The Truth, I’M UPSET

A 51-year streak of VBS-doing, youth-witnessing, Jesus-film-showing, fun-loving, sunburn showing, short-term mission trips is on the line.  The thought of your church group missing the opportunity for Jesus to gather children together for VBS in 2020 just makes me mad.  

When you take a short-term-missions trip with TIME Ministries, you’re on the front line.  Our short-term ministry has a local church focus in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba and Haiti.  When you answer the call to go and sacrifice so much you to help a disadvantaged church stage backyard Bible clubs, VBS, sports ministry and much more. You build relationships that last forever in the name of Jesus. Think about it!  In 2020, many lifechanging opportunities will be missed because of the virus.

These opportunities, the ones that have been turned into hope by all of those who have partnered with us in this mission, are worth saving. They are worth preserving, and figuring out and fighting for.

Keeping TIME alive in 2020 is my new mission. I do it because TIME is so effective at building relationship in the Kingdom of Jesus. What other ministry can you think of that can go teach English at a local school and help them find Jesus? What other ministry can hold a baseball camp to have 117 boys accept Jesus into their lives and have a local church to follow up on these boys? What other ministry can assist a Dominican pastor build 4 chapels and one shelter in 3 communities to bring better education, health care, all with Jesus as the foundation? I am upset.

I used to be a Youth Pastor! I remember two of the most effective opportunities in the years doing youth work.  One, weekend retreats, built on the study of the Characteristics of God using the book, “Knowledge of the Holy” by AW Tozer. Two, TIME’s short-term mission trips. The former taught the abstract of a Gospel life. The short-term trip made the Gospel tangible.          

Why am I upset? Because TIME has local churches who need help growing. Pastor Carlos Abreu in the village Pica Pica for one. Go read Acts chapters 4 – 9 and understand how these stories parallel how the community of Pica Pica has grown. These chapters read easily and tell the story of how, Gospel centered short-term missions’ trips grew the early church and how local churches today are growing through short-term missions. Short-term missions done right promotes the Gospel through the local church.  

Go read it! See how Peter and John in chapter 4 are met with opposition from local communities. Read how Peter preached Jesus, proclaiming His resurrection to same leaders who crucified Jesus. Read how this inspired local churches to worship God with one heart, one mind.  

Read on how God put his authority and power on display and how the communities responded by bringing the sick and Satan-controlled to be healed. Read how the community leaders again who were threatened by Jesus underestimated the power of Jesus and His gospel and allowed Peter and John go about their work, thinking the movement was fading, irrelevant.

Read Chapter 6,how the Gospel was winning the communities over to the local church. They grew so fast they needed to enlist new leadership. Even priests converted. Read how they heard the voices in the discriminated against in the food lines. The local church responded with local church leadership to take care of the needs of the people.  Chapter 7 is the inspiring story of Stephen.

Read chapter 8 about how the Stephen stoning set off the persecution of the local church. How all believers became missionaries, preaching Jesus resurrected. How the communities saw God in action and hung on every word of the short-term missionaries.  How even a local wizard got caught up in movement of The Way. Simon (the wizard) saw opportunity to make money with the Gospel and how Peter got so mad he condemned Simon to hell unless he repented.  Later in the chapter, how Philip time-traveled after he led the CFO of the queen of Ethiopia to be baptized.  These stories resonated through the communities and helped build the local church, just like my friend Pastor Carlos in the communities around Pica Pica.

Last of all, read chapter 9 how the most influential short-term missionary was converted, and the scales removed from his eyes about his self-righteousness, so he could follow Jesus and take the Gospel to the world. Study how Saul (later to be renamed Paul) indwelt by the Holy Spirit changed his little world and then change the entire world through short-term mission trips.

I met Pastor Carlos Abreu in 2010. This guy and his wife Sarah have dedicated their life to a small village in the Dominican Republic. I could go right down Acts chapter 4-9 and relate those stories in Acts with stories about Pica Pica. A little less dramatic but the same Jesus, restoring the lives of men, women , inspiring stories of how this community was and is built on the Gospel of Jesus, helped by short- term missionaries like You. THAT’S WHY I AMUPSET.

The team here at TIME is faced with a real concern. Since none of us are God and we can’t change the effects of the COVID-19, we are faced with the virus effects on our mission. I am upset that I will won’t be talking about how a woman in Cuba who will get to hear Anyoly tell her about how hope in Jesus that’s leads to an empowered life; how young people and children won’t hear the Gospel and know Jesus in 2020 through the work of your local church. Now, I must pray and ask you to help TIME survive 2020 as a ministry.

I know that I’m talking to some of you in a time when you’re seeing your own struggles. We are all facing the same headwind, trying to push through, to take each step faithfully and hope the anchor holds and we don’t blow off the path. Some of the consequences are right in front of us, some of them are happening three steps away, some three houses away, some three nations away. Uniquely, TIME is facing impacts on all fronts. And what is three nations away to some of us is three steps away for those we are trying to serve. The best we can do is walk in faith and be honest with what we’re up against.

So that’s where I’m at. And the truth is, I’m upset. Me being upset won’t change what God has given TIME to do, but the life of Jesus and how he related to his job allows me to be transparent. I must thrive for Jesus and ask for help.

We still don’t know what will happen this summer for all short-term missions’ agencies, but it doesn’t look good. It looks like the end of April now for another deadline per the Federal Government.  I am exploring all option to shore up our finances and to keep TIME’s office staff working. If groups continue to cancel our general giving will need to increase. I am asking you to consider helping support the office. We are crunching numbers now but the story is not written yet, so all the details are not available.  

Don’t get me wrong I am not dismayed and I’mcertainly not mad at you, I need you. I’m just upset with the missed opportunitiesfor 2020. Jesus is at the center of all things and in all things, I trustJesus. So, we work to see 52 years and maybe start a new streak of: VBS doing -youthwitnessing-Jesus Film showing-fun loving-sun burn showing short-term missiontrips.