To download the original copy, please follow this link: News Update – June 2017
From this issue of News Update:
As I sit and write this newsletter, it’s hard to believe we will be leaving Vancouver in exactly four weeks on July 10.
Our church will be sending our third team to Ghana all together, where out of our team of six, five are first-timers to Ghana. This also marks one month shy of the newsletter I wrote last year of how I long to be back in Ghana – and how a year brings new opportunities! Now after four years of waiting in anticipation, it seems like God has opened doors for me to return! Though I cannot express how excited I am to be back this summer, this trip is not about me. I am perhaps even more excited for others to freshly experience missions in Ghana and to see God at work. Yes, when we go on missions, we are often shining a light in a dark place and partnering with the local church body while doing so. Yes, the prayer is that the Lord will use the team to be effective in ministry and for God to change lives. But I also believe that God changes the heart of the person going too, giving them fresh eyes to see their city a bit differently when they’re back. I hear every time of a reverse culture shock when someone returns from the field, where teams feel strange in a place that should be familiar to them. How our beds, homes, schools, work places and cities don’t seem normal anymore. Sometimes we need this because we are actually the strange ones living in this world. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we’re not created for this world but for something much more – a relationship that awaits us afterward. Sometimes we need God to shift our eyes from the temporary and towards the eternal. I am excited to be able to serve in Ghana again, but perhaps even more excited to see how God will use our team and shape us in a way that only the Master Potter can.
So why are we sending another team? The longer answer may be because we believe in the ministry happening in the rural parts of Ghana. Our church supports the vision and mission of CIM and understands the importance of cross-cultural missions. I suppose I could say it’s because we want to obey and take the Great Commission and the Mission of God seriously. Therefore, we will keep going and making disciples, going not only into our city but also to the ends of the earth. It could also be because we support a local church planter in Ghana and would love to visit and encourage him.
But here’s a simpler answer – God has grown our heart and passion for Ghana. In the past years, as mission teams have gone and returned, God has slowly but surely expanded the hearts of our people for those we do not know 11,535 kilometers away. People have been hearing and responding to God’s call to go and to love. How is this possible and why does this happen? God is the only one who can change and move hearts, but I also believe He chooses to use people to do so. It is often said that “passion is caught, not taught.” You can teach all you want about the work in Ghana. You can show all the pictures and video clips. You can provide all the theology and missiology to our churches. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into passion or action. Don’t get me wrong, I believe theology derived from the Scriptures must be the backbone of what we do. As Paul in Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” But theology must always be practical since orthodoxy (right thinking) should lead to orthopraxy (right doing). Look to our God as an example who does not only hear, think and speak, but also acts. I have seen the fire lit in others when teams come back and share with their friends, family and churches. When people see and feel passion from others who have gone – they want to follow that. They want to experience that. They want to break through the crowd just to get a glimpse of what Jesus is doing. They want to understand what all the buzz is about. Why? Passion grounded in truth is attractive. It is attractive when Christians fully dedicate their lives for the sake of the Gospel – and God uses passion to speak to people’s hearts.
This passion is also highly contagious. Just think about Jesus and the short final period that lead to the Cross. What do we call that? The Passion. Jesus has displayed His passion for mankind through His life, death, resurrection and ascension – that act of great love on the Cross is what makes us have access to the throne of grace. This is the story and testimony we have been sharing for 2000 years.
As our team has been meeting together, we have felt this initial spark turn into a blaze. We feel God growing our unity and shaping our hearts to desire more of him. Though we all have our own challenges before going on this trip, whether it’s our schedule, doubts, fears, finances or otherwise, God has been faithful in conquering them all. Just like how coals grow hotter when they are closer together, in the past few months, we feel God fanning our hearts for a passion for His Name. Some of us have served overseas before, others more locally, but as we exchanged our stories, the common thread of the urgency to go and how we can’t shake this feeling in our bones is evident. Therefore, we must go. As Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard once said,
“This much is certain: The greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally – weakness, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guide of weakness.”
There is also an ancient Jewish blessing for when young men choose to become disciples, “May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.” Please pray that we will walk so closely to Jesus that we would be covered in His dust. Please continue to pray for us – that as we trek the dusty roads in the villages, that we would literally follow Jesus’ example of love, grace and humility. Please pray that we will be protected from the schemes of the evil one, not for our own safety, but in order for the glory of God to shine. Pray that we will walk with eyes of faith. Please pray that God’s power will be displayed through us, and that God alone will receive glory.
Pastor Douglas Wong
English Ministry Pastor of Lord’s Love Church
Board Director of CIM (Canada)
Financial Highlights for the month of May 2017
(please click on the table to enlarge)
1. General Fund – for general and administrative such as staff salaries
2. Designated Fund – for specific ministries in different field locations as designated (cannot be transferred between funds)
– All financial figures are in Canadian dollar and rounded to the nearest dollar.
Canadian Registered Charity Registration Number of CIM (Canada): 896216207RR0001