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Update 1-Understanding God’s Missions 2018: EchoMission 3.0

With a great amount of anticipation, I will be returning to Africa for the third time in seven months. My wife will be traveling with me once again, but before we go, we will be escorting my daughter to Honduras for an eight-week mission trip. Sparrow Missions is the name of the organization. She has familiarity with the group because she has done a mission trip with them before, however, we did not know the families she would be staying with. I felt it necessary as her father to investigate a bit deeper before depositing her there for eight weeks. My wife and I went to Honduras for six days, and then came home for two days before leaving for Africa. We met a couple of sincere followers of Jesus and watched our daughter use her spiritual gift of Spanish. She has a passion for languages and the people.

God has laid it on my heart to think, “I love you,” as I look at complete strangers. I must say, it has had a profound effect on me. The presence of Jesus in my awareness is becoming more vivid. Think about it, when He walked this earth, that was what He thought when He saw everyone. If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have at least snickered or laughed outright at the idea. That is the amazing thing about walking close with God. Things that may seem odd in this world are perfectly normal in the world of unending love.

Something else that has been revealed to me is the extreme importance of body language- just as much can be conveyed in unspoken language as spoken. When we sigh, roll our eyes, give disgusted looks, and a number of other unkind body gestures, several things happen. We not only set ourselves up for escalating behavior that is negative, but we cause that reaction in others. God placed some people in my proximity that exercised great control in spoken language and body language. I try to focus on what God wants me to learn in every situation. I then endeavor to exercise that lesson to see the usefulness. I must say it has had a significant effect. The constant reminder of the outward appearance that we are given to others helps us to demonstrate love more consistently.

As I traveled many hours on airplanes and had considerable time on layovers, I was able to test this hypothesis in sometimes unpleasant situations. If we demonstrate persistence in having a smile on our face, we share positivity, and enjoy it ourselves. A few days after starting this experiment, it was as if a voice whispered in my ear, “Imagine what Jesus would look like surrounded by children. That is the look I want you to have on your face.” I would find myself putting a pleasant smile on my face and almost feeling like Jesus had His hand on my back, saying, “Yes, just like that”.

It was a bit difficult leaving our daughter in Honduras, knowing that we would not see her for seven weeks. This fall she will be off to college. The amazing thing is that my wife, myself, and my daughter are on similar paths in our spiritual journey. Only God knows the reason behind this. The confidence I have experienced walking in God’s Will has definitely been adopted by my daughter. Now my wife is being affected with the same confidence. When all of our selfish motives begin to dissolve, focus on the kingdom becomes more clear.

We will be posting some pictures of Maria with some of her friends in Honduras. And the dog named Charlie that stays at one of the mission houses. He has pretty incredible eyes. Also, we were at someone’s house, and chickens kept walking in and out while talking. There is considerable poverty in Honduras, however in Malawi, it is much worse. Dirt floors, and no running water or electricity is very common here. The journey to Kisii, Kenya is grueling- A couple of 8-hour airplane flights followed by a very bumpy 8-hour car ride. All I can say is “God is awesome.” I am not a happy traveler for two hours, let alone thirty-some with layovers. God has supernaturally given me patience to endure with a good attitude. We traveled a different route from Nairobi to Kisii. Driving etiquette in Kenya is yet to be understood. If enough room exists on any hill, curve, or blind corner, it means you can wedge whatever vehicle you are driving in there, from motorcycle to semi-truck. After nearly the 30th close call, my wife resided to the fact that it was not helpful to voice her concern, and on the way back, she seemed a bit calmer.

Every day is a miracle to me. On this particular day, it was also a miracle for Dennis our driver. We had no idea what time we would arrive in Kissi. Dennis’s biological mother lived there and he wanted to surprise her. He knew a certain area that she might be. As we drove by on the road, she was standing at the entrance way to the store in plain sight. Dennis stopped the car and hustled out to meet her. Nothing was planned, and the possibility of perfect timing was impossible. Dennis had predicted that our journey there would have been two an half hours shorter. As an extra unbelievable bonus, his father pulled up to the gas station in front of the store while we were there. A human cannot make this stuff up, and I have a picture to prove it. As we would discover on this journey, God’s favor and protection was with us.

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