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“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

            If there is one verse that should define Shallow Well’s mission’s efforts, it is that one. I feel so strongly about it, that it is on the back of our T-shirts. This verse is a clear mandate that as Christians it is not enough to simply stay in our church and do nothing. If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we must obey Jesus in all things. We might do okay in following some of the rules he has set up for us, but we (including me) do not always want to take the church outside of our four walls. We have a desire to be obedient without also being active in the world around us. I know that I struggle with this.

            I have not always had the greatest passion for missions, but I have done missions. I have been to Savannah, New Orleans, and even New Hampshire to show and share Jesus, but it was more because I was supposed to, not because it was an inner drive to be His witness in these places. A few years ago, I went to Memphis for a couple of days with a church we were attending. It was the first mission trip I had been on in probably five years. It was a simple three-day trip with a lot of riding to get there. I thought nothing of it except that I felt the need to be obedient and go. While there, I was sent with others to a subdivision near the church we were serving. I started knocking on doors to invite them to the church and possibly share Jesus if I could. It was hot and muggy. The houses seemed to go on forever, but instead of feeling tired or disappointed I realized that I loved doing this. We then went to a gas station to help pay for gas some of the customers. Once again, I loved it. The next morning, I taught children’s church in that church so the churches normal teachers could be a part of the service. It felt good. I realized in that little time in Memphis, Tennessee that mission work was not something I had to do to be obedient, but something I wanted to do to serve others. I knew that whenever I got back into a leadership position in a church that I would push mission work. I would lead that church to go and serve.

            Not everyone feels the same about this. I recall the words that an older pastor said to William Carey (the future father of modern missions), “When God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do so without consulting you or me.” Not everyone desires to go. Not everyone has this heart. I start dreaming and visualizing about what we can do, and before long I start hearing the doubters. Satan likes to try to tell me that no one wants to be a part of this. You are wasting your time. During the planning stages I go through excitement stages and then despondent stages that no one will want to go. I surge and sputter. I praise and I complain. I occasionally walk away from it, but God will not let me walk to far. He brings me back and tells me to get to work. I plan, and He will provide the workers. I promote and He will bring in the support. He will open the doors that need to be open and close the ones that need to be shut. I just have to keep working.

            A week and a half ago (July 22-26) was our Hometown Mission Week. The last two summers we went away to work. Kentucky was awesome and West Virginia was really good (except for the rats.) I started looking for another state to which we could go. Every call I made just did not work out. My plan was to go to somewhere in Appalachia again. God’s plan was to stay home, so we stayed home, I was not sure how this would work out, but it was not my job to make it work, just to make it available. I called the people in charge of helping others in our community and told them we wanted to help. I could not tell them how many we would have, but we would have somebody. They said come, so we went. 41 people from Shallow Well went last week. 40 of you gave of your time to help in our community. We built flower boxes for East Lee Middle School. We built a ramp for a disabled family. We finished a shed for a lady that had been ripped off by someone else. We did yard work for a lady who needed help. We cleaned at Family Promise. We cleaned and decorated our church. We fed people at the Breadbasket. We delivered food at the CUOC. 41 people in Shallow Well were Jesus’ witnesses in our Jerusalem.

            I was not sure why God wanted us in Sanford and not Tennessee, but after working here I figured it out. We were here because we needed to be reminded of the needs right around us. We were here because people needed help that they would not have gotten if it was not for Shallow Well. We were here because it allowed people to serve that would not have been able to if we went somewhere else. We were here because this is where God wanted us this summer.

            I want to thank everyone who served. I want to thank you for giving of your time and talents. I want to thank the adults who were patient and taught our youth how to do new things. I want to thank the adults who gave up their time to help those who needed it. Thank you.

            I want to thank all those who donated to help this week happen. I know many of you wish that you could have physically helped, but you knew you could not, so you gave. We could not have done it without you. Thank you.

            I want to thank our youth. Thank you for serving. Thank you for trying new things, thank you for helping the less fortunate. I pray that you will have a heart to serve others everywhere. I pray that you do not just do mission trips simply because you are supposed to, but because you want to. Thank you for your work.

            For those that served, I pray that your work was not just physical but spiritual. I hope that we do not just have different thoughts about the area around us, but that we have different thoughts about Jesus. I pray that this church will always desire to be witnesses of Jesus in our Jerusalem, our Judea’s and Samaria’s. I pray that you will go to the ends of the earth with the message of Jesus.

MJ

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