Sunday, September 24, 2006

Guest Missionary

A couple of months ago, I got a call from Rick H,a local man who is a missionary to Africa. He and his wife have been supported by our congregation (mostly, if not all, by the Sunday School classes), and since they're home for a year, they wanted to do a presentation in our church.

I signed them up for this week and decided that it would be "Mission Emphasis Sunday" -- so we had special bulletin covers and featured a couple of missions that our church does (including Shirley, who gave a ministry moment on the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, Illinois, and a prayer request/thank you from Mindy, who does prison ministry (and is "in prison" as I type).

Someone told me during the week that he thought Rick was a boring speaker and a downer. So I was worried. I prayed and I fretted. I wondered if I should even have invited him. I wondered if I should have consulted the Ad Board first -- after all, many of them knew him.

The morning came (after a rough night with sick family members), and we ran around like headless chickens trying to get everything set up (they were doing a PowerPoint presentation in Sunday School and showing a DVD in worship), and it didn't help that I hadn't talked to the Sunday School people about what was going on.

In the end, I shouldn't have worried. The presentations were great. Rick wasn't an over-optimist or a braggart (the kind who try to inflate what they are doing), but rather, he was a realist -- he didn't make up stuff or make their results sound better than they were. The truth is that the area where they are ministering is nearly 100% Muslim, and it's hard work. Just the available technology makes things tough (like washing clothes with a washboard and/or a wringer). And the Muslims aren't a necessarily easy people to evangelize.

But the point wasn't how hard they have things and how easy we have them. No, the point was to be faithful, to trust God, and to wait. It isn't easy to wait for God, especially as Americans; we want to see results, and we want them NOW! In our world of instantaneous everything, wait is a four-letter word.

We got to experience a little of the "wait" as I really tried to pack too much into the service. We had: puppets, ministry moment (Distribution Center), Epiphany Prison Ministry moment, DVD presentation, prayer time, songs (I didn't cut any songs, though I did have us sing verses 1 & 4 of the closing hymn instead of the whole thing, probably saving us 45 seconds), offerings (I didn't forget them this week), and sermon. It was kind of like my first Sunday in the pulpit here, but without the Sidney Singing Soldiers.

And I thought Rick and Monica did a great job.

For discussion: what do you think makes for a good missionary presentation?

10 comments:

the Sister said...

you mean besides telling all the congregation how the people in "x" country only want to leave???

I like stories from the "front lines" of people whose lives have been changed. I like slide presentations. (I guess times have changed since those, right?) I like cool items from their country. I LOVE MISSIONARY PRESENTATIONS.

Brian said...

I love to hear how people simply live like Jesus. People who humbly "become poor, so that others might become rich" as Jesus did.

I love to hear of people meeting and following after Jesus, becuase of missionaries living in such a way. It is exciting to hear about, and it hopefully inspires and motivates the rest of the church to live in a similar manner.

Ronda said...

I love the pictures and stories...makes it more "real" for me. That is, coming from someone who's been there and experienced the situation.

PS-It's probably an ok thing that the Sidney Singing Soldiers wouldn't fit into your service!! (They weren't THAT bad!) :)

Big Mama said...

I love stories of people who have been there and lived to tell it. I love the pictures-in whatever form-and really enjoy how people are being changed for the Lord. The best missionary story I have ever heard was from a teenager who just got back from a summer short term trip and told how her outlook had changed and brought me to tears (surprise!) telling how people there were changed and want to serve the Lord even though they may be killed or lose families. I have a lot more but probably can't put much more in. Missions Presentations: YAY!!

The Thief said...

re: "sister" - to explain that first comment, we were "treated" to a presentation from a missionary to Germany who said that everyone just wanted to leave Germany. He showed pictures of traffic jams on border highways to prove his point. Of course, he didn't tell us that it was a holiday...

Mary Beth said...

Lots and lots of pictures!

the Sister said...

All Germans want to do is GET OUT OF GERMANY, we were told. Golly, we thought, it must be terrible there, in darkest Germany. Did the guy have a heart for the lost? I wonder what got him into missions in the first place. (I think it was obligation...wasn't his dad a missionary too?)

muzik316 said...

truth

muzik316 said...

Thief... can I get your email? I was going to send you something the other day and realized I don't have it and it's not on your site.

jason said...

would you be interested in speaking at one of our chapel services? the girl in charge of finding speakers still needs a few more people and i thought you would be a fine addition. if interested, e-mail me your contact info at j-sheldon@onu.edu.