One of the things I hear a lot from people of faith is the statement, ”I’m trying to figure out if God is calling me to go to _______.” It’s a struggle I can appreciate, particularly in light of how frustrated I myself become by hearing the testimony of people who seem to get daily, detailed direction from on high. I must confess that I’m not so enlightened. It may be my own spiritual insensitivity or it may be that God knows and insists on the deeper values of the struggle to discover his will. My hunch is that both are true.
But it’s also my opinion that discerning God’s call to a mission trip in South Africa is probably one of the easier of the divine knots to untie. And though I’m always skeptical of step 1, step 2, step 3 formulas, I’m going to take a shot at this one.
Step 1: Do you have any kind of history of being intrigued with Africa? I know I do. It started back when I was a kid watching Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan, swinging through the jungles of Africa, wrestling lions, crocodiles and even a rhinoceros; saving Jane or Boy from impending peril on a weekly basis; basically surrounded by danger but fearing nothing. (The fact that I would even remember his actual name after 50 years should tell you something)! Just a little boy’s hero in a fascinating place, but in retrospect, the first step on a road leading somewhere. Or perhaps you’ve been hooked by Africa’s music….the unique rhythms, unusual vocals and pulsating bass notes that seem to originate deep within your chest. Or maybe it’s the rich history of the country that ranges from the glory of Egypt to the desecration of dictators, slave ships and disease. Regardless of the what, where or when, don’t you wonder if that original allure was a foreshadowing of something else?….something greater?
Step 2: Have you pondered the plight of Africans and felt some pangs of compassion for the people who suffer from extreme poverty, disease, warlords, prejudice and apartheid, hunger, helplessness and life in refugee camps, shantytowns and squatters villages? Have you acknowledged, “There by the grace of God, go I?” but done so with more than just a passing thought? Has it ever become something of a gnawing beast in your gut?
Step 3: Do you believe that when Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world…,” he wasn’t talking about everyone else but you? And do you believe the Scriptures when they say
On February 23rd of 2010 we’ll be returning to South Africa in faithfulness to our partnership with Living Hope and out of an abiding love for the children of Red Hill, the community in which we’ve chosen to invest ourselves. We need volunteers….lots of smiling faces and arms to embrace the children who are dependent on us. We also need people who can sing, build, teach, encourage, love and work as a team for the sake of God’s kingdom.
If you think this trip is daunting, it is not! We stay in a beautiful team house on the beach and have incredible meals prepared for us there. The schedule is purposeful but not strenuous. You will meet unforgettable people and see things you’ve never even imagined. You will be changed!
So you see, this decision is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Don’t waste your all your time and money planning a forgettable vacation. Plan to do something that could never be forgotten and never be regretted…not in the “here” and certainly not in the hereafter. Write or call Brent Hutchinson and sign up for South Africa! (firstname.lastname@example.org – 615-861-3663)