When I think about a missionary from the Bible, I think about Paul—the great evangelist, teacher, encourager, writer, and mentor from the New Testament. He wasn’t a perfect person, but he’s my role model when it comes to mission work. As I’ve studied the Scripture about him and that he wrote, one thing that stands out to me is how frequently he prayed blessings over the people he ministered to. In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, Paul prays this blessing: “May our Lord … encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” Living out God’s work of encouragement and good deeds and words was our goal for the Spain 2018 mission trip.
During the two weeks of the trip, we were able to accomplish our objective—the one God had laid on our hearts—to encourage some of our missionary families by visiting them and working alongside them. It all started three years ago when Kevin and Olga Kenney and their sons, Rubén and Esteban, visited Fellowship for a weekend. At lunch after church that Sunday, Kevin leaned across the table and asked, “Kristen, why don’t you bring a team to Spain?” That question was the genesis of the mission trip we are celebrating!
After watching two missionary families we support at Fellowship burn out and come off the field last year, and one other family nearly do so also, the mission team decided that we needed to GO to our missionaries—to see them, listen to them, meet their people, pray for their ministries, and work alongside them however they needed. After much prayer and after getting the okay from the staff and leadership at church, last summer I connected with Kevin Kenney again and said, “Okay! We’ll bring a team! What can we do to serve you?”
After watching two missionary families we support at Fellowship burn out and come off the field last year, and one other family nearly do so also, the mission team decided that we needed to GO to our missionaries—to see them, listen to them, meet their people, pray for their ministries, and work alongside them however they needed."
how god answered prayer.
Standing now, at this vantage point, we can celebrate how God answered so many of our prayers through this trip. We prayed for safety, and no one was seriously hurt. We prayed for good weather, and we were able to work outdoors every day, never once needing to stop because of rain. We prayed for people to whom we could minister to come to camp, and we were able to meet and serve around eighteen people who truly ministered to us as well. We prayed for opportunities to encourage the Kenneys’ church and Dan & Amy Portugals’ church, and we were able to attend a service at each of them, meeting the Kenneys’ and the Portugals’ people, exchanging blessings and hugs. We prayed that God would unify us as a team, and—praise him!—we were able to function and work and sweat together with little to no conflict or frustrations. We prayed that we’d be able to accomplish all the work projects on our list from the camp, and God gave the strength and ability, so much so that—not only were we able to accomplish all the assigned tasks, but we created a second whole list and were able to cross off every single task on that list too!
God truly answered our prayers, even more than we could ask or imagine! He loves us and is concerned with what concerns us; what an honor to join with him in his work on the other side of the ocean!
god is listens to our cries for help.
One last little story about the blessing of seeing God answer prayers right in front of us. After our last day of ministry on the last Sunday we were in Spain, we headed to Barcelona for a little site-seeing that evening. We were joined by Frances and Raquel, a couple who attend the church that oversees Camp Eben-ezer. Frances volunteers as the overall caretaker of the camp. As we were waiting for the subway to take us to see the beautiful fountains in front of a palace-turned-museum, Raquel talked with me about how hard she and Frances had worked last year at Camp Eben-ezer.
She told me that a team had come to do work projects a few years ago; but since then, the burden of the work had fallen on her and Frances. Last summer, they spent nearly every spare weekend they had at Camp, cleaning and making repairs as best they could. She said they spent all their free time doing as many projects as they could at Camp. Finally, at the end of the summer, they decided they just couldn’t do this hard work anymore. They prayed that God would send help—maybe a group of people to come and love the camp and do the many projects they couldn’t even keep up with.
Within the week of praying that prayer last summer, Raquel told me, Kevin Kenney called her and said, “I’ve got a team of 8-12 people from a church in the States called Fellowship Chapel who want to help out at Camp Eben-ezer!” With tears in her eyes, Raquel told me our Fellowship team was the direct answer to their prayers.
What a blessing to be the answer to someone’s prayers. We never know when we act out in faith, how God can use our willingness to GO and do and serve and love, to bless someone in profound ways.
May we continue to offer up our lives as living sacrifices to him—in prayer and in faith doing what he wants to accomplish with our lives.
We never know when we act out in faith, how God can use our willingness to GO and do and serve and love, to bless someone in profound ways.