Thursday, June 23, 2016

Off to Alaska

"Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
(Mark 16:15-16 ESV)

When I arrived in Beulah to serve as their pastor, the deacons immediately raised a question.  They heard that I’d taken a group from my previous congregation up to the AFLC mission work in Naknek, Alaska.  And so, with drool practically dripping from their mouths, they asked: “Can we go too?”
That question sparked the trip on which we’ll be embarking early Monday morning.  A group of twelve from Prince of Peace will be heading to the mission.  And I pray that, not only will we be able to serve the missionaries and the community of Naknek, but that it will also be a life transforming experience for all who go.
Even though I feel called to serve as a pastor here in the United States, missions is a great interest of mine.  It’s heavy on my heart.  I’ve always enjoyed praying for our missionaries and hearing from them when they’ve returned on furlough.  But I’d never been able to take part in a trip until I first went to Alaska.
A year later, I was elected to the World Mission Committee of the AFLC.  I was immediately invited to go to our mission fields in Uganda and India.  And what a blessing it was to not only hear about these ministries and to pray for them, but to see them first hand.  What a blessing it was to be given the opportunity to serve.
It’s for this reason that, as our current Alaska trip was being planned, I decided to bring along my oldest son.  I want him to see what the Lord is doing outside of our own community and culture.  I want him to experience the blessing of coming alongside our missionaries to serve them.  I want him to experience the blessing of being a blessing to the community served by the mission.
With that, I want to thank all of those who’ve contributed to this trip.  You are a greater blessing than you even realize.  I ask also that you’ll pray for us as we go.  Pray for our safety and that the Lord will use us.  Pray that the Lord will work in us as we ask him to work through us.
Consider also what you might do to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  If you can go on a mission trip, I encourage you to go.  But, by all means, share the gospel right where you are.  Support the work of your local congregation and also the missionaries who serve around the world with your gifts and prayers.  Use the gifts that God has given to you to point people to Christ and to simply be a blessing.  But, by all means, go.

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