.

If I have learned one thing through this, it is that WE ARE LOVED!  So. Many. People. communicated with us that they are praying for us.  So. Many. People. communicated their support.  This is love.

We have been raising financial support for almost 10 years.  We have always shared with people.  We are not just looking for financial supporters.  We are looking for people to join our team.  To encourage us.  To pray for/with us.  To share their lives with us.  To be ONE with us.  God has blessed us with SO. Many. People. who love us.  Who support us.  Who pray for us.  Who care for us.  Who stand with us.

Thank you.

Rob

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I signed up for this?

philippiansBeing a missionary requires lots of sacrifices, but even more blessings.  My family is living proof.  Because we have moved overseas to serve, we are not only where we believe God wants us, be we are blessed beyond measure.

Becky is 1453 miles away, in a hospital bed, awaiting surgery.  I’m not by her side. I committed to always being by her side. I want to be there.  But, I can’t.  God can and will.  I choose to trust, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. 

Yep, I signed up for this, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Rob

Friday, June 14, 2013

Top Ten Things (NOT) to do When Coming on a Mission Trip…

I have personally heard every one of these, but from my vantage point, these all represent bad advice…

  1. Don't prepare, just come ready to be led by the Spirit.  Truth:  Ok, there is a balance between preparation and being Spirit led.  I firmly believe that you must be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, but I also firmly believe that to be most effective you must plan well.  Be strategic.  We have all heard it, if you don’t plan well, you are planning to fail.  Prepare your heart/spirit.  Prepare your schedule.  Prepare by studying the geography, people, culture, language where you will be serving.
  2. Bring lots do stuff to help the nationals (candy, equipment, dollar bills to hand out, clothes, supplies, as much stuff as you can fit in your 50ish lb suitcase, even purchase extra bags).  Truth:  Careful with this one.  I am not saying it’s always wrong to bring stuff (if done well it can be great), but please avoid being Santa Claus. Instead, be Jesus.  Even though you mean well in your giving, you may actually be confusing those who you are visiting.  Are you bringing the gift of love, the Good News and encouragement, or are you bringing stuff?  Let’s not confuse the message by allowing stuff to get in the way.  Be generous, just be careful with what you are being generous with, and how you are generous with it.  Your host missionaries will be helpful in navigating this. I would ALWAYS recommend that your giving of stuff be through a local church.  It’s the local church that knows who is in need, how to give, what is really needed, how to give stuff redemptively (for the sake and benefit of the Gospel), etc.
  3. Call the nationals “Natives” with your mouth of with your heart. Truth:  The term “Native” typically includes the sense of being under-developed, unsophisticated, uncultured and inferior.  This just is not true.  You are not superior. In fact, many would argue that it is the opposite. Come with an open heart posture, open mind, assume you know and understand little.  Listen and lean hard into your field missionaries. They will help you bridge the gap between your culture and your host culture.
  4. Do something before listening  Truth:  Assume you don’t understand.  Listen lots before you act.  Before you act, listen some more.  Ask questions. After you are done listening, listen to your host missionaries.  Plan with thoughtful humility.  We encourage you to use every moment strategically, but remember that some of the most fruitful times of life transformation is during down time.
  5. Don’t worry about dressing like your host culture. Truth:  Early missionaries imported “the way Christians are supposed to dress”.  In my opinion, this wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t true contextualization.  But, the church is learning.  As a short term missionary, it’s not your job to change the culture.  In fact, assume you don’t understand the culture, let alone knowing it well enough to seek to change the culture.  instead, it’s your job to do the best you can to honor the culture in the short time that you are here.
  6. Think short term strategic impact and then get out and go somewhere else. Truth:  We should be focused on long term impact.  We care about eternity, right!?  True transformation comes through steadfast, committed, relational, Gospel filled long term partnerships. The Gospel is not only about evangelism.  The Gospel is so much more.  One should not share the Good News, and then move on thinking you are done.
  7. Bring LOTS of snacks to eat to supplement the local food you will eat.  Plan to eat snails and monkey brains!  Truth:  You will likely eat great!  At least here in Haiti, don’t come planning to lose weight.
  8. Don't ask too many questions.  Your host missionaries are tired of answering the same questions over, and over, and over, and over, and over... Truth:  We are here to assist you, answer your questions, to be the bridge between 2 people, and yes, to even answer your dumb questions.
  9. Don’t worry about the missionaries on the field, they have lots of support from others and they don’t really need you.  Truth:  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are sometimes/always under-resourced, fatigued, stressed, under-supported, discouraged, etc.
  10. Just Stay home and let the professional long term missionaries do the work.  Truth:  You can’t accomplish the same things by sending money and watching the NatGeo channel.  Your life will forever be transformed as you yourself place your feet on the field, develop cross-cultural relationships, do collaborative shoulder to shoulder ministry/projects, learn from other cultures, see what life is like in the rest of the world, get your hands dirty, hug the economically poor, worship with the spiritually rich.

Jesus says Go.  I say Come.

There are many more, and so much more to share on the above.  But, it had to be Top 10, right?!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Value #2: Teachability / Volonte pou Aprann

verseThis is Post #2 in a series of 20 Values/Motivasyon that I am teaching to my team here in Haiti.  These values are the roots or anchors of the 3rd Culture we are creating together. I will continue to teach these, and I pray model these. This is who I am, and I want my team to know how I think, what I expect of myself/them, who I want us to be, and why/how I/we do what I/we do.

Value #2: Teachability / Volonte pou Aprann

We must remain teachable, or willing to learn.  No matter our “rank”, we should always be looking for opportunity to learn from others.  Those “above” or “below” can teach us new ways of doing things, insight, other things beyond our current capacities.  We must constantly remain teachable.  Missionaries learn from Haitians and Haitians learn from missionaries.  Pastor’s learn from lay people and lay people learn from pastors.  Followers learn from leaders and leaders learn from followers.  We should be always learning.  If we are not learning, we are stuck in a steady state of ignorance.

In Scripture, there is a clear distinction between a fool, and a man who is wise.  This distinction couldn’t be any clearer than in Proverbs…

12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
23:12 - Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
25:11 - A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Rob