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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Warning Signs

Here is an article that every church leader needs to read.

UUPG Summit

This weekend I'll be leaving for Dallas, where I'll be attending a summit on reaching the __________ people in Southeast Asia (name omitted for security reasons).  Our church is in the process of selecting an unreached, unengaged people group (there are about 3,800 of them around the world), so that we might help reach them with the gospel of Christ. We don't yet know if we'll adopt the ___________ or someone else, but it'll be nice to meet folks who have done the same thing that we are wanting to do.

Please pray for our church as we go through this process  We don't want to choose an UUPG willy-nilly.  Choosing a group means making a multi-year commitment, so we want to do it wisely.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

April

Soon after our family arrived in Brownsville we met a young lady named April at our church.  April is from the Chicago area, and had just moved to Brownsville herself to teach at a local school.  She ended up helping in our ESL ministry, and was quite skilled at it.

In a few weeks April will be moving to Shell, Ecuador to teach at the Nate Saint Missionary School, where she'll be teaching missionaries' kids during the 2012 - 2013 school year.  We'll sure miss seeing April around, but are excited that she has such a wonderful opportunity.

I think it was Rick Warren who said that we shouldn't judge a church by its seating capacity, but by its sending capacity.  In other words, a healthy church is not one where lots of like minded people puddle up to bask in the glow, but one that is actively sending folks out to impact darkness.

April won't receive a salary in this position.  She'll be totally supported by the financial support of friends, and will need about $1,050 a month to make it.  If you'd like to help April Kujawa (even if it's just a one-time gift), you can do so at the HCJB website (account # 128832).

What Now?

Our team has been home from the DR for several days now, but we are still rejoicing over what we experienced.  We gave a trip report to the church Sunday, and everyone seemed to enjoy the update.

It's important to note that the medical clinics (like we conducted) are just a part of a larger strategy to reach the DR.  To see what I mean, visit this website from SCORE International.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DR - Nursing Home

The Monday of our trip was part food distribution, part nursing home ministry.  This particular nursing home is next door to a church, and the pastor serves as the administrator.  As with so much of what we saw, the Dominicans do the best they can with what they have.

On this day we took our medical clinic to them.  The doctors went from patient to patient, diagnosing as best they could, and giving prescriptions to those who were sick.  Here I am explaining the evangelistic bracelets that we had given to them, and offering to pray with them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What We Did

You already know about our medical missions trip.  But you may be wondering....."what, exactly, goes on during a medical clinic"?  It's a simple system, really, but it works in a missions environment.  The patient first goes to "triage", where his name, weight, age, and blood pressure etc. are taken.  Then he waits until the doctor is free.  We had 2 physicians with us, so we could shuffle them through without too long a wait.  Once the doctor finishes the examination, the patient waits at pharmacy while his prescription is being filled (every patient got something, even if it was just vitamins and a toothbrush).  Once the patient receives his meds, and instructions on how to use them, he is free to go.

I've given a lot of thought to what medical teams like ours do.  Sure, it's a temporary fix in many cases.   But is it a waste of time? 

Try this thought experiment: you are living in one of the communities we served.  It's a hot, dry climate; there is no running water or indoor plumbing, and you can find every disease imaginable.  Everyone's hungry and dehydrated.  You make 3 dollars a day, and 2 dollars of that goes to rent a squalid little shack.  Needless to say, there's no access to good medical care.   Wouldn't you be happy to see the team of Americans coming into your neighborhood, offering free medical care in Jesus' name?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The D.R. And Answered Prayer

If you've ever planned a mission trip, you know that there are lots of things that can go wrong: lost luggage, missed flights, car accidents, sickness, customs issues.......the mind boggles.  With the exception of a couple of team members who got held up in Atlanta, we had none of this.  This is a big deal to me, because we had a ton of medication with us.  I had visions of some zealous customs official, his brow furrowed, telling us that, no, we couldn't bring our meds into his country.  Then what??

But I worried for nothing.  We were not only able to bless the people of DR with what we brought, but we also left quite a bit of stuff for the medical clinic that operates regularly there.  And that's feels pretty good.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dominican Republic

Many, many thanks to those of you who prayed for our mission team.  We got back in town Friday evening.  There is much to report, but for now I'll just say that the trip couldn't have gone much better.  I'll fill in some of the blanks in coming days.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It All Comes Down To This

After over a year of planning, church luncheons, and about a bazillian e-mails, our mission trip to the Dominican Republic officially begins tomorrow.  We had our final team meeting last night.  It was a night for prayer and for going over some last minute details.  We also had to parcel out the medication that we'll be taking (wish I had taken a picture).

If you want specific things to pray for, I'd like to ask you to pray that
  • the medication we are taking, some of which is prescription, would pass through customs w/o any problems; 
  • our team members would remain healthy;
  • the people we come into contact with will be touched, physically and spiritually, by the ministry;
  • God would watch over our loved ones while we are gone.
One of the best things about short term mission work is that there is often a strong bond that develops among the team members, and one that lasts long after the trip is over.  I'm already seeing this happen with us.  If you've ever experienced this, you know how sweet it is. We have a great team assembled; I know it'll be a great trip.