Cultural Sensitivity, Gender Sensitivity, Spiritual Sensitivity and the list goes on dowsing you in the sea of sensitivity you’re expected to espouse. I thought I would toss another stone in the ocean with my own serve-centric sensitivity. Maybe one day serve-centric will be a word.
What is it? During a sensitive moments I came across the following verse in Matthew 20: 25-28
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave ; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
Jesus presents service to others as a key character trait. He contends leadership is demonstrated in service to the point of giving your life. I believe this ideology presents an eternal paradigm shift. In other words, “lording over” seems to be the fall back paradigm, thus creating an eternal shift to leadership as a servant.
I don’t know that I have truly seen this mastered in the way Jesus described. I have had some goods hours, days, or maybe even a good week, but a life of serving anyone in the locale, everyday, seems rather fleeting for mere mortals.
In conjunction, with this recent eye opening expose of servant leadership, I was preparing for a mission trip. I communicated this passage to our team and challenged with the following: What if we spent our entire trip looking to out-serve everyone around us. Literally to fight for the opportunity to serve before anyone asks. We made a commitment to have high serve-centric sensitivity.
DID IT WORK?
It made a difference. In past trips we would make duty lists and remind team members if not once, but maybe twice or more. I can’t remember one time where I had to plead for service. Of course, one of the reasons for the lack of pleading was I was ready to out-serve, but the reality is they were busy out-serving each other.
Was it a euphoric paradise perfect in all ways? Not exactly, but it was a great demonstration of what a group can do if they really strive to live the character of Christ.
Was it easy? Believe it or not the answer is both yes and no. Doing what is right even when it is difficult does not come easily. It is a choice. It is a demonstration of the will to do what is right. Anyone can say, “I will serve you.” It just takes a pulse and a voice to communicate. To actually take the steps, get up, take the time, give effort, and serve, is a choice of the will.
If you are like me it is much easier to be served than to serve. If napkins are needed at the table, it is easier to ask someone else to get them for me. Something needs picked up or the dishwasher is full of clean dishes to unload. Someone will get it.
What if a family decided, “I am going to do everything in my power to out-serve you.” Can you imagine?
What if a team of employees, a church, a community made the commitment to turn up serve-centric sensitivity and out serve each other?
DOORMAT WORTHY PEOPLE
My first thought is if I really become a servant I will be a slave and even worse a doormat. How does becoming a door mat compare to the example of Christ? He literally died a terrible death to serve us at our greatest need. So far, I have not been in that situation. I bet you haven’t either.
What I have found is that it is just the opposite. The really great outcome is you feel great. Could you be used? Yes. However, the blessing and favor that come from serving will long outweigh any ill effects. Save those truths for another time.
Have you had some opportunities to serve, taken them, and what have been the outcomes?
What are some areas of your life that need the paradigm shift to serve-centric sensitivity?
I was honored again this year to be able to join our youth group for the summer mission trip. Due to a medical emergency, our youth pastor was not able to join us and at the last minute I received the privilege of leading the team. The team of of four adults and seven youth could not have done a better job together. I thought you might enjoy some of the details of our travels in Columbia, Peru, and Brazil.
Friday (July 16) – The Lord made the way for us all to get to Bogotá, Columbia. Due to some changes in our team my flight with the team was at question. I had to stay in the Orlando Airport for eleven hours, but did meet up with the team. George and Edilma González of Amazon Expeditions met us and took us to a local hotel for the evening. Also at the hotel was Seth Killian, an American Missionary desiring to reach South America, and Joshua Turner, a Canadian Missionary desiring to reach the Tikuna Tribe.
Saturday – The team loaded up on the plane to Leticia, Columbia and met team of twelve from Agape Christian Fellowship, Groves, Texas. We also met Heather Williams, American Missionary from Montana; Meredith, American Missionary working with Aljaba Children’s home; and David González, son of George and Edilma. We went over ground rules and plans to go to Philadelphia, Brazil, a small village with a Brazilian Missionary serving the Tikuna Tribe.
Sunday – Texas team left for Brazil by boat. Our team was delayed in leaving due to the 200 year celebration of Columbia as a nation. We made it to Philadelphia after dark. Set up tents in the School Building. Due to our delay the Texas team took the service on Sunday night.
Our team had the honor of meeting Clauber Quadirus, Brazilian Anthropologist, who laid down his government job to serve the Tikuna Tribe Children in the area. Clauber has created discipleship material for the Tikuna Tribe. Only 6% of the tribe has surrendered to Christ. Clauber has set up the schools to help the children thrive in education.
We also met Moses from the Mayruna Tribe. George and Edilma reached him through their outreach in the area. Moses is the grandson of the Mayruna tribal chief. As a result, Moses’ grandfather surrendered his life to Christ opening up the tribe to continued outreach.
Our church purchased the water purification system being used for this ministry in Brazil.
Monday – Texas team went to Peru to update passports. Boat troubles caused them to be stranded all day and prevent our team from passport updates. David left the Survivor 1 to be repaired and gathered another boat from friends of the ministry. Our t
eam began clearing a field so the children can have a recreation area. Machetes were used for clearing brush. Massive concrete blocks were found among the brush. We began using a sledge hammer to crack up the blocks. Thankfully it was unseasonably cool, but it was some serious manual labor. A load of lumber came by boat and we carried it up the bank.
Went to Inglesia De La Crusada. We were told it was a cult and they never let foreigners or Caucasians in the church. We performed Woman and Redeemer with testimonies by Kevin and Stacy. Everything was translated to Spanish and Takuna. A salvation and purity message was given with an altar call.
57 people came forward for salvation.
63 people came forward for purity commitments.
The Texas team joined us in praying for the people.
Tuesday– We traveled to Santa Rosa, Peru to get passports stamped and enjoyed some cold Coca Cola. We were back to camp by noon to begin more work on the field. The ladies treated lumber with oil. We also began work on the river bank ladder that needed replacing. There about a thirty foot bank drop off at the property and it is difficult to get up the bank without steps. The previous steps were destroyed by the Amazon current.
For lunch we had some grilled up Piranha Fish. Everyone seemed to enjoy it especially that we were on the right side of the food chain.
We conducted services at Evangelico Inglesia. George asked us to do a purity presentation and Gospel presentation. The Team did Everything and King of Hearts drama. Michael Dorsett of the Texas team did a marriage purity testimony. It was translated to Spanish and Takuna. At one point David González commented to me during the translation, “It is your turn Patrick.”
11 people came forward for salvation.
52 people came forward for purity commitments.
The Texas team joined us in praying for the people.
We ended up dancing with the natives and Texas Team as a celebration with at the end of the service. We prayed for the sick and a woman testified of healing in her arm.
Returned to camp to find out we ran out of water for toilets and showers at the camp.
Wednesday – Texas team loaded up in the boat to head to Benjamin, Brazil to install a water purification system. Our team continued work on the field, busting concrete, and on the bank ladder. The temperature began warming up, so the work was a little more intense today. We also worked on pumping water from the Amazon into the rain water tanks to restore water for the missionary house and the schools. With a great amount of pipe, duct tape and prayer we got the water moving out of the Amazon up the hill to the reservoirs. After getting the missionary house and part of the school tanks full the pipe broke near the pump and we had to stop. Toilets flushing again!
Although the water was available for toilets there were still no showers. Instead of another Wet Wipe Bath, many of us bathed in the Amazon with the many locals. It was quite refreshing to be in the colder water of the Amazon, but a bit scary with knowledge of additives to the water from all the villages.
Batiste Inglesia hosted us for a service. The Texas team had not returned from Benjamin, so we were on our own. Largely youth in attendance and George asked us to again do a purity and Gospel presentation. We did King of Hearts and Everything Dramas. Baxter and Lauren testified during the presentation. Service was translated in Spanish.
1 person came forward for salvation.
47 people came forward for purity commitments.
We prayed for the sick. While praying for the youth the Lord impressed on my heart to give a word for a young man concerning leadership. George translated for me.
Pipe broke on the school system and all the water was released. As a result of the break there was no water for our toilets again.
Thursday – Texas team went back to Benjamin to finish the water treatment system. We finished work on the ladder, and we were covered in mud. A shipment of wood came by boat. We all chipped in to carry the lumber to the top of the bank. The ladies painted the outside of the school, desks, chairs and stools. The men jumped in the Amazon to clean up. For lunch enjoyed some smoked piranha and other fish for lunch along with the normal rice, beans, yucca, and plantain. Brazilian rice has raisins cooked in it, which I thought was great.
Clauber asked to speak with our team before we left. He presented Tikuna Tribe spears to each of us, a Tikuna translated Bible, and copies of the discipleship material he produced for the Tikuna Tribe. His daughter is on the cover of discipleship material.
The Texas team had not made it back, but we took the boat back to Leticia in the afternoon. Began washing clothes and Scott, Arial, Hunter and Leonardo went to the medical clinic for various ailments. Doctor there gave antibiotics and appropriate medical care. Our team went to the internet café and phone store to contact home. The Texas team arrived and we went out to dinner at A. ME. K. Tiar. I had a beef dinner with little cooked whole potatoes and a little pancake made from grits. It was great.
Friday – The two teams spent the morning catching up on Laundry. At lunch at Rochellas Restaurant, David Gonzalez chose some cow tongue of the menu. Kevin, Megan, and Hunter tried the delicacy with David. Hunter did not enjoy it.
The Texas team left for Islandia, Peru, a village on the Amazon completely on stilts. The Survivor 1 boat was repaired and brought us to the same destination to speak in a public school. The area represents a large population of the Israelite Cult.
We did a purity and gospel presentation. We performed Redeemer and King of Hearts.
70 people responded to the call for salvation. However George was unable to have them come forward. He believed it may have been due to the presence of the Israelite leadership.
47 people came forward for purity commitments.
The Texas team joined us in praying for the people.
Our presentation went until dark which meant we had to ride the Amazon in the dark which is not advisable due to large debris in the river, but had to be done to get us back to Philadelphia, Brazil. There was a wonderful full moon, so it was as though the lights were on which made the trip surprisingly safe. It was actually a very special trip for the teams. Had two boats at this point to make our way back to Philadelphia, Brazil to spend the night in tents before heading back to Leticia.
Saturday – Broke camp at Philadelphia in preparation to return to Leticia. Set up water pipes to fill the cisterns with Amazon River water. We just about filled them when the pipe fitting broke from the pump. By mid afternoon we loaded up the gear in the two boats and both teams headed to Peru to have passports stamped to head back to Columbia.
I walked to Tabatanga, Brazil, with Kevin, Lauren and Leonardo. We went to Casa De Chocolate for Leonardo to pick up Brazilian Chocolate for his family in Bogotá.
With Texas Team leaving the next day, George had arranged for a buffet meal at the Air Conditioned, Waira Hotel. It was an excellent meal. Everyone testified about their experiences and George and Edilma presented Peruvian, Brazilian, and Columbian flags to each person. It was an honor to hear how the Lord was working in the hearts of our team and the Texas team.
Sunday – The last morning together in devotions, so I asked during devotions if both teams could pray for David, George and Edilma Gonzalez. Prayed for David and word came forward that he is a warrior that needs to take on the mantle of a warrior for the region.
Prayed for George and Edilma a word came forward of a “new normal” for ministry was on the horizon for new partnerships, provision, leadership and plans. George gave closing remarks for the two teams as he was heading to Bogota with the Texas team. Our team helped the Texas team get ready for departure and headed to the airport. We had to get our passports updated for Columbia along with seeing the Texas Team off.
Scott and I worked on the washers and dryers to see if we could get them up to speed. Fixed a ground issue that was causing dryer users to be shocked, but we needed parts to fix the other issues.
Went to the Inglesia Christiana Church for the Sunday Service. Most church services in Columbia are on Thursday Night, Saturday Night, and Sunday Night. Our team was asked to come forward after worship to announce our ministry to the youth the following night. We had dinner together to close out the evening and some played Risk.
Monday – Had two sessions with the Aljaba Orphanage. We primarily spent time playing with the children which was what the
leader, Lucy desired. We did the dramas King of Hearts and Redeemer for the each group. Scott and Kathy both testified to the groups. Stacy led them in a craft project about the 99 and one Sheep – Timeteo the sheep that got lost. Played soccer, blew bubbles, did puzzles and hung out with the kids until late in the afternoon. Recognized some projects that needed completing, so we made plans to return the next day to fix a basketball goal fix some concrete in the aqueduct, and remove a useless concrete ramp.
Our team returned to Inglesia Christiana Church for service. We joined the worship team and surrounded them to pray for them before the service. Pastor Julio asked for a purity message for the youth group. We did Redeemer followed by a testimony by Stacy and then Seth Killian, an American missionary working with George. Stacy detailed the consequences of sexual sin. Seth detailed the destruction of pornography. Our team did the King of Hearts Drama. I brought forward that the Lord wanted to heal broken hearts as a result of family wounds with Dad and Mom that could make them prone to the attack of Satan. I called folks forward for prayer and 48 came forward.
I asked the pastor to come forward to minister with our team. He remarked that we were experiencing a genuine work of the Holy Spirit. He mentioned that this was a deep issue for those who came forward for prayer. The Spirit of God fell as we prayed. There was a great amount of prophetic ministry as words came forward and we prayed. I heard many confirmations occurring as different members rounded the room for prayer.
We then prayed for the pastor, his wife, and the worship team. The Spirit of the Lord fell in that place. Following the ministry time, Julio communicated this was a genuine work of the Lord. He had prayed for three years for an outpouring of the Lord’s Spirit. What and honor to participate in this answer to prayer. We were all humbled. There were also confirmations of the Lord’s work like Seth’s testimony on pornography as two of youth worship team last week was addressed with this issue.
Tuesday – Back to Aljaba Children’s Home for more work. Aljaba means quiver. We tore out useless ramp, redid aqueduct and replaced the basketball goal. While we were not working the team played with the children. It was hot and humid, but great to get these jobs done.
Late afternoon lunch was followed up with shopping in Leticia. Went for a late dinner and followed up with dessert at base. I suggested praying for Meredith, Heather and Seth. We prayed for Meredith and the team shared words for her. Heather had to take Meredith to Aljaba where she serves so she was there before curfew. We had to postpone praying for Heather for tomorrow’s devotions. Prayed for Seth and also gave him words. Both Meredith and Seth confirmed the words given to them.
Wednesday – Prayed for Heather during devotions. Word came forward she was likened to Nehemiah. She later confirmed that six months ago her personality testing with the missionaries in Africa likened her to Nehemiah. We also prayed for Deeja who helped at the missionary home. Words came forward for her.
The process of packing and getting ready to leave began. Vicky showed up and we prayed for her. It was a special time for her as she was very grateful and confirmed the work of the Lord.
We headed to the Airport. The Lord provided the way for me to travel!
Other pictures can be found here: http://picasaweb.google.com/wellborn1/Amazon2010#
Questions: Have you ever been on a short or long term mission trip? If so, where? Any fun or eventful stories to give?
If you were to go on a mission trip, where would you desire to go?