Praying and sharing the gospel with others isn’t an easy task–particularly for new Christians. Here are some my experiences.
One-week trip builds character in new missionary.
BY PHILL FELTHAM
My missions pastor told me: “There are times where you will have to step out of your skin.” This definitely didn’t encourage me–I had only been a Christian for four months. However, despite my fear I moved forward thinking, “I love travel–everything will even itself out.”
I was a member of the Kennedy Road Tabernacle Church missions team, assigned to share the gospel with the youth of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. Part of our mission was also to do a little community service by clearing debris and garbage from a construction site of a new church.
For me, getting dirty clearing out garbage was a breeze. However, the real challenge was talking about God–or ministering–to the young adults. As a group, we planned a three-morning vacation bible school for the children in Sydney, a city located 30 minutes from Glace Bay. There were crafts, basketball, blanket volleyball, and story time. Since I wasn’t used to children, my nerves were rattled, but after a while, I was able to participate with more confidence.
Some of us also shared our testimonies–how we became a Christian–on an open stage. I shared my story and described how coming to Christ changed my life. The experience was simply amazing.
In groups, sharing spiritual experiences was quite inspirational–I never really lost my skin. Sharing my faith and praying for others one on one was what presented the challenge. In my opinion, I was only a new Christian and felt that I wasn’t yet experienced, or shall I say, qualified enough to talk about God, but the Master of the Universe felt differently.
First, we shared the gospel with the youth of Glace Bay. The youngsters didn’t really have a lot to do during the evening hours so one of our missions was to hang out and talk to them downtown. If the youth were open, we shared the gospel; if not, we didn’t push it. I felt like I was out of my league, but sharing the gospel is vital to bringing others to Christ. So, with a little help from the Lord, I stepped out of my skin.
Next, we ministered to children at a carnival in Escasoni, a Cape Breton native reserve. Playing with the kids at the carnival was fun, but the real test was the evening service. Our pastor called on the Cape Breton missions team to pray for members of the congregation. Oh, boy. Praying for others–particularly those in tears–really involved stepping out of my skin.
An emotional mother shared her tragic sufferings and asked me to pray for her daughter. My prayer turned into a mess. I was so nervous; I kept forgetting what she shared with me. Rightly so, she became frustrated after repeating herself three times. I wanted someone to confidently pray for her so I asked my missions pastor to do so. The woman was happier once she received prayer.
We had a wake up call after the service. The head pastor at the Escasoni church thanked us for coming and making a difference. Some of the kids we were ministering to that evening were fatherless. This is a result of a number of fathers–particularly men ages 27 to 29–committing suicide. Suicide had disappeared for two years on the native reserve–until recently.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
Doing any kind of missions work–at home or abroad–makes a difference. Sometimes you can’t always see the fruits of your labour, but God is present, working in the background. I try to keep this in mind: God uses us as vessels–He uses our weaknesses to strengthen others. He also uses our weaknesses to build our own character. It’s not the perfection of our prayers, it’s that we’re obeying God and making a difference–and everyone counts. iT!
Phill Feltham is the Publisher of The Weekly Wanderer. He lived and worked overseas for two years while contributing travel and culture articles to many different overseas magazines and websites. He also worked full-time as Senior Editor for Maximum Fitness magazine.