Mission to Samara 2013
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Phil. 3:12 NIV)
Yes, I’m off to Russia again soon. Leaving May 8 for another six-week stay. Some of you might be wondering what possesses me to return to such a mysterious, foreign place year after year. Some could possibly even be impressed. But I don’t think Jesus is impressed.
Not long ago, I was challenged to examine what “success” looks like as a follower of Jesus. The gist of the post reminded me that my focus should not be on “doing more” to complete my God-given purposes, but to “take hold” of the Christ of the Gospels and “be more” like him in my relationships with others.
All to aware that God sends me to the other side of the planet to shine for His glory, I can’t do that when I’m striving without the right heart—his heart. I can’t “take hold” of Jesus when I’m hyper-focused on appearances, meeting expectations (mostly my own), and worrying about disappointing someone with my inadequacies. The Jesus of the Gospels always had time to listen to people’s needs and fears, to touch, to care, to heal, to pray, to laugh, to tell stories. He moved seamlessly through all levels of society and spoke what he heard his Father saying; he did what his Father asked him to do. Nothing more–nothing less.
I’m longing for this kind of success. How about you?
Would you care to join me? As believers, we are called into community. That concept manifests in myriad ways, doesn’t it? But concerning overseas mission trips, most can’t physically go. Nevertheless, the one going **ahem** needs community. Needs a team. People who are invested in the going and in the “being.”
If that’s you, then I’d be honored to have you to “take hold” with me this year. Here are some ways:
1. Pray: For all of the pre-departure preparing that must be done. I’m still waiting for my visa to arrive. I’m still writing the Bible study “Taking Hold.” I’m listening for God’s leading on my itinerary, which I want to hold very loosely to be available for his direction.
2. Give: I am the primary fund raiser for the CrossRoads ministry. (If you are new to my blog and don’t know what this is, see this link: What Is Crossroads?) In addition, we connect with and support several other Christian ministries in the region that partner with us in teaching the CrossRoads curriculum and modeling Christ’s love. I would love to bless these faithful ones with finances as the Lord provides. ( ** See bottom of letter for details.)
3. Read: My blog posts are the way I stay connected to you while I’m away. If you read (and comment), I will be super grateful and will know that I’ve “succeeded” in telling my God-stories to my community team.
4. Pray: Yes, keep praying. While I’m there (May 8 to June 19) the challenges are relentless. Having a spiritual army around me is the greatest source of strength and protection. I need you.
Thanks for considering being on my team this year. I’m already praying for you, that the Lord’s grace and generosity will fill you to overflowing.
** For financial contributions (income tax deductible):
Send your check payable to “Help is On the Way” to:
Help is On the Way
1529 Taylor Lane
Madera, CA 93637
NOTE IN MEMO LINE: SAMARA MISSION
If you would like to designate to a specific project, include the additional information on the memo line:
1. CrossRoads ministry – their general fund that provides operating expenses, trainings, materials, Bibles, and special outreaches to Russian teachers and teens.
2. Scholarships for a summer weekend retreat for Crossroads teachers
4. Pestravka church/rehab center/new church plant
5. Youth summer camp in Zhiguliovsk, (Katya and Sasha are leaders)
If no designation, funds will go where most needed. Even the smallest contribution will make a big difference. Every dime goes directly to the ministry in Russia.