AUTHOR NOAH WARD
It hits me like a wave bearing the force of the ocean behind it.
The overwhelming of my brain
This is the daily grind of language school. It is a grind that is hard. It is a grind that has its many challenges, yet also has its benefits.
I stare at a paper with letters that confuse me
….yet they are starting to make more sense.
The vocabulary I study seems to go in one ear and out the other
….yet I use new words on a daily basis in conversations
I think I only understand 40% of the story
….yet when questions are asked I comprehend more than thought
Language school offers so many challenges. At times it can be discouraging. You feel you are making no progress and you constantly feel worn out. You look at the end of one year and wonder if you will ever make it. You see veteran missionaries speaking Thai with such ease and you wonder how is it possible.
Will I ever be there?
Will I be capable of the same feat?
Will Thai people ever understand me?
When I first arrived in Thailand, a veteran missionary and I sat down for lunch. He described a story to me of when he was in language school. He shared the challenges that he faced and his story paralleled what I go through very well. He described the same situations and the same doubts. He then proceeded to give me an encouraging thought that has pushed me to keep pushing everyday.
“Always remember why you are here.”
These words are some of the most valuable words I have ever been offered in my twelve years on the field in Asia. I have heard them before, but this time they came at the right time. It is so easy in times of stress to forget. This is what keeps me focused on the task. It is my constant reminder that my God is greater and I want people to see His Glory. It is so important that I keep my eyes set on this goal and not let the little things derail my focus and my trust in Christ.
This question is one that can be applied in all jobs and all lives.
Why are you where you are?
What is your purpose in your job, your mission and your life?
I know mine and it is what pushes me to keep going.
Do you know yours?
AUTHOR LILY FLUHARTY
Two years ago God called me to the streets.
I had just spent the last four years loving on 70 adorable children living at an orphanage in the mountains of Caranavi, Bolivia. They called me “Tia Lily” and the ten littlest ones that I lived with called me “Mami". My heart was filled to overflowing every day and I was at home on that mountain surrounded by little ones.
Then I traveled to Santa Cruz and met some of the kids living on the streets.
I saw teenagers whose eyes told stories of pain and abandonment who use drugs to drown out the pain and hurt. I saw young kids with bottles pressed against their nose as they inhaled paint thinner and glue.
And God broke my heart.
I couldn’t get these boys out of my head.
“How can I help these kids?” I prayed.
These kids weren’t like the little ones I had been loving on.
I knew nothing about how to help these children.
I saw their worn faces and scar covered arms and my heart broke.
And God began to grow a love in my heart for these precious kids.
I couldn’t take away the years of pain these kids have endured.
I couldn’t erase the scars telling stories of abuse.
I couldn’t fill the emptiness of their eyes.
Yet as I looked and saw these kids, God showed me hope.
I saw myself in these beautiful yet scarred children.
I saw myself lost and hopeless…
and I saw how God met me in my brokenness and gave me hope.
I was reminded how He redeemed my life from the darkness and filled me with Himself.
And as I look at the beauty of what Christ has done for me,
I see the faces of the boys God is calling me to love and I hear Him saying,
“See what I did for you?
See where I brought you out of?
This is my heart for these lost and hurting boys.
They NEED to know me.
They NEED to know my love.”
There is an urgency to this love.
So even when I feel overwhelmed by the reality of the scars that are deep in their hearts,
And I feel insufficient…
I hear God whisper,
Love these children.
Love them in their pain and sorrow.
Love them even if they seem unlovable.
For these are my little ones.”
“Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut… I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… and I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you.”
The door is already open.
We cannot shrink back in fear.
See the love the Father has given you.
See what He has saved you from!
He wants to pour that love out on the lost sheep of His fold.
“I will make them come!” Says the Lord.
Please see these children.
See their scars.
See their pain.
Don’t look away.
Please let your heart break for them.
And let God grow a love for these boys.
AUTHOR SHARI TVRDIK
I sat in the church life group noticing the expressions of those in the living room.
Did we really just hear what Andy had spoken?
We all heard.
But none of us are about to get dropped off in the jungle of Africa to teach the Bible.
I mean, not unless we were "called" by God.
On the drive home I struggled with our reaction to Andy's words.
We were entertained by the missionary's stories,
but we became less than thrilled when he mentioned a need that we could technically fill.
All of us in the room were Christians.
We have been participating in Bible studies for a whole lot of years.
We could teach the Bible.
We could go.
Perhaps for a fleeting moment the thought danced in our spirits.
Inspired by Andy's life.
He was just a man....like us.
And yet, he was living the Great Commission.
If Andy could do it, so could we.
But then there are jobs,
the vacation we have planned for next summer,
our parents and children,
The comfortable rhythm of life.
Didn't our Pastor say, "Not all will go"?
And almost as soon as we had the thought to be an Andy....we were valiantly rescued by all the reasons why...we shouldn't, or couldn't.
So we told Andy we'd support him in prayer.
We tossed a check into the little basket by the door... it helped to ease the nagging suspicion that we had just been duped by ourselves.
And we drove home to forget.
But I couldn't.
I couldn't shake the feeling that perhaps I was willfully ignorant of a purpose.
I couldn't stop thinking of Andy waving goodbye to us from the front porch.
He had a flight to catch in the morning.
Off to "tell the world" I suppose.
Tomorrow, I'd be off to make enough money to pay our second mortgage and the car payment.
It must be nice to be Andy, and not have to think about those kind of things.
I want to forget everything Andy said.
Are there really that many people left who do not know about Jesus?
I wish I had not gone tonight.
I don't like to think of myself as someone who doesn't care.
What a terrible discomfort to know the Great Commission remains unfinished, and that I don't really wish to be bothered with it.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" ~ Mathew 28:19
AUTHOR HEATHER JOHNSON
There is nothing quite like being an outsider.
The whispers that you can hear.
Each week I get my water from a well.
It's not a traditional well but a water station where a water truck comes several times a day to fill up the tank which is connected to a hose in which water is pumped into the containers, brought from people around the community.
It's next door so I shouldn't complain.
My heart soars on the days no one else is there.
No one else to see me ask the water station lady for the one-hundredth time, "Sorry how much is it again?" as she rolls her eyes at me.
But the days that is is crowded
I want to hide.
Sometimes I stare back.
I grin and boldly respond to their questions.
Other times (usually) I keep my head down wondering if perhaps they won't notice I am a foreigner,
I'm making it sound much worse than it is.
It's not so bad.
Often I have people come and help me out of the kindness of their hearts for the helpless white girl.
But each time I'm reminded of another woman at a different well thousands of years ago.
Before Mongolia I had understood the story of the woman at the well,
but now I can actually feel her embarrassment.
I know what it feels like to have your face turn bright red because you can hear what they are saying about you.
I understand why she would go in the heat of the day, to avoid her neighbors.
I remember how Jesus told her, "If you drink from my water, you will never be thirsty again."
And like the woman, I too would be thinking, " Yes! Now I will never have to haul these heavy containers again!"
Of course that is not the point that Jesus was making.
There is the dry heat of Israel
and the dry cold of Mongolia, but there is also the dryness of our hearts
when disappointment after disappointment comes and nothing seems to satisfy those
We have a common need.
True literal water and sustenance to keep us going.
Something (Some One) to keep us from dying of thirst,
to keep our souls from becoming parched.
Usually I hate being the one who’s different than everyone else.
But last week when my container got off balance and wasted water gushed all over the ground
I was happy.
Because, unlike the Mongolians would have been, I didn’t get scolded.
For me it was just more eye rolling and “poor foreigner, she has no idea what she’s doing.”
And they were right!
The Value of A Mission Sending Board
AUTHOR SHARI TVRDIK
"To whom it may concern,
The letter went on from there to ask if Cup of Cold Water Ministries could be of any assistance.
This letter was the starting line of our race. the moment right before the gun shot is fired into the air, when the runner feels everything, dreams big and believes winning the race is possible.
Director of CCWM, Dan Hennenfent responded to that email with a two hour phone call followed up by a personal visit to our home. I'll never forget the little circle we made in our kitchen that evening where Dan prayed his heart out over us. In a world where a letter like Troy's may have caused some heads to shake, CCWM took us seriously. They still believed in missions and missionaries.
They believed Abraham stories happen today.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a simple process. There were applications, interviews, board meetings. All this leading to one night months later where we waited by the phone for the call that would either welcome us as missionaries or turn us away. When the phone had not rung by 11pm we were almost certain the board had decided we were not fit for the field.
Who could blame them?
An ordinary couple from a small town who didn't even own passports. Four children, two of them teenagers. Neither of us held a degree in anything.
Sometime after 11:30 came the call that changed our lives,
"Congratulations, you are CCWM's newest missionaries!"
The starting shot rang out through our hearts that night. Joy gave way to tears.
CCWM did not leave us there to figure it out for ourselves. They began to run by our side. Through the early days of learning how to raise funding all the way to the airport to send us off. they were there.
And the send off was just the beginning. CCWM has followed us through this race, supporting us with whatever it takes to keep us running. They meet regularly to pray for, care for, raise funding for and plan for their missionaries. If you've ever had the privilege to sit in on a board meeting you're struck by the authentic love and care the organization has for their missionaries and for the mission of the Gospel to go forward to all nations.
CCWM board members come and SEE what is happening. This accountability is greatly needed. Many missionaries are left without that kind of support and it is one of the leading causes of missionary burn out and failure. WE NEED A TEAM!
Our mission board, the unseen writers of the incredible story written in Mongolia.
There is no special recognition given to those who manage the bank accounts, pay the salaries, answer the countless email coming in all hours of the international night, edit, print and mail newsletters, counsel and provide a shoulder to cry on. Our Heavenly Father sees and knows the feet that bring good news are in the shoes called a mission board.
The story that followed our arrival in Mongolia was much bigger than any of us could have known. God had a plan and invited us into it.
But back at that starting line, back to that first letter, what would have happened had CCWM responded to Troy with something to the effect of, "I'm sorry, but you don't qualify."?
When we were just getting started, when the race was unknown, when it was all a beautiful hope, we found CCWM.
And they said, "Go, we're right behind you!"