1:00 am Conversations That Changed My Life

It was November of my junior year at High Point University. My roommate and I had participated in too many 1:00 am conversations about what we were going to do with our summer, and yet, here we were again. What would our parents think? How would we make money over the summer? What about an internship? What about my friends and family at home? Would we get to see them at all? These were the questions we had been wrestling with for weeks. My roommate and I both had an 8:00 am class the next morning, so we decided it was time to actually sleep. The next morning, as our alarms went off, we looked at each other and decided this is it. We were going to print out applications and start filling them out. We met after class in the library and started the process. The process that seemed so daunting and scary, yet exciting. If you haven’t caught on yet, I’m talking about City Project.

1. The Decision

The decision to do City Project can honestly feel like one of the biggest decisions you can make in your college career. That’s what it felt like for me. I had just recently become a Christian, and I was craving more of Jesus. I wanted to know more about who he was. I wanted to know how my life could start to look more like Jesus’ and what it meant to really live out life in college, and after college, as a Christian. It was still a hard decision though. As I continued to read about City Project and ask questions, I realized that the Lord had put City Project in my path for just these reasons. Through traveling, teachings, and community, I learned more about Jesus and how to live my life for Jesus.

2. The Hope That Is Within Me

During the Greensboro portion of City Project, we had teachings every morning for about three hours. I’m not going to lie. Some days getting up early and going to a teaching was hard, but the reward was so worth it. We learned about a ton of things. From hermeneutics (and what that even means) to what it looks like to be in deep, God honoring community with one another. The teachings sparked questions and thoughts that I had never had and more importantly, they allowed a space where we could ask questions and not be worried what others would think.

One of my favorite teachings was about apologetics. We learned how to defend Christianity and our faith. This was so imperative for me because I am the only believer in my family. Being a new believer, it was terrifying to think about sharing with anyone, let alone my family. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “. . . in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” The teaching helped me to do exactly what this passage says. “Regard Christ the Lord as holy.” I could see more of Christ and why he is Lord. And through that, I fell even more in love with him. This teaching also made me “ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” We learned different facts and reasons as to why the Bible is good and why it is true. I felt like I could confidently share my faith and not be crushed when people criticized me or disagreed with me. I was finally starting to truly understand and believe even more fully “the hope that is within me.

3. The Leap

Looking back four years later on my summer in City Project, I can see how gracious the Lord was in allowing me to have such a life-altering summer. If I hadn’t done City Project, I would not be as confident in my faith as I am. I wouldn’t have been a missionary on my campus, and I would not have been able to see students go from death to life through community group at HPU. City Project shaped the way I view my faith, how that affects and can influence people around me, and most importantly, how I view Jesus. If you’re on the fence, let me challenge you to take the leap. I did. I’m sure if you’ve ever talked to someone who has done City Project they have told you “it was the best summer ever.” You probably don’t believe them, but what if it’s true? Take the leap, and come and see!

-Sarah Richardson (Finance Team)

For more information and to apply click here

Stories from the Field: Hurricane Response

Audible silence filled the van as we travelled into the devastated area of Big Pine Key. A wall of belongings and debris separated us from the waterway. After hours of finding our way, we became lost in the silence, internally processing what it was that we were seeing. One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was, “Now, it’s personal.” When all is well in our own lives, or our attention is on private troubles, our focus leaves Christ and the needs of our nation and every nation. What a gut check this weekend was!

Introduced to NCBM

Partnered alongside North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM)—or, as it is newly named, Baptists On Mission—we were welcomed with open arms, supplied bunk trailers for sleep, hot meals to keep us full, and equipment to make more of an impact in the lives of those affected by Hurricane Irma. Going out to separate sites the first day, we were told that the vision of NCBM is, “Every Christian sharing God’s love with hurting people through word and deed.”

This mission reminded us that the emphasis is on broken people, and through our service, we would be able to better impact their lives. We split up Friday afternoon, and at my site, we began building small piles that would be added to the wall that we had passed on the drive in. We worked with a couple who had been clearing out the inside of the house. They seemed drained but optimistic that it would all get done despite their lack of insurance. A few hours later, we had torn down a stubborn tree, hauled debris to the road, cleared much of the backyard, tarped the roof, and engaged in a lot of conversation. Although the woman’s father was currently there to help, they were far away from family and appreciated our help immensely. They verbalized how our efforts differed from others who had come out of obligation, whether by job or service. After working together for an afternoon, our team truly began to bond.

Bonding with the Team

At meals with all of the teams and volunteers, we became affectionately know as the “Young Crew.” Most volunteers coming down to Key West were retired—50’s and up. They were astonished that we would take off work and school to come, but collectively we felt the call to share Christ with those who were in need. Each story of how we became part of the Mercy Hill Disaster Relief Team to Key West truly speaks of how God works in mysterious ways and for our good.

Back to Work

Heading into the second day of work, my group was sent to an older lady’s house that had been flooded three to four feet until the water receded. Most of the belongings trashed, we dug in and removed the dry wall and some of the ceiling that had already grown mold. Then, we moved on to spraying and chainsaw work on a large tree in her backyard. The damage we found inside her house wasn’t what surprised us the most, but rather the bible verses scattered throughout the home and a sweet picture that we discovered when removing dry wall. It was an image of two people in red and blue standing side-by-side and read, “I love you mom, and Jesus loves you too, like I do.”

When talking with Debbie, the owner of the home, we found that she was fairly alone in the tearing down and rebuilding process: Her children were now unbelieving and living far away, her ailing parents were of Jewish faith, and now she had to deal with this tragedy on her own. Annie, on our team, really took time to get to know her story and hear her heart. We came together and prayed over her life, the lives of her family, and the work still to come. By the end of the third day, when we had all come together to take down her tree and clear the yard, the burden on her spirit had been lifted some. She seemed more joyful and hopeful. Only God can be praised for bringing encouragement and restoration to her.

A Few Highlights

Our weekend wasn’t all work, and we explored the city at night which appeared strangely untouched by the storm. The last evening, we shared more of our stories with each other and laughed at the table together. It was a beautiful picture: twelve believers of various ages, testimonies, and plans for the future, united by one faith in Christ. This was my favorite moment, imagining what it would be like for us to be in heaven together: a family remembering and praising God for all that He has done and how he brought us together.

Because it made such an impact on our group as a whole, I also wanted to speak about Sunday School. For those attending Mercy Hill, it may have been a long time since going to a designated Sunday morning class, and many of us were tentative about attending those offered on this trip. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the vulnerability of our team and the church members who were in our class. We talked about Caleb and his unwavering faith. Through his story, we were challenged to increase our own trust in God, fears that we may have, and the promises God has made that should help us trust him more.

Not being able to include every detail of the weekend is hard because there is so much more than what is written here. Unreservedly, I would say that this is the best mission trip that I have been part of because each individual came out of compassion and calling to the need in Key West. We left refreshed by the fact that because of prayer many more had come to replace us, but saddened that our team would soon disband. In about a week we will reunite again before being sent out for the holidays, and I cannot wait to see what God has been doing in the lives of our team!

We Are Called to Go

If God is tugging on your heart to serve or to be sent, listen intently and pray with expectation. It is no mystery that we are called to go: “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). Likewise, we are told by Jesus in Matthew 25:40, “…And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Samantha Rouse (Mercy Hill Member)

Christmas Is Never as Good as We Remember

What do you think of when you think of Christmas? Is there a specific moment in time that comes to mind when you reminisce on the perfect Christmas? For me, I have a distinct memory of riding in the back of my parents’ car and arriving on the snow-lined streets of my grandparents’ house in a tiny, rural town in upstate New York. I remember seeing the snow covered evergreen tree that was in the yard and the soft falling flakes, dulling the street light just enough to give it a soft glow, exchanging the harsh white light for a moment of mellow warmth. I may have only been out there for a few seconds—surely my parents didn’t want me to freeze—but for me, that moment lasted hours.

Just like the snow that danced around the street light, Christmas puts a blanket of warmth on everything. Well, for a kid at least. I remember the comfort of my grandparents’ house, the holiday assortment of confections, and the smell of the Christmas feast that descends throughout each room bringing the feel of Christmas everywhere it goes. I remember the embraces of family and friends and the congenial attitude of everyone towards each other. And the gifts—oh the gifts.

But then I grew up.

We begin to realize that Christmas isn’t ever like that for everyone and that even our own Christmases never live up to the nostalgia. No matter how much we try to bring that “magic” back, we are often struck with the realization that the world is broken, and that brokenness is creeping right outside our doors. It is waiting for an opportunity to barge into our homes and ruin everything. Brokenness takes no thought or care to our internal decisions to play nice and enjoy the holidays.

God’s Christmas

But what does God think of when he thinks of Christmas (well, if he chose to humble himself to ponder such things)? I think it’s obvious that his mind would go to a stable in Bethlehem. One in which lay his only begotten son, Jesus. He might think of the smell of the stable and the warmth of the swaddling clothes. He would remember the shepherds who he called to bow before his Messiah. He certainly would recall the praise of the multitude of angels in those fields saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” (Luke 2:14).

The Incarnation as Promise

With all our longings to return to our perfect Christmas that perhaps never was, God, on the first Christmas that ever was, gave the world the greatest gift there ever was. This child, this Savior, is the Promise that all the Christmas joy and comfort that we long for will be given lavishly to those who believe in him and his sacrifice.

The angel said to the shepherds: “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11-12). What better way can we express that feeling of the perfect Christmas than “great joy”? This Savior will be the one through whom all the brokenness of the world will be mended.

The Fulfillment of Immanuel

It is good for Christians to look back, but perhaps we should look ahead just as much during the Christmas season. The Book of Revelation shows us that the ultimate fulfillment of the good news of Christmas—Immanuel, God with us—will soon be brought to completion: “Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God” (21:3). The great joy, the warmth, the family, the feast, the peace, and the congeniality will all be there, deriving their source directly from the presence of God.

The perfect Christmas will last for eternity.

-Alex Nolette (Community Groups/Equip Coordinator)

Please click here for further information about Mercy Hill’s upcoming Christmas services and to RSVP.

Bringing our Eagerness to Completion

During the Together Initiative, we referred to 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 regularly. Why? Paul expertly paints the picture of the role of generosity in the Christian life and how we can look to Jesus as our example in generosity. But we have more connections to these chapters than just a general theological connection. We are now in the same position as the Corinthians.

It Was Time to Finish What They Started

The reason Paul was calling the Corinthians to generosity was that Jerusalem was being hit with a severe famine and the churches there were suffering from hunger. The Corinthians were eager to give and had committed to do so. Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians would see their commitment through: “And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. Now also finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion, according to what you have” (2 Cor. 8:10-11).

It Is Time to Finish What We Started

Mercy Hill, it is clear from the statement of our commitments that want to be involved generously in the mission of God. Through the Together Initiative, we have seen around 800 people take a move up the generosity ladder; 300 of those people are giving to Mercy Hill (or to any church for that matter) for the very first time. Praise God for what he has done in our hearts! He is taking the gospel message and using it to chisel down the still-stony parts of our heart and replacing them with flesh that is moldable to his will. That is what God constantly does in a Christian’s life, and we have seen it first hand at Mercy Hill.

Yet, our commitments of over $9.8 million are just that: commitments. It is now time for us to “finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion.” This means we need to keep our commitments in the forefront of our mind and put in place guards on our finances so that we can honor those commitments. Whether that means the simple things like making a budget, eating beans and rice, cancelling unnecessary subscriptions, etc. or big things like selling the things we want but don’t need or toning down our Christmas gifts, our goal for the next two years is to not only complete our commitment, but to do so with eagerness. Two years is a long time, and there are going to be many “emergencies” that will try to excuse us from giving—some legitimate, others not so legitimate. Let’s put the safeguards in place now.

This past weekend’s services were entitled “Big Give Weekend.” This was the kickoff for people that wanted to start giving to Together early and for those who had committed one-time gifts. This is just the beginning of our generosity. Let’s see it through.

-Alex Nolette (Community Groups/Equip Coordinator)

Together Commitment Reveal from Mercy Hill Church on Vimeo.

How Pants Made Me See the Dignity of All Work

Had I been on trial for a right understanding of work, I would have been found guilty. Had you asked me about the dignity of work two and a half years ago, I would have given you a beautifully wrapped answer outlining 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Of course, work has dignity. If “whatever you do” could be done to the glory of God, then certainly work could glorify God. I knew this, but I didn’t actually believe it—that is, until I sat down one day during my City Life discipleship group and thought about how exactly the pants I was wearing came to be.

I remember the specific pair of pants I was wearing because I had to purchase work clothes. My typical sweatpants and Nike shorts wouldn’t be acceptable for my summer internship. Who knew that a pair of black pants with white polka dots would totally change my understanding of work?

Can YOU Make a Pair of Pants from Scratch?

The question that sparked this journey in my head was, “What if I was responsible for the entire process of making my own pants?” Maybe you’re reading this and thinking you could do it because you know how to sow. But let’s take this all the way back. First, there would have to be some kind of fiber that was spun into something like yarn. I don’t know where to find such a fiber or how to spin it. Then, the yarn would have to be knit or woven to create cloth. Again, I have no idea how to do this. Cloth is then finished by something called wet processes. I don’t even know what that is, let alone how to do it. Finally, it has to be dyed or printed by embroidering with colored yarns. All of that happens before you can even get to the sewing part. Clearly, if I were responsible for making my own pants, I would be in a lot of trouble.

All Kinds of Work Are Glorifying to God

I am incredibly grateful that my only responsibility in the pants process is purchasing them. In turn, I am incredibly grateful—and indebted in a sense—for those who are a part of every step in the pants-making process. Prior to City Life, my honest belief was that if someone wasn’t sharing the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, it was a waste of time. In my mind and heart, I had elevated vocational ministry and decided that all other work was second class, especially more menial jobs like spinning yarn. However, through City Life, I not only learned that marketplace vocations were equally glorifying to God, but that all work was equally glorifying to God, from making pants to performing open heart surgeries.

Maybe you’re like me. You would never say it out loud, but deep down you believe that some work is more glorifying to God than other work. You need your heart to be changed to see that all work has dignity because we have a God who works and invited us to work as well. City Life is for you!

For more information on City Life, click here

-Greta Griswold (2 yr. College Resident)

2017 Week of Prayer for International Missions

December 3-10 has been designated as a week of prayer for international missions. Here are three reasons why you should consider participating as you start your December.

1. Keep Things in Perspective

With gifts to purchase, deals to take advantage of, events to attend, and family gatherings to plan, the Christmas season can make focusing our attention on Christ tough. Perhaps you are feeling the pull and tug between the cultural Christmas and your inward desires to spend the season stirring your affections for Christ. Committing to spend time each day praying for the nations will lift your head and heart from the fray of the consumer-driven holiday jolly to matters of eternal significance.

2. Knit Your Heart to What Matters

Another tendency this time of year is to dwell on the possessions we desire. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:21 that our hearts follow our treasure, and praying for others is a powerful anecdote to our self-absorbed desires. When we learn to pray “Thy will be done,” our hearts begin desiring God’s will more and more.

3. Be Part of Something Greater

The ultimate reason to spend time praying for the nations is because prayer works. The birth of Christ shows us God is involved in our world. He is active in creating a people for himself from among all peoples. He hears our prayers and is moved by them. When we pray, God works. He works in our world making what was thought impossible possible. By asking God to redeem the nations for his glory, we take part in the mission for which Christ came (see Psalm 2:7-8).

To participate in the week of prayer for international missions, simply click here. The site has prayer points for each day along with a 2-3 minute video highlighting an area where the light of the gospel is penetrating darkness.

-Bryan Miller (Connections/Missions Director)

Part of Our Heart Is Leaving for Philly

At Mercy Hill, we get excited about church planting because church plants increase gospel presence exponentially around the world. Indeed, the church is God’s plan A for the world. Not only are we seeing the gospel preached, people baptized, and lives shaped by the Spirit here at Mercy Hill, but when a church is planted in a place like Philadelphia, PA, we get to see and be a part of what God will do through their faithfulness in bringing the gospel to their neighborhood in west Philly.

Through the Together Initiative, we are all involved in Mark and Whitney Turner’s efforts. We all have skin in the game such that we all will rejoice when we hear of the salvation that God is bringing to Philly through the word about Christ. But let us not just partner with them financially, but also (and more importantly) let’s partner with them in prayer. And maybe God is already after you about joining them in presence, calling you to join the launch team. Church, let’s never forget the weight of what we get to be involved in through God’s calling. In whatever way we can, let us stitch our hearts to the mission of God through the church plants we partner with, rejoicing when they rejoice and weeping when they weep.

-Alex Nolette (Community Groups/Equip Coordinator)

 

Redemption Heights Church 2018 from Mercy Hill Church on Vimeo.

1600 Reasons to Tell People about the Weekender in 2018

In looking back at the amazing year of 2017 through the lens of the Weekender, I am astonished at the numbers. This year alone we have seen over 400 people go through the Weekender. That brings us to not just over 1500 people (our five-year goal) but over 1600 people total through the Weekender since it began. We have also seen over 300 people go through our On Ramp process. This has been the biggest year thus far for Mercy Hill and the Weekender.

People Are the Mission

But we need to always remember that these numbers aren’t just numbers, these numbers represent people, people with a story. For many of them, it is a story where they heard the gospel for the first time, and God has begun to work in their lives. 

Each person who attended the Weekender this year got to hear the story of how God has been at work in Mercy Hill for five years. They came on Friday and got to hear our DNA from Pastor Andrew—in other words, who we are and who we will always be. They heard our Theological Distinctives—what we believe and why we believe it. They came back on Saturday and heard about Covenant Membership, Community Groups, serving, and stewardship. These things are all essential to the discipleship process at Mercy Hill. 

Out of the over 400 people who came in 2017, over 300 of them went through the On Ramp process on Sunday of the Weekender. This means we had an opportunity to add volunteers to the serve teams of First Impressions, Kids, and Worship Arts. That means that more people can be served at Mercy Hill in 2018. 

There Is More to Do

But the job isn’t done yet! Our Edgefield campus launches in January 2018 and with the excitement and planning the Together Initiative brings, there will be many new people at Mercy Hill over 2018, and we need to see them go to the Weekender. We are seeing roughly over 2000 people weekly attend services at Mercy Hill, so as we grow, we need to see more people serving, in groups, and in covenant membership. To do that we need those who haven’t been to a Weekender to go and those that have, shoulder-tapping others and inviting them to the Weekender. The Weekender is the “big front door” to Mercy Hill. Let’s see another 1600 walk through it in 2018.

-Paul Howington (Assimilation Associate Director)

What is Serve the City?

Serve the City is an opportunity to see first-hand what it looks like to plant a church. It is a snapshot of the movement of God across the nation. People are the mission, and the Church is God’s plan A. He moves through people to save people and one of the strategic ways to do that is through church planting. Sending is at the heart of Mercy Hill, it is the heart beat of the Summit network, and it is also the mission of God.

A Grand Vision

In 2010, J.D Greear had an audacious dream to plant 1,000 churches in our generation. In the past seven years there have been over twenty-six churches sent out including our very own, Mercy Hill Church, and the ones we have helped send: Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando, and currently, Philadelphia. This coming spring, a team will be sent for Serve the City to Grace Alive Church in Orlando, Florida to become the hands and feet of Jesus. It is an opportunity to love our church partners well, understand the city in a new light, and support and pray with the launch team and congregation.

Over the past five years we have seen God do incredible things in and through Mercy Hill. Three campuses launched, over 500 baptisms, and countless testimonies of salvation. We want to care and serve our city well by reaching out to the homeless, orphans, prisoners, and pregnancy care center during serve week as God continues to redeem the broken parts of our city. But you know what’s even better than that? There are stories just like this happening in churches around the country.

Serve the City

Serve the City is an opportunity to see how vast the movement of God is and become a part of something that is bigger than Mercy Hill, the Triad, and ourselves. Last spring I got the opportunity to lead a trip to Baltimore, Maryland to work with Pastor Brad O’Brien who planted Jesus Our Redeemer (JOR) in 2014. One of the unique things about this church plant is that when Jesus Our Redeemer was launched, it merged with Lee Street Baptist Church which was founded over 200 years prior in 1855. God has been working in Baltimore to save and redeem before JOR was even conceived. For over 100 years in Federal Hill, Lee Street congregation has been loving the city of Baltimore and creating disciples and partnerships around the neighborhood.

One of the partnerships we had the privilege to work with was a woman who strategically placed herself in the inner-city to be a witness to the community. As we sat on the floor, listening to her testimony, she talked about getting robbed, letting strangers into her home, and being in the process of adopting a little boy from her neighborhood. We heard of God saving and redeeming her broken past to become the hands and feet of Jesus in Baltimore. Through her story, I was reminded that God is working far beyond anything I could even comprehend. I often get stuck in my bubble of what he is doing right here in the Triad, but her story was a sweet reminder of Psalm 67—that God’s way may be known on earth and salvation among all nations.

This is for you too, college student.

How are you, college student, a strategic part of this church planting plan? Because after college, you have obtained a degree and are most likely not tied down. You could go anywhere and leverage your first two years after college to see the gospel spread across the nation through the church planting movement. Whether church planting is something you’re passionate about or you are considering moving somewhere out of North Carolina upon graduation or you simply love to serve, this is for you. Come and be a part of Serve the City to see for yourself the way God is working to reach all peoples. Experience first-hand what it could be like to leverage your first two years out of college to join a church plant. Taste and see what God is doing in the cities throughout the United States.

Kristen Schleich (College Team)

 

Holding the Ropes

Our aim as a church is to be a sending church. In the book of 3 John, the Apostle John instructs the church how we should care for those sent out for the sake of exalting the name of Jesus. He writes, “You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 6). One of the ways we aim to care well for our missionaries is through our Mission Advocacy Teams. Here is an update from one of our missionaries on how her Advocacy Team Leaders help her carry forth the mission.

The first Christian worker to venture to my part of the world did so amongst a great deal of uncertainty. He was the first of thousands who would travel across the ocean to bring light into a country left in spiritual darkness, paving the way for generations of faithful missionaries to come. Before he left his friends and family, a brother in Christ spoke this to him, “There is a gold mine in [South Asia], but it seems almost as deep as the center of the earth. Who will venture to explore it?” He replied, “I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.”

The (Un)glamourous Missionary Life

At the risk of sounding morbid, I would compare the experience of moving overseas to hosting your own funeral. There’s a great deal of excitement and words spoken and hugs given as you leave, but somewhere between the tarmac at RDU and 20,000 feet above the Atlantic it gets quiet for the first time, and you realize that you’re alone. And no matter how many handwritten letters, texts, emails, and videos have been stored up in the suitcase stuffed in the overhead compartment, you understand that there now exists an entire ocean between you and everyone you love.

It’s in these moments that the glamourous imaginings about life as a missionary start to lose their shine. And it’s in these moments that you need to know who’s holding the ropes.

My Advocacy Team Leaders Hold My Rope

From the day that my Advocacy Team Leaders agreed to become my “rope-holders,” it was obvious that they took their commitment seriously. As I prepared to go overseas, they met with me frequently, prayed for me continuously, and were a constant reminder that I wasn’t walking into this new season alone. In fact, they personally rallied an army to love and support me after I left. They helped to establish a relationship with their community group and planned a sweet commissioning lunch to say goodbye to my Mercy Hill community. They reached out to my own family to encourage and support my parents through the process. They even drove up to Virginia on a rainy Wednesday afternoon to attend my commissioning service after my field training concluded.

Fast forward to two months on the field and their support has only become more valuable to me. My Advocacy Team Leaders and I keep in touch weekly to share victories, pray over losses, and to check in on my spiritual health. Living in a place where sound teaching and healthy churches are few and far between can cause many missionaries to burn out or be overrun by sin struggles that go unchecked without strong community or accountability. My Advocacy Team Leaders are here to hold me accountable in holiness, but also in boldness, walking in a manner worthy to that which I have been called. They ask me how my time in the word has been, who I’ve shared with that week, and how their community group can be lifting up my team and our work here. They’re also on standby for moments of homesickness or discouragement, not just to comfort, but to remind me of the gospel when I lose sight of the power of the One who holds me in his hand.

Don’t get me wrong, moving around the world at the command of Christ has been an excellent adventure. New foods, new friends, a new language, and new obstacles to daily living has kept me close to the Lord and assured that apart from him I can do nothing, particularly when it comes to catching the lizard who lives in my bathroom.

Whether I’m accidentally saying something inappropriate to a taxi driver in my broken language or burning yet another attempt at a local cuisine, life is beautiful, messy, challenging, and absolutely sanctifying in this new home. Having precious friends who are committed to holding the ropes makes it possible to stay connected to the body of believers I love at home while investing in those who we’re praying will join the family of faith here.

In a Place Like South Asia, There Are Anything But Small Updates

Just this evening, a few hours before sitting down to write this, my roommate and I went prayer walking out in our neighborhood. We came across a young couple, started a conversation, and after hearing about their new business venture, offered to pray to Jesus for its success. Without any prompting, the woman said, “Hmm. My family is Hindu, but I’ve always wanted to go to church. Will you take me?”

The Lord was not messing around when he said in Luke 10:2 that “the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” If we are a church committed to sending laborers into this harvest, then we need to be a church committed to holding the ropes for those who are sent. I will always be grateful that my Advocacy Team Leaders stepped up to grab hold of mine.

Mercy Hill is committed to sending our best and caring well for our sent out ones. To become part of our Missionary Advocacy Teams, sign up for our Missionary Care Training on December 1-2 by clicking here.