by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2013
“…for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.” (Acts 28:2 NASB)
Miriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “kindled” as “to start, to stir up, to bring into being, to cause to glow”. On a mission trip, sometimes a different type of fire is kindled. “So the LORD stirred up the spirit…of the people.” (Haggai 1:14 NKJV)
On a visit to an orphanage in Mexico, I witnessed a surprising phenomenon. Due to continual rains and flooded roads, the mission leaders had to cancel our plan to take the orphans with us to the city dump. The arrangement had been that together we would hand out peanut butter sandwiches to the people who lived among the garbage. The orphans were upset and grieved for a missed opportunity to reach those less fortunate with God’s tangible love. In contrast, our mission team was woefully indifferent to the change in the day’s itinerary. “If somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them.” (Romans 11:14 NET)
Across the world in Israel, the music started. The melody sounded familiar though the words were foreign. Slowly, one by one, our mission group began singing in English with our counterparts until the two separate voices were in unison. It was almost as if we were in heaven worshipping before the Lord, distinct yet unified. It’s easy to get distracted in doing good works for the Kingdom and forget to love the King. Seeing others worship with deep passion reminds us of His priority. “…and [you] have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:3b-4 NKV)
Perhaps on your mission trip, God will bring into being a spiritual gift in you that allows you to minister to the hurting and spiritually lost. I remember my first time serving in altar ministry at a women’s conference in another country. Adding to my anxiety of being the first time ever for me to pray for someone in this setting was the fact that I didn’t speak fluent Spanish. Yet, through the few words I did know how to pronounce intermixed with English, the ladies would nod in agreement as the Holy Spirit interpreted. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:6a NIV)
Without a doubt, a mission trip will align a person’s heart with the heart of God for the nations. You begin to see others through Christ’s eyes and become motivated into action. An individual may experience a glowing ember, a burden, to the point of focusing his or her life into full-time missions. Another will be ignited to support the mission organization or a missionary as a result of the encounter. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)
KESHER PRAYER (connection): “And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” (1 Corinthians 1:27b NLT) Father, you love me so much that you don’t want me to live a status quo life. Thank you for using others on this mission trip to reveal the areas you would like me to become more like Jesus. Send your Holy Spirit to initiate a new work in my heart and hands. Give me courage and strength to continue this endeavor after I return home. Amen!