Focus Article – MISSIONS: A CATALYST TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH (Sabbath Recorder, December 2016)

sr1 sr2Travelling to another country, living with and proclaiming the Gospel to unfamiliar people can be scary and difficult but usually purpose-filled. I had the privilege this past summer to be the Project Director to an SCSC team to Jamaica, which was the result of the continuing partnership between the Missionary Society and the Women’s Board/SCSC Committee. Team members reflected on the trip. Here are parts of their testimonies:

Elisabeth Lawson — Colton, CA “This summer wasn’t what I expected at all. Going to a new country for the first time, I went into things not knowing what would happen, only knowing that God would be with me. When I first applied to go to Jamaica, I had no idea why I applied. I knew I just felt called and that God had a special plan for me… This summer was truly a life-changing experience in every aspect as God stretched me, broke me, and filled me.”

Josiah Lynch —Toronto, Ontario “Being in Jamaica presented many challenges for us as a team and for me individually and forced me out of what I knew to be comfortable. For all the challenges, be it with children, health issues, or work schedule, and all the discomfort with living conditions, God was there and my focus was on Him. Having my focus on God allowed me to minister to others while also ministering to myself.”

Michaella Osborn — Boulder, CO. “Early in the project I learned that I couldn’t trust anything outside of God. I couldn’t trust that all of my partners would be healthy enough to help with VBS; I couldn’t trust that people would understand my needs or feelings; I couldn’t trust that my project director would be there all the time; I couldn’t trust that there would be food I would want to eat or even that there would be running water. The one thing that I could trust was God.”

Jennifer Brown — Texarkana, AR “Imagine this: being completely worn out, sweating like a pig, your body reacting to the climate through hives and swollen feet, and suddenly being asked to plan an hour more of activities with kids while you’re already struggling to find things for them to do right at that moment. Imagine taking a shower from a pipe in the wall that only had cold water, or better yet, using a bucket (similar to the ones we had to use to flush the toilets…). I chose to focus on the things that blessed me, were a blessing to others, and have changed me.”

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As their Project Director, I felt like a proud father as they did VBS, sermons, skits, music ministry, evangelism activities and visits to homes, schools and an orphanage. On many occasions team members were uncomfortable, unsure, exhausted, and scared, but due to their toughness and ever-growing trust in God, the project was an overwhelming success! Through their challenges many people across Jamaica were positively impacted but the team’s many difficulties also became catalysts to their further dependency on God. From their testimonies, the greater impact was on their individual spiritual growth where they echoed Acts 20:24: “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

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Garfield Miller – Missions Coordinator, Jamaica