Yesterday at our church my teammates and I presented on our recent trip to a country in west Africa. It hardly seems real that just a month ago I was frantically packing to go to Africa and that due to February being a short month, it was just two weeks ago that we returned from our trip. While I had hoped to post about my adventures earlier, sufficient time has now passed that I have bee able to reflect on what I learned.
This was my first trip out of the country and I was leaving my family at home. However, I didn't have any concerns about the trip and had a peace that everything was going to be fine. The amazing thing was that we had a very smooth trip and I wouldn't change a thing. Our flights going and coming were very smooth with no delays. Our food was great (we ate like kings!) and our accommodations were wonderful. I really could not have asked for a smoother trip. The best part though was being able to see first hand how God is working in the country we visited.
I had first became acquainted with the missionaries we visited while they studied at the university where I am employed. I had read their newsletter and their Facebook posts, prayed for them, and considered myself knowledgeable of the work they were doing. But seeing their work firsthand completely blew me away! It was amazing to worship in the first church they planted and know that a mere 15 years ago no one in that locale had heard the name of Jesus. Yet today, 9 different people groups worship together. They have actively established new churches and our evangelizing others in their tribes. Hearing the stories firsthand of the sacrifices they have made and the hardships they are experiencing as a result of their decision to follow Christ was sobering and a huge reality check for me. When they follow Christ, they are literally leaving their families, traditions, and customs and have frequently paid dearly for doing so. Yet these men and women have such joy and excitement and are willing to do whatever it takes to share the Gospel with others in their people groups. I look forward to the day in the future when these people groups move from the unreached to the reached column on the Joshua Project and knowing that I shook hands with the first believers in these groups who were instrumental in reaching their people for Christ.
I'm still processing my trip and these experiences and I will continue to do so for some time. We are blessed to live in a country where following Christ is in many ways easy. We have so much, are so blessed, and don't experience the persecution and difficulties common in other parts of the world. However, those same blessings and how easy we have it often causes us to become complacent in our faith. We can't afford to be complacent any longer. The enemy has such a visible hold over the country I visited yet has an equally strong invisible hold over our lives because it is so easy to put off until tomorrow what ought to be done today.