"CORRIE TEN BOON ONCE SAID “EVERY EXPERIENCE GOD GIVES US IS THE PERFECT PREPARATION FOR A FUTURE ONLY HE CAN SEE.” MY TWO MONTHS IN NICARAGUA WAS CERTAINLY AN EXPERIENCE THAT GOD GAVE ME THAT I’VE NEVER HAD BEFORE. STAYING IN A FULL-TIME MISSIONARY’S HOME, STUDYING IN A FOREIGN LAND, AND GETTING PRACTICAL CROSS-CULTURAL WORK WERE ONLY A FEW OF THE FACTORS THAT MADE UP A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE. THERE WERE MANY OBSTACLES WE HAD TO GO THROUGH, SEVERAL COMFORT ZONES THAT HAD TO BE ABANDONED, AND NEW CHALLENGES THAT HAD TO BE OVERCOME. IN THE SEASON THAT WE WERE THERE I TRULY BELIEVE THAT AN ETERNAL INVESTMENT WAS MADE IN MY LIFE AND A TIME OF PREPARATION WAS WROUGHT THROUGHOUT THE COURSE.
ONE OF THE GREATEST LESSONS I LEARNED WAS THE FULL THOUGHT OF DISCIPLESHIP. THOUGH I HAD SOME UNDERSTANDING OF THE GREAT COMMISSION I FELT AS IF A LOT OF RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS WERE REMOVED FROM MY KNOWLEDGE OF THE GREAT RESPONSIBILITY THAT GOD HAS GIVEN THE CHURCH TO MAKE DISCIPLES. GOD HAS RENEWED MY MIND AND A REVELATION HAS COME TO SHOW ME MY CALLING IN A GREATER LIGHT. IT’S FRESH, IT’S NEW, IT’S CLEAR! THERE IS A LARGER VISION THAT HAS COME TO MY HEART. ALSO, WHILE I WAS GONE I AM CONFIDENT THAT GOD CONFIRMED MY CALLING AND GIFT! PRIOR TO COMING TO M.A.P I ONLY HAD A PERSPECTIVE OF MY CALLING AS ONE WHO IS TO PREACH. I QUICKLY RECOGNIZED THAT THIS WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO GOD NOR BENEFICIAL TO THE KINGDOM! I STARTED TO SEE THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD THAT CHRIST HAS GIVEN GIFTS UNTO MEN (EPH. 4:11-12) AND IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT I DISCOVERY WHAT CHRIST HAD BESTOWED ME WITH. BECAUSE OF THIS GREAT DISCOVERY, I CAN NOW PURSUE TO FUNCTION AS GOD HAS CALLED ME TO. FINDING MY IDENTITY IN THE MINISTRY HAS BROUGHT A REVOLUTION TO MY CALLING.
AN ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME WAS THE TIME WE SPENT WITH THE PASTORS OF THE MISSION. STAYING IN THEIR HOMES, EATING WHAT THEY EAT, AND IDENTIFYING YOUR LIVES WITH THEIRS WAS VERY PROFITABLE TO ME. I NEVER KNEW THAT SOMETHING THAT APPEARED SO SIMPLE COULD BE SO LIFE CHANGING. BUT IT WAS IN THESE TIMES I DISCOVERED THE TRUE VALUE OF BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS. IT WAS OFTEN WHERE I COULD NOT COMMUNICATE ENOUGH TO PREACH BUT IT WAS IN THE MOMENTS OF EATING AND CONVERSING WITH THEM THAT I FELT GOD WAS TEACHING ME LIFE LESSONS. THE WELCOMING OF THE PASTORS AND THE NATIVES FOR THE FOREIGNER REVEALED TO ME THAT GREAT REALITY OF THE FAMILY OF GOD. I SEE THE FAMILY OF GOD AS ONE THAT IS LARGE AND WORLD-WIDE. SINCE COMING TO M.A.P I AM PERSUADED THAT MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME. REGARDLESS IF IT WAS THE LONG BUS RIDES, THE WEEKEND STAYS, THE POWERFUL ENCOUNTERS WE HAD IN THE SERVICES, OR THE TIMES OF STUDY. IT HAS ALL ACCUMULATED TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST LIFE CHANGING STORIES. I KNOW WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED. I’M EXCITED TO GO FORTH WITH THE NEW VISION AND PURSUE TO FULFILL GOD’S CALLING ON MY LIFE."
JOSHUA LINDSEY- 2016 MAP GRADUATE
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
As a young child, my grandmother always told me that I would one day become a missionary. Not realizing it then, but God definitely had a plan for my life.
As I started the MAP journey, I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly had a mix of emotions from nervousness in giving up everything (nice job, house, car, graduate school) and completely trusting God to meet my needs, to feeling a peace that God knows just what He’s doing. I told God at a young age that I would give it all away just to be in the center of His will. God blessed me with a wonderful job and a nice home. But there came a time when God asked for it all back. I was ready and willing to do just that. The call to do missions work began to grow stronger. Being accepted into the MAP program was an answer to prayer. I knew God was calling me to the mission’s field, but I didn’t know where to begin. I am so thankful for the burden, passion, and vision that Bro. Setser and Bro. Bailey has for our generation of world changers in creating this program.
During the two months in Ohio for stateside training, I can honestly say it helped to prepare me for something bigger than I could have ever imagined: the mission field. Pastor Setser told us in the very beginning that, “Faith will launch you on a life adventure.” That it truly did. I’m continually learning to live by faith. As MAP students, we were exposed to several types of ministries as well as poured into from renowned men and women of God. We had the opportunity to visit a Pro-Life Pregnancy Center and a Drug Rehab center. Being exposed to several types of ministries gave us the chance to confirm the calling we felt on our lives. I personally knew God was calling me to the mission’s field; however, having worked within my church for many years and recently starting a bus ministry, I had a mix of emotions and I needed more direction. The first two months really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have often felt inadequate, especially standing up in front of a crowd of people. But through MAP, I was often reminded that God doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called. He just wants us to make ourselves available so that He can use us.
To me, the two months in Nicaragua were phenomenal. Learning about having a Biblical Worldview and making disciples was life changing. It is evident that discipleship is critical in producing true imitators of Christ. Matthew 28:19 states, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Through the Great Commission, God has given us a divine task to go and make disciples. We must carry out God’s redemptive plan. This was very evident in Nicaragua. I was often reminded how our churches in America are not fulfilling the Great Commission as we should. The two months in Nicaragua completely changed my life. I will never think of discipleship the same way. While in Nicaragua, we had the opportunity to visit several churches and connect with the people there. The friendships I made are unforgettable. I enjoyed learning how to live as the natives from killing chickens, cooking gallo pinto to visiting the sick and witnessing. Volunteering at a church that feeds children in the community was astounding. But visiting the House of Refuge in Leon was my biggest eye opener. The time I spent there confirmed where God was calling me. The peace I felt was indescribable. I have always felt a close connection to Nicaraguans ever since my first missions trip there in 2012, especially for the children. Looking back, God was preparing me for something beyond my imagination. My life will forever be changed.
Brittany Hunt- 2016 MAP GRADUATE
Wow, where to begin? The past two months in Nicaragua have been incredible in a lot of ways. From spiritual battles, to worrying about a hurricane and earthquake, to dealing with sickness, we certainly had our share of intense moments. However, those were outdone by the special moments God had planned for us and those to whom we ministered.
One night in particular I remember preaching an evangelistic message and making an invitation for anyone who wanted to receive Christ or rededicate their life to Him. I was nervous, which I think made everybody else nervous, but I invited people to the front. As I feared, nobody came forward at first. I didn't know what to do next, since the pastor wasn't coming up to bail me out. So, I kept making the invitation. A minute or so later a lady stood up abruptly and walked to the front to rededicate her life to God! Moments like that make all the struggles worth it, and show that God's power truly is perfected in our weakness.
To say that missions is fun might be misleading. It definitely has some fun moments, but when the excitement runs out and reality sets in, you find yourself asking, "What am I doing here?" It causes you to ask hard questions about your motives and personal dreams and ambitions. And, because of that, missions is great.
It helps you see yourself through different lenses, and maybe you won't always like what you see. It might be painful, but it's also wonderful because that means God is working on you. He's making you better and better, which means you'll become more and more effective. I encourage anyone reading this to let God finish the process and not give up. With God, the end results are always worth the process!
Amber Fouts- 2016 MAP Graduate