“Whosoever loses his life for my sake shall find it . . .”
Joy! That’s what we’re talking about: real, incomprehensible, deep-down, wholehearted JOY! Despite difficulties, despite living without most common comforts, despite living in a house without heat or air conditioning, or hot water, no kitchen sink, holes in the roof, termite eaten wood everywhere you look, and missing windows, we are happier than we have ever been!!!!! Why? Because we have Jesus to an extent we never thought possible! One of my favorite saints, St. Jean Vianney once said, “The Lord is never found in pomp, pleasure and luxury, but in lowliness and humiliation.” How true we have found these words! Where is Jesus? He is here, living with us, through us, in us, and all around us in the people we serve!
We are living a Joy which can only be found in Jesus and HE is waiting to be found!!!!! With the onset of our new mission post we prayed and prayed for the Lord to show us what the goal of our mission work should be this year. Yes, it is always to spread the Gospel, but how? The fact of the matter is we are only one family so how can we possibly do everything? It’s true, we couldn’t possible accomplish it all but we are not alone. God was quick to remind us of the early apostles. There were only just over a hundred people in the upper room yet they changed the face of their known world. HOW?!!!! By sharing their faith with JOY. Yes, joy in suffering, joy through beatings, joy in times of trial and danger but at all times giving praise to our Lord Jesus with JOY! Our faith is not just some story we read in a really long story book. No it is TRUTH and in this truth we have found our FREEDOM!!!! How can we not have joy!
With this truth we can have confidence that the Lord will provide for our every need. We know because Jesus said so time and time again in the Gospels and the Epistles (Mt. 6:31-32; Mt. 7:11; Lk 12:24; Phl 4:19, Rm 5:1-21 to name a few) but more importantly, WE SEE IT EVERYDAY!!!!! We are completely dependent on the Lord to supply all our needs. No amount of working overtime will earn us an extra buck, but God speaks to the hearts of our benefactors and we are provided for! And so we are left with confidence in the true Provider. We know, we don’t just believe, we KNOW that He is all powerful, loving, giving and because of our confidence in him we have, “the Peace and Joy that surpasses all understanding!” (Phl 4:7)
So what is our goal this year? To share our faith with the JOY and the confidence that has been given to us time and time again and to encourage those we share it with to share as well! We have begun Bible studies to help encourage participation. It is hard to see Jesus at times in our lives, but if you are around others, reading about Jesus, talking about Jesus and how he provided, how he healed, and how he is working in your life and then sharing with others in a small group setting not only do you start to see just how often Jesus is working in our lives, but it gives you a chance to “practice” talking about God so it is easier to share with others in your own family, on the street, and in the world as a whole. Just think about it, if everyone decided to share about Jesus, live for Jesus, and live AS Jesus did we would no longer be living in the world in which we are living. The world would be transformed! It would be as if we are living in heaven yet still in the world because we would see our God all around us at every moment.
So I guess our goal for this year is more of a vision. Share the Gospel, have others share the Gospel, and transform the world!!!!!!! Let’s bring heaven to Earth, and let’s begin TODAY!!!!!