Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Is It Worth Investing in the Lives of Students Cross-culturally?

Cynthia Zimmerman, Missionary, Bolivia
The Call, January-March 2017

SCCLC seeks to prepare students to impact the world for Christ.Throughout our years at Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center, we have seen the Lord work beautifully in the lives of our students.
  • A second grader leading his parents to the Lord
  • The mother of a kindergartner coming to Christ as she studied her child’s weekly Bible verses
  • A third grader praying persistently for the salvation of her grandparents in China
  • Seventh and eighth graders taking a clear stand for Christ and leading worship among the upperclassmen
  • High schoolers confessing that nothing satisfies but Jesus
  • Former students returning, excitedly sharing their acceptance of the Word of Truth that they first heard at SCCLC
  • Alumni—now parents themselves—enrolling their children in SCCLC and thanking God for transforming their lives through His Spirit, at work in and through the school
  • Graduates serving Christ literally around the globe; redeemed lives who received a quality education and are now being used by God to transform society
 About 240 students from pre-k through 12th grade study at the school.Remembering what God has done makes it easy to affirm that being a part of His work here has been worth it all!

However, sometimes we don’t see how God is moving. In 22 years of teaching in Bolivia, there have been many normal days as well as a few discouraging, bewildering, seemingly fruitless days—days when Satan tempts us to question if it is still worth it.  

SCCLC’s student body is approximately 70 percent Bolivian.Just as some days seem more fruitful than others, the “price” also seems to vary in the changing seasons of our lives. There is the sting of rising emotional costs each time one of our children leaves home to attend college in the U.S. Yet, God holds them in His hands and guards us all in His peace that truly is beyond our comprehension. There are times when the costs skyrocket, as they did for me in 2016. My father passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind my mother for whom he had been the sole caregiver in her struggle with Parkinson’s disease. For me, Mom’s only daughter, the emotional cost of teaching math in Bolivia increased exponentially.

Is it still worth it to continue serving Christ in Bolivia? What makes it worth it?  Favorable results? A reasonable cost? Simply the fact that it is what God has asked us to do?

It is interesting to consider that God undoubtedly knew that many would never choose to accept His gift of salvation. However, it was still worth it to Him to send His only Son to be the Savior of all who would believe. Likewise, it was worth it to Christ, who knew no sin, to bear the sins of all mankind—even the sins of those whom He knew would never accept the redemption that He provided for them—in His body on the cross. He paid an extravagant price, but it was worth it all because that was the Father’s will.  

SCCLC is a field ripe unto harvest. Though not every student will readily turn to Him, Christ came for each of them! It is our privilege to share the great news of the redemption and transformation that He freely offers. God still works mightily in the lives of our students and their families.

In this particular season of my life, when family concerns pull at my heart and the cost of being here is more noticeable than before, I’m realizing that the appropriate question isn’t “Is serving in Bolivia worth it?” but “Is this still what God would have us to do?” We will seek Him and follow Him however He leads. He orchestrates the plan and produces the fruit. He sets the price and provides the joy in paying it. Doing God’s will is always worth it. He is God!

GO: Each year, SCCLC needs committed Christian educators to fill vital roles on its staff. Whether you are a current student teacher or teacher, a retired teacher, or just love kids, SCCLC needs you! Contact recruiting@wgm.org to learn more.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Prayer Calendar Feb. 19-25,2017

Coming tomorrow on The Call blog:

Is It Worth Investing in the Lives of Students Cross-culturally?
"Throughout our years at Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center, we have seen the Lord work beautifully in the lives of our students."

Pray for Kurt and Cynthia Zimmerman in their ministry at Santa Cruz Learning Center. p.20

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Missionaries Answer the Hard Question: Why Go Overseas When There Are Needs in the United States?

Bill and Lydia AllshouseMexico

Bill and Lydia Allshouse, Mexico“We are all called to serve somewhere, and if God calls you to serve in another country and to another people group, then that’s where you need to be. Lydia and I didn’t know where we were going to serve, considering the needs in the U.S., but we were led to Mexico. God gave us a peace about being in Mexico, so we knew that’s what He had for us and where we should serve.

Jim and Becka Johnson, Papua New Guinea“We absolutely believe that even though there is a great spiritual need here in the United States, there’s also that great spiritual need in other countries. We believe what Christ said when He gave us the Great Commission—to go and make disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world. Wherever He calls you, we believe we have to be obedient.”

“Mission work, both overseas and here at home, is important, but you have to go where God calls you to work and how you fit into God’s plan. That’s the main thing. Whether He calls you to go overseas or whether He calls you to work here at home, both are very important. One goes with the other.”
Dan and Dana Jacobs, Kenya

“God places that special calling in your heart that you just can’t shake. Our special calling was to care for orphans and abandoned children in Kenya. Yes, there are needs here and there are abandoned and orphaned children here, but that’s not what God called us to do. He calls each of us to do something.”
Shelley Chapman, Africa Region

Shelley Chapman, Africa Region

“Rather than looking at this question as either/or, I would rather look at it as both. I believe that as missionaries, we serve both in our host country and all of our friends and family in the United States. I also think that it’s important to be embedded in the context over a long period of time in order to see the greatest impact of transformation and change. So, I want to live in the culture where I’m working in my field, which is leadership development in Africa. And then when I come home on homeland ministry assignment, it’s a time for me to invest in the lives of people that I know here in the U.S. Rather than looking at it as one way or the other, it’s the kingdom of God that we’re working on. And the kingdom of God is here in the United States and it’s all around the world. I want to be involved in that process—in that kingdom of God work—wherever that may take me.”

GoPRAY: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV). The WGM missionary staff depends on your prayer support. Partner with them in prayer through Prayer Lifeline, an email that is sent to your inbox every Tuesday with urgent needs from those on the front lines. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Prayer Calendar February 12-18,2017

Coming tomorrow on The Call blog:

Why Go Overseas When There Are Needs in the United States?

"We absolutely believe that even though there is a great spiritual need here in the United States, there's also that great spiritual need in other countries. "

Pray for a missionary you know personally. p. 12

Friday, February 10, 2017

Are Short-Term Missions Worth the Cost?

Team members of all ages are welcome.
Nathan Waggoner, Missionary, Albania
The Call, January-March 2017

Summer 2016 was a busy season for short-term volunteers in Albania. We were blessed to host a university team and two families for one- to two-week trips each and three Volunteers In Action (VIA) interns who stayed for seven weeks! Thousands of dollars were invested last summer in these short-term trips as the volunteers came alongside of us in the village. Was it worth it?

Two family teams were a great help to ministries in Albania.
If you Google the question “Are short-term missions worth the cost?” you will find thousands of 
articles —some thoughtful, some cynical—debating the question. Many articles claim that short-term missionaries benefit much more than their host communities. Most compare the funds used for travel to local wages and consider what else (presumably better) could be done with that money. Some of the examples cited would turn me off from short-term missions completely if I hadn’t experienced the other side.

Volunteers started a weekly Bible study for young ladies.The team from Asbury University (Kentucky) brought youthful enthusiasm with special skills in worship arts. A student majoring in worship arts along with Jonathan Powers, WGM’s Student Involvement director at Asbury, led a workshop for our young congregation. As a result, a committed group of youth and adults meet weekly to help plan our church services. Not only is the church service enriched and more orderly with the planning but also more people are involved each week.

The team also helped us launch a new children’s program in a neighboring village. (Incidentally, we learned about this community through distributing Christmas shoeboxes—another short-term missions outreach.) We had hoped the draw of our American visitors would help our numbers, but we were amazed when more than 80 kids and adults showed up! Our daughter, Ellie (age 11), played her guitar with Jonathan as they taught the first praise songs ever sung in that community! The youth from our village church caught the vision and have faithfully continued leading this weekly kids’ club outreach. 

Nathan (WGM Board member) and Anne Lowe and their children came to Albania on a family missions trip, and they plugged into our village ministries like they had been here from the beginning. Each family member was involved, whether preaching at church, facilitating youth Bible study, holding a chess tournament, leading a workshop for young mothers on childhood brain development, or visiting village homes. I know they left tired, but they helped encourage us and our neighbors.

Since the VIA interns were here for seven weeks, they were involved in all of the above ministries as well as starting a weekly Bible study fellowship for the young ladies in our village. They were also instrumental in helping our church’s youth prepare and lead the ongoing kids’ club meetings in our neighboring community. Both ministries have continued since they returned to the States, because people are following the patterns they set while they volunteered here with us.All of these “short-term” missionaries have left a long-term impact in our community! They strengthened our hands as career missionaries as they used their skills and abilities for the kingdom of God in Albania!

Only in eternity will we see the full dividends from the investments made this summer by short-term missionaries in Albania. But based on the returns we have already seen in this short time, the answer to the question “Was it worth it?” is a resounding YES!

GO: Ready to make your long-term impact on a short-term team or as a volunteer? Visit www.wgm.org/teams and www.wgm.org/via to learn more!