Although it’s been twenty years, I don’t think I will ever forget the answer Christian missionary John Miller gave me when I inquired why anyone would leave the comforts and securities of our American lifestyle to serve the Lord in South America. (At the time, we were sitting together in a van in downtown Guayaquil, Ecuador.) Without hesitation John said, “Dennis, it’s simply the call of God. God called me to come to Ecuador and I said, ‘Yes.’ That’s why I’m here.”
It’s fascinating to see where God takes us in life when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit. On April 27, 2015, several from the Foothills District will be traveling to Vietnam. Our team consists of John Alice (Rolling Plains UMC), Dennis Baker (Coburn UMC), Tommy Botts (New Beginnings UMC), Doug Flinn (The Plains UMC), Gregory Inboden (Dresden UMC), Paul Medaugh (Dresden UMC), Richard Purvis (Stockport UMC) Robbie Scott (Foothills District ADS), Dennis Miller Foothills District DS).
The plan is to fly via Columbus to Washington D.C. to Tokyo to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Once we arrive, we will travel from village to village with several Vietnamese pastors. Each day we will visit United Methodist house churches. We will lead worship, preach, and teach. We will also be meeting with former Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong who have given their lives to Christ. In total, we will travel approximately 750 miles from coast to highlands, from countryside villages to thriving humanity-packed cities! This will be an adventure of a lifetime!
I don't mind telling you that I am excited! What an amazing opportunity to be part of the missionary work of the Church. Please pray for me, for the members of the mission team, for the Vietnamese brothers and sisters we encounter, for the United Methodist Mission in Vietnam, and for God to change and renew the hearts and minds of all who are involved in this endeavor.
Where is God calling you to go in 2015? For most of us, a trip to Southeast Asia is not in our near future. Yet perhaps the mission field is as close as your neighbor down the street. Romans 10:13-15 says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on God to save them unless they believe? And how can they believe in God if they have never heard? And how can they hear about God unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?” That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
In the days ahead, may we heed the words of songwriter Keith Green, “Go to the hungry ones and fill them with His bread. They'll leave their darkness as you shine the light He shed. Point to His promises, believe in what He said. And His joy will be manifest to you. And the lost will be found by the things you do.”
I’m forever grateful that someone told me the story!