31 STORIES OF FAITH ADVENTURES
DAY 10: MORE TRIPS - MORE SENDING ADVENTURES
Yesterday I wrote about my calling to reach children in the inner-city of Amarillo, Texas at Citychurch.
When I read the Great Commission, I thought and heard those words as being about the place where we were at. I saw our family fulfilling this commission completely in our lives building the church in the place that God had planted us.
Rarely did I think about Africa before James’s trip in 2010. But after that first trip, more opportunities arose for him to go. In the last 5 years, he has traveled to Africa 5 times.
It was much easier to send him after we went through the faith-growing-pains of that first trip.
I’m going to summarize four of these trips for you, quickly. Because I want to show you how our heart was changed and show how God invited us into another faith adventure.
October 2011 - Chad
A year after his first trip, James was able to go back to Chad again. This time he was able to take his brother Donnie and a kid from Citychurch’s youth group. They traveled with David Timm’s organization Lost But Not Forgotten. This trip, the team was able to fly directly into the country of Chad. They then hired an interpreter and 4x4ed into several villages to carry out their medical mission to children and show the Jesus film. Hundreds of people responded to the invitation to accept Christ in those villages.
January 2013 - South Sudan
There is a big population of South Sudanese refugees in Amarillo. Citychurch had been letting a group of those refugees use our building for church services for about 7 years. This was the first foreign mission trip that was led by Citychurch. The connection that Amarillo’s Sudanese congregation had with the orphanage James stayed at and ministered to in South Sudan made it possible to continue this work beyond just a short term mission trip. That idea was important for Citychurch’s leadership. They started a ministry that Citychurch is still building on today. James, his brother Donnie, and friend Jordan Henderson served on this trip from Citychurch. They were also able to take one member of the Citychurch Sudanese congregation, Simon Garong.
March 2014 - Burkina Faso / Ivory Coast
Citychurch had a plan to return to South Sudan in January of 2014, but because of political turbulence beginning in December of 2013, that was impossible.
Christmas Eve, James got a phone call from David Timm, our friend who has the organization Lost But Not Forgotten. He had heard that Citychurch would be unable to make a trip to South Sudan in the coming months and wanted to invite James to go on his upcoming trip to Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.
James told him that he would probably not go. In the car the next day, James told me about his conversation with David. I encouraged him to go. I had caught the love Jesus had for the African people, and if there was anything I could do to make a difference in Africa, I wanted to do it. I encouraged him to call David and volunteer to go.
This trip the most fruitful short term mission trip I’ve ever witnessed. Every text from James included good news of so many people accepting the love and forgiveness of Jesus. I am still blown away by how many lives were changed on that trip.
I transcribed the text messages that James sent me during his time in Africa. If you are interested in reading those, they are at the bottom of this day’s post, just bellow the song video box.
January 2015 - South Sudan
James was able to return to South Sudan along with his brother Donnie and the pastor of the South Sudanese Citychurch congregation, Lual Majak.
The young country had not made progress from his trip two years prior. Evidence of the near civil war during the political unrest was all over the city of Juba. Every infrastructure was damaged or affected.
The group was able to fund physical improvements to the orphanage and spend some time building the orphanage workers’ knowledge of the Bible. Relationships were built between the men and women caring for the orphans in South Sudan and the men from Citychurch. We can see God working as Citychurch continues to build upon this ministry to South Sudan and it’s congregation of South Sudanese in Amarillo.
James’s first trip to South Sudan in 2013 was a turning point for our family. It was the trip God used to call our family to adoption. I’ll be sharing about that faith adventure Monday.
I love music. Something I do on my blog is share a song with each blog post. I love this song by Cody ChesnuTT. I love that whole album, Landing On a Hundred.
Text Messages & FaceBook Posts from husband James's trip to BURKINA FASO and Ivory Coast in 2014
James/text message: “Air France found my bag and it was just in time because tomorrow we are leaving Ouagadougou in the morning. I know now why God caused the delay. Tonight we met a Muslim man named Issika at the airport. We were there to pick up the bag. We got a chance to witness to Issika. After about 30 min he prayed for salvation through Jesus. After this 26 year old Muslim man finished praying he looked up and began to praise God. He said ‘I'll never forget this day that Jesus found me.’”
James/text message: “In the Ivory Coast. had smooth passage through all the borders. We even had a chance to witness to the guards at the border. Praising God!”
Me on FaceBook: I talked to James this morning. He was at a hospital in the Ivory Coast. The hospital's waiting room was set up like a chapel. He and David were going to share with those in the waiting room, and then they were going to pray with the waiting. I could here a sick baby crying in the background. He said the baby was a cutie, but in African style - had no pants. The hospital was also going to allow James and David to go room to room and pray with the patients. Their travel this morning was eventful. They were able to give the head of the border security a Bible. He insisted on having one before they passed, and James happen to have one in his language. Just across the border, James and David witnessed to a group of Muslim men. James said they were prideful, and they laughed at them. They were also getting ready for a meeting today with the Prefecture in charge of giving them permission to visit several villages. Pray that meeting goes well. And pray for the contacts they will make at the hospital. Our God is mighty.
James/text message: “I tried to call but the service is down. Today was a hard day. We started at the hospital at 7:00 they wanted to make sure that what we were preaching was going to be sound. Then after we proved ourselves to the staff the head nurse came and showed us where all the wards were. She wanted us to know who was in each room. She is a dear American woman that has been serving God for many years here. She explained that even though they see a lot of patients they receive no government funds. She said that it was ok because they can't tell her what to do:). Visiting in the hospital was very hard. I was broken hearted the whole time. I got to pray with 17 people and 3 infants. The team prayed for about 30 in all. I cried the whole time. It is hard to explain the desperation that the people were in. In one room there were a group of people with their babies. The babies were asleep with fever. I prayed for them and we witnessed to the moms and dads. They all received Jesus after we talked to them. In another room there was a young girl that had damaged herself by being in labor for over 3 days. The nurse said that she finally pushed the baby out with her hands. There was a young man that had been in an accident with multiple wounds they were just trying to help him be conformable. He was crying in his bed. I believe that he will walk again. He said he had faith in Jesus. God has done so much more today we also met with the Under Prefect and he was a Christian man. He gave us our letter so we went to meet the chief of the village. We are ready to go to the first village tomorrow. God has given us everything that we need.”
James/text message: “We found another village to go to so now we have three. Also on Monday I will be preaching to 300 students at a primary school. Please pray.”
James/text message: “Today we had a great start in the hospital. We prayed with 24 more of the hospitalized. Most of these were babies so the families were in the rooms. It gave us a great opportunity to witness. We met several that did not know anything about Jesus. Each one ended up coming to Christ! We also prayed with their baby's. It is so sad to see the little ones there. Most of them were just anemic or malnourished. There was one girl just about 3 years old that was so thin you could see every bone. Her parents said that she finally lost her strength to stand when they brought her in. The father looked so scared. He was just doing everything he could to make her happy but I could tell he was worried. When we left the hospital we witnessed to some Muslim men at the gate after about 30 min they came to Christ. The pastor here watched so he came and encouraged them in their new faith and invited them to his church. Just now we were getting our stuff together to go to the village and I noticed a large group of children coming from school. I gathered them up and preached to them. Over 30 of them clapped when I gave them the opportunity to receive Jesus. After I finished we all clapped and worshipped Jesus together. After hearing the children worship the pastor invited me to come and teach Sunday school to all the children on Sunday morning. Please pray tonight we are in the village.”
James/text message: “Just preached in the first village. Over 100 children were saved. Praise God.”
Me on FaceBook: James said that their generator broke showing the Jesus film in the village last night. He sent this text: "I'm trying to fix our generator and they have found an electrical supply pray I can find the parts I need. Everything is hard to find. ".
I'm editing this post because right after I posted it, James Lane texted me this, "Found the parts and got it fixed. I even made new wires for the lights. We are ready for the next village. Praise The Lord!"
James/text message: “Preached to 200 children in the village tonight. So many are coming to Christ! Our God is great and mighty to save!”
James/text message: “Please pray. Over 700 people are watching the Jesus film right now. The crowd is still growing. Praying for a great harvest.”
James/text message: "Just played soccer with the kids from the village and shared the Gospel. 32 came to Christ!" "About 300 have showed up in the second village to watch the Jesus film. And more and more keep showing up as the movie plays. The whole crowd cheers when the movie shows Jesus performing a miracle."
James/text message: "The chief of the village came and watched the whole film and stayed for the invitation. We are leaving him with a Proclaimer in Jula. He is very excited to have The Word he was just too prideful to accept Jesus. Many others were saved! Praise God!"
James/text message: "Just had the opportunity to speak at the primary school. They let me go into every class and share with each grade. 320 children and youth. I shared THE GREATEST STORY The Story of JESUS! The school has over 200 Muslim students. Praise God!"
James/text message: "The chief of the village we are going to has just died today. They still want us to come. I'm not sure what is going to happen or what we are walking into. Please pray."
James/text message: "Wow that was crazy. We showed up at the feast of the dead. This is a Muslim tradition where all of the men in the village gather in one place and eat. They let us come into the meeting but they would not let our interpreter speak because she is a woman. There was a Christian man that translated for David and they allowed David to speak for 5 min. David shared The Gospel with all of the men. 25 accepted salvation through Christ. The Christian Africans that are with us are amazed at the Power Of God. God showed Himself Strong when we Lifted up His Son in this place. Praise God He is Great!"
James/text message: "Today we are waiting to go home. We just have to drive across Africa to do it. We noticed a college in the city of Ferka where we are staying. The students were letting out so I had the driver pull over so I could speak to them. We wanted to get one more shot on the way out of town. I preached six times in the place that the students waited for the bus and even unloaded one bus full. They were all happy to hear about Jesus. When we were done over 70 students came to Christ! Praise God!"
James/text message: "We made it through all of the border checks and we are on our way to Bobo. It's funny all of the drivers music is American pop music. So right now we are bouncing around in the back of the 4x4, through the African bush listening to 1 Direction. LOL! This morning we went to the hospital to say goodbye. The pastor there said that his daughter goes to the school I spoke at. He said that she came home telling him all about the story of Jesus. He said that is how he knew we were sharing the pure Gospel. He said even his own child understood. Praise God we are on our way home!"
James/text message: "Still on my way home. On the bus to Ouagadougou. We have about 5 hours to go. I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself a minute ago because this bus is pretty hot and smelly. Then I looked over and there was a bus with people riding on top with a goat. Needless to say my pity party has ended. Praise God I have a seat and it is not on top. Thanks for praying. I'm on my way!"