“Here at last, on the shores of the sea…comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.” –Gandalf, The Return Of The King
Over the course of a ten-day trip your missionary team becomes like your family. You laugh together, work together, eat meals together, and have fun together. You see each other when you’re exhausted, disappointed, and not feeling well. But you also experience successes, breakthroughs, and growth together. You live together, functioning as a single unit, but once the trip ends so does your team. We are so thankful for the support we have received this week from our local partners, and the prayer support, well wishes, retweets, and words of encouragement from those of you following the blog. We will miss this city, this people, and our hearts have been stirred and awakened by our experience here.
I (Chris) am so thankful for my team of Bryan, Hannah, Jackson, and Slade. They are all very dear to me, and those of you who count them as friends and family are very fortunate to have them in your lives. I never heard one complaint, and each of them was always willing to do whatever was asked of them. They have struggled through jet lag, culture shock, different cuisine, and the exhaustion of difficult ministry. Yet they have done so with a joyful countenance and a loving heart. I am incredibly blessed that each of them made the decision to step out of their comfort zone to share the Gospel in SE Asia.
We hope you have enjoyed following the story of our trip on this blog. Our intention is that God would be glorified in everything we have done in SE Asia. We wanted to give you just a small taste of what it’s like to be on a short term trip. Hopefully, everyone reading will consider going on a short term, cross cultural mission trip in the next year. We also hope that you have been encouraged in your faith. We hope you have seen the futility of earning your salvation, of trying to do more good than bad. No amount of good can ever overcome the fact that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Maybe some of you are stuck in a cycle, like the Muslims we have met, of trusting in your works. However, how can any of us ever know if we have done enough? Another verse in the Bible tells us that the wages (what we earn) for our sin (not just the “bad” sins, but any sin) is death (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, there is a way to know that our sins are forgiven. While we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that none of us could live, and died in our place on the cross satisfying God’s righteous demands. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and offering us a way, a path, of salvation; a way that we cannot earn on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9). Is this something that you believe? If you don’t believe this then any of us would love to talk to you about the hope we have in Jesus Christ—a hope that inspired us to fly across the globe to share that hope with those who have never heard.
This is the end of a chapter in each of our stories. But thankfully it is not the end of the story. We hope that we have many chapters yet to be written, and we don’t want to miss out on one word that the Author of Life is writing into our lives. We hope that all of you choose to take part in the grandest story of them all—God’s story. And we look forward to reading your chapters, and participating in your adventures!
Bryan, Chris, Hannah, Jackson, Slade
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chaper One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”—C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
- Pray for Hannah this week as she remains in this country to spend some time with a friend, enjoy some R&R, and help her friend in ministry.
- Pray for Bryan, Chris, Jackson, and Slade as they head back to Atlanta. They have 24+ hours of travel ahead of them.
- Pray that, like Mary, we will treasure all of what we have experienced in our hearts and mediate on them (Luke 2:19).