This time of year we are often inundated with messages of hope, joy, and goodwill. Those message often lead to donations of canned goods at food banks, an extra dollar at the register for a random charity, or perhaps it leads to unwrapped toys for a toy drive. We often find ourselves compelled to pack a shoe box full of items for children in a distant land, or write an extra check for an international charity.
Every single act changes a life and has an impact on someone, somewhere. A real person who has a real need. Are these needs limited to December? Do we stop to ponder and pray for the nameless person whom it benefits? Do we consider that in our holiday giving we ARE missionaries?
What is mission work and where is “the mission field”?
These are questions that likely have different answers for different people. As Jesus remarked in Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Proverbs has this to say about helping those in need around us:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.— Proverbs 31:8-9
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.— Proverbs 22:22-23
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. — Proverbs 3:27-28
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. — Proverbs 11:25
Our mission field is all around us. Our mission field is the far and distant lands of nameless and faceless people who have never heard the Gospel proclaimed, live under oppression, or are suffering, and is our neighbor next door who is struggling to make ends meet. Our mission work is to all those in need, regardless of any differences in religion, race, socio-economic, or political distinctions. Our mission field is in our local schools, neighboring states, and all of our fellow human beings.
Locally: Haven Fellowship church participates, proudly, in missions far and near. Our mission work is not limited to the holidays nor to our church body. Our youth are making the final preparations for gift baskets to benefit local families within Rockdale County. The youth, ages 6th grade to High School, are working hard but also very excited to collect donations, pack baskets for complete holiday meals, school supplies for the coming new year, and gifts for the children. These go to local families in our community. This is not only of great benefit to those in need, but the excitement our young people have in doing & giving is an inspiration!
We helped over 200 families in the summer get ready for going back to school- Our first annual Back to School Bash ministered as much to our body in God showing His mighty hand as it did to local families who were in great need for school supplies for the coming year.
Nationally: Our mission team, including our youth, are preparing for our next mission trip to the Panhandle, beginning January 2. They will be assisting a church in rebuilding after #hurricanemichael and helping the local community of Port Saint Joe remove storm debris, remove damaged homes, and rebuild both homes and lives. The devastation of this hurricane, while it hit in a day, it will be at least a year-long recovery and rebuilding to get the communities close to being recovered. We have partnered with Carrabelle Christian and Family Life Church in this work- afterall all churches are part of the same body- the body of Christ and His Kingdom.
Internationally: Our body proudly collected over 100 shoeboxes as part of the Operation Christmas Child to deliver across the globe both joy in gifts, and the Good News.
Where is God calling you to serve? As Jesus remarked after His disciples were discussing who should be seated as His right hand, “ For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Prayerfully consider where YOUR mission field is and where God would send you to serve. Contact Haven Fellowship to join the mission team to go to Florida for a week on January 2, 2019, donations for the Youth Christmas Baskets, or generally for the ongoing missions Haven Fellowship participates in throughout the year.
Michael P. Howington
Haven Mission Team Member