AUTHOR: Shari Tvrdik
Jesus had been shot.
For obvious reasons the scene was supposed to cause the viewer great turmoil as the camera man panned over the bullet holes.
But, I felt no turmoil.
Instead, I laughed.
I second guessed my response which at first seemed appalling, and then ...I cried.
Thank you for joining me on this emotional roller coaster.
Hang on, it's gonna be a good ride.
The news story was broadcasting an update on a little girl from Iraq named Myriam. Myriam's town, Qaraqosh, had been invaded in 2014 and she had lost everything.
She had left the reporter speechless when nine year old Myriam giving her first hand account from a refugee camp of how ISIS had destroyed everything dear to her, was asked how she felt about ISIS. Myriam had replied, "I will pray for them and forgive them." * READ FULL STORY BELOW
And this is why I had laughed and cried.
The town's Christian's had been driven out. The churches had been demolished. Jesus was shot in some kind of display of extreme hate and it meant nothing.
Jesus keeps going.
I scrolled to read the Instagram post of Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye who without asking for it had received super-Christian status from his fans, now stating he was "no longer a Christian. "
The real, unchanging Jesus, it seems, was just too hard core. Joshua informed his fans that he was opting to keep his heart open in the future to a "different way to practice faith." I wondered about his followers, those who kissed dating goodbye for Jesus, (even though Jesus never asked them to). I imagined some tears, a lot of anger, an avalanche of media flurry....and then in the end...
Jesus keeps going.
I took all these feelings to the office with me the next day and sometime during the afternoon they boiled over into inspiring conversation with the staff.
Sitting around the table with me was our Intern Katie Schupp, ready to begin her journey to help and heal the wounded hearts and bodies of sexually exploited women. Her first day of university was a few weeks away, her hope, contagious.
Joey Kittelson, founder of MEDFUND, a ministry in Boliva that among other things takes the hospital to the jungle. Joey was in the final stages of prepping for the next trip, organizing doctors, volunteers, all the logistics.
Dan Hennenfent, our Cup of Cold Water Ministries Executive Director, focusing on his team of thirty-two missionaries spread around the globe all while zipping up the details of a two month trip to Mongolia where he would work to unify a destabilized team so they could continue to change the world....together.
It was a day and conversation sealed forever in my mind because we said things that day that would matter deeply to us in ways not imagined just one week later.
Jesus keeps going.
"Shari. It’s worse than I could have imagined. Total 15 fatalities. Twelve of them are Bolivian MedFund volunteers. "
I had awoken in the middle of the night to my phone lighting up with messages. Instantly I wanted to be sick. It was Joey's team. The same team I had fallen asleep praying for. I read on to discover that Joey was alive and on the scene, pulling his own mission team from the mangled bus, his best of friends....gone.
"It's a disaster!" I cried out, waking my husband up who could only sit and pray over me as I wept. Eventually I went out under the stars to sit with God and pray.
I am a missions mobilizer. In other words, my work each day involves reminding the Church that we need to GO, our job is not finished yet. For me, missions is my life. So under the stars, imagining What Joey was facing at that moment on a Bolivian hillside, I talked to God about it all. I remember saying, "We're not on the same page." and "Do you know how irreplaceable those precious people are?"
I had spent the last two years going church to church and experiencing pastors give me a kind and polite smile when I asked them, "Is there anyone in your church interested in global missions?" Most replied, "We are focusing here on the local community."
I reminded God, "It's not like people are lining up in droves to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD!" and I questioned why He would allow some of His best players to leave the game way before their replacements were even warmed up.
I threw my heart at God, "It feels like I'm recruiting missionaries and then you kill them. "
Then I made some threats. " Maybe I just need to be done...maybe I'm missing something. "
God did not answer, and I'm okay with that.
I know He heard.
I know He was there.
When the sun came up nothing felt the same.
I relied on reports through our director about what was happening in Bolivia, and eventually the shaking began to subside and the dust began to settle on our broken hearts.
When we looked around, we found it true.
The worst thing we could have imagined as a mission board, had indeed taken place. One of our missionaries had lost his team to an accident.
It wasn't a dream.
"It's worse than I could have imagined..."
and Jesus keeps going.
As Heaven would arrange it, our annual GOD'S KIDS GO event happened to be that Tuesday, just forty eight hours away from the tragedy. This was Cup of Cold Water Ministries Day to get the next generation excited about the Great Commission.
None of us felt like telling a room full of children that they were needed for missions. We prepped the day before, printing name tags while we wept and questioned.
And then the kids showed up.
Those bright faces came through the front door and listened as we described the life of a missionary. "SEND ME!" they shouted at the end and our team felt the cost of those little voices as we thought of Joey and the MEDFUND ACCIDENT.
The truth is, nothing can stop JESUS.
not the loss of an entire missions team.
Jesus keeps going.
He continues through hate.
He moves past our opinions of Him.
He HOLDS THE KEYS TO DEATH and HELL.
He is everlasting to everlasting.
JESUS KEEPS GOING.
Even if you shoot Him...
AUTHOR Katie Schupp
"I thought a mission board was simply a place to handle donations for missionaries on US soil, as well as being the “boss”.
I began my internship with Cup of Cold Water Ministries at the beginning of June.
Prior to my first day of work, my perspective and knowledge on mission boards was shallow. I thought a mission board was simply a place to handle donations for missionaries on US soil, as well as being the “boss”.
My perspective was totally shattered and started to be rebuilt on the very first day.
I was made aware of the depth and importance of having a strong, upright, Godly mission board behind global missionaries.
There are 3 things that I have learned about missions from interning at a mission board:
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF AN AT HOME SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR THE MISSIONARY.
Missionaries have some of the most emotionally and physically taxing life callings. Because they are serving outside of the comfort of their home, they need an at-home support system. A group of devoted men and women to keep them inspired, encouraged, accountable, and lifted in prayer. Many of my work days at Cup of Cold Water Ministries are started by praying for the missionaries and individuals impacted through them. We pray for their personal requests, their struggles, and the struggles of those they minister to. We celebrate their victories and the wins for the kingdom of God and praise the Lord on their behalf.
2. GOD IS GOD REGARDLESS OF THE CONTEXT
This may seem simple and obvious, however when I took a step back and looked at God in the context of my life, God in the context of the life of a Bolivian street child, in the life of an incarcerated man, in the life of an orphan, God reminded me of an important truth.
God is good, God is sovereign, He is faithful and gracious and he is crazy love. He sees each person in light of their context and struggles. He does not consider our social status, country, culture, gender, age or occupation when showering us with his mercies. God is a god of culture and versatility and He is alive and moving in a world that may not see that.
3. MISSIONS IS TEAM WORK
In the world of missions, there are goers and senders. Believers who have been called to leave their homes and GO, and the believers who do not have the call to go, but rather be the sender. Both are equally important and rely on one another for this mission to be successful. That connect is crucial to making this team function and most effectively impact the kingdom of God.
As I wrap up my internship with CCWM, and prepare to pursue a career of missions, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity. The information and knowledge I have learned throughout the summer, I will carry with me throughout my life.
Go, send or disobey. ~ John Piper
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