Tag Archives: missions

We felt your prayers pushing us forward

prayer powerFour guys from LA, young guys, rebels who have turned to God, went to Guatemala believing they could possibly be used. What happened at the Door Church in Guatemala was extraordinary: people were healed, faith was restored, forgiveness came back between brethren.

And I’m happy. That was the church God used me to raise up. I was troubled by some negative trends happening there now in my absence. God used Arti Cedillo, a former Satanist, to preach. Pastor Steven Fernandez, a former street thug, was their guide and body guard. Junior Cervantez, a former graffiti artist, and Johnny Huerta, a former partier, went along for the fun of it and wound up making a great spiritual impact also.

Junior was skate-boarding the the marijuana-smokers who frequent the church’s street in front. Johnny bought McDonald’s for all the kids one night, a treat so rare because of poverty it’s usually reserved for only for a kid’s birthday.

Arti said when he got back: We felt your prayers literally pushing us forward. And that’s how I was reminded of the power of prayer.

Generation outbreak

Arty Cedillo, Johnny Herta, Steven Fernandez and Junior Cervantes

The L.A. guys, around 25 years old: Arty Cedillo, Johnny Herta, Steven Fernandez and Junior Cervantes

Four young men realized revival in my (old) church in Guatemala.  People were healed. People got excited about Jesus. People were restored. Revival services brought what they don’t always bring: revival.

As I sat listening, I realized God was with these guys. God delighted in them. The report they gave impacted my congregation in Santa Monica, the Lighthouse Church. But to me, it transcended. This was a watershed. The new generation of young disciples was breaking out. No longer would they wait for the older generation to lead. They would bring God themselves.

May the younger generation arise and take the reigns of His church!

Making a masterpiece takes…

masterpieceI’m still trying to produce my life’s masterpiece, that stroke of genius, that huge and beautiful work by which I may be remembered.

In the meantime, there are lots of starts and stops. I’ve thrown out the canvas a bunch of times. I’ve produced a long line of inferior works. Some of them have been good. But none of them is critically acclaimed.

Of course, I’m referring to whatever your calling may be, not just art. I myself am no artist. But I’ve compared my work serving the Lord to artistry. Am I satisfied success

with the works I’ve done to glorify Jesus? Not yet. I’ll keep working.

Don’t fret. Keep on in the right direction. Your last work will be your best and will make everybody forget the rest.

Making a masterpiece takes time.

Nimby Christian

A Nimby (not in my back yard) is a protestor who doesn’t want (development, resource exploration, homosexuals and so on) near his home. If you want to open a nuclear power plant, he complains about radiation danger. If you want to set up a windfarm, he complains about losing his view. He wants to use energy and agrees that they produce it, just “not in my back yard.”

A while back, I shared how I was forced to leave 16 years on the mission field by criminals. Somebody commented: “Let the Guatemalans rot.”

Ouch.

Sadly, Christians often can’t be moved to impact the world until something negative happens close to home. Jesus calls us to go to the world and address its problems. Don’t wait for them to come to America.

When terrorists destroyed the New York Trade Center towers, America reacted in a negative way. Go kill the culprits, whoever they may be, wherever they may lurk.

What about going and preaching the gospel to these nations??? Jesus told us to GO. The reason why they brought us hate is became we didn’t bring them love (the love of Christ).

One of the last things I did in Guatemala…

It was the fountain, seen in the background as this young girl explains why she likes the Liceo Bilingüe La Puerta, the school I founded and worked for 14 years. Whew! What a labor of love!

As I think back now, it is almost hard to remember the blood, sweat and tears invested into this place. The fountain is symbolic, a splash of beauty and tranquility to crown more than a decade of untiring work.

The beauty heals. To see children still being ministered to, to see the school functioning as a safe place, to see kids be raised up in God’s gold standard, is rewarding.

Even if you don’t understand Spanish, I invite you to watch this video, in which the girl, unprompted, unscripted, shares naturally what flows from her heart.

Just passing by turned into a miracle


“You know we just can´t pass by without stopping in to say Hi.

It is considered the height of rudeness in Guatemala to not dutifully greet EVERYONE. No being too busy.

So Dianna went in to see Surama, and I waited. Apparently the Holy Spirit took over. She asked Surama if she had spoken in her heavenly language lately. The question provoked panic which brought repentance. Surama, who had lived years as a deadened Christian, came alive with a vibrancy with which she is still serving Jesus. She works at the school I started.

When you serve Christ 24-7, you never know when God will use you. Now God is using Surama.

New and old followers of Christ


It has been four years since I was missionary in Guatemala. As the years pass, there are old dear friends still in the work — and they warm my heart. Then too, there are new friends, also a joy. The video is of Andrea, who shyly explained what she liked about the school, el Liceo Bilingue La Puerta, that I left working in Guatemala. I’m proud of her.

Africa medical mission report #3

Africa medical missionBANJUL, THE GAMBIA — From beginning to end, the animals drove Lighthouse Medical Missions personnel… er, batty.

Bats were the culprits behind the recent lethal Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. It scared us.

Pigs were to blame for our return flight delay Saturday, getting sucked into the right jet engine. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the flash from the wing. I heard an explosion like a tire blowout. It conjured images of the plane trundling off the edge of the runway and catching fire.

Welcome to standard operating procedure for Lighthouse Medical Missions. Since its inception in 1998, medical practitioners have attended to 50,000 patients. Well, that statistic is not correct anymore. This past week we saw another 1,400 — in spite of Ebola fears working in our minds.

Christians in Africa

I got to pray for Muslims and Christians alike after they saw medical practitioners

Actually, the virulent hemorrhagic fever caused by Ebola prompted two-thirds of our team to take of the unusual step of evacuating on April 3.

The epidemic started when somebody ate a natural incubator of the virus: bats. Eating “bushmeat” is not on my bucket list, but to somebody in Guinea Bissau it must have seemed a delicacy, and that’s how the deadliest virus known to man roared onto the human scene, health officials said.

I stayed with 16 team members who decided to weather out their fears and stick with the original travel itinerary. I was just starting to breathe easy as the Brussels Airline jetliner was picking up speed on the runway. Then came the pop and a thud. Then the pilot slammed on the brakes.

medical team in the Gambia

The Lighthouse medical mission team in the Gambia 2014

“That was scary,” said mission leader, Dr. Robert Hamilton. It was an extraordinary admission for him because I have never known the Santa Monica pediatrician to be afraid of anything. It was Dr. Hamilton who persuaded us to stay in The Gambia.

And he was right. We didn’t get sick from Ebola.

And we were safe on the runway.

This was my first African medical mission with the Lighthouse group. As I interviewed veterans of these trips, I pondered the healthy dose of adventure and misadventure, the knack for getting into unheard-of predicaments, only to escape unscathed, as if cheating death.

Where is the borderline separating “dedicated” from “crazy?”

On The Gambia River.

On The Gambia River.

Then I remembered Marco Polo. He made a years-long journey back from China to solicit capable missionaries to evangelize the Chinese, according to his book. After a year, only two dared to accompany Marco Polo, his dad and his uncle. But at the first rumor of war, the pair fled to Rome, leaving Marco Polo and his family to return alone. I realized we must continue to manage risk. After all, this IS Africa.

Prior to the trip, I had steeled my nerves for the worst gore medicine witnesses. On previous missions, doctors had attended to machete-chopped victims of civil war and even performed a mastectomy with only some lidocane injections. Like Joseph Conrad, I was prepared to say, “The horror! The horror!”

As it turned out, the cases were tame. In The Gambia, where half of the 45-member team worked, we saw mostly pain, fungus, malaria and worms. The other half-team traveled 100 miles by bus to Guinea Bissau and didn’t hardly treat anything worse.

One thing emerged to me as an eye witness. Lighthouse Medical Missions has an impact way beyond the temporary relief of 30 Motrin pills. By coordinating with local pastors, they essentially maintain field workers year-round who teach such principles as hygiene and household budgeting.

Because the pastors are Africans, they work at a fraction of what it would cost to maintain an American. They learn from U.S doctors and pastors and transmit it longterm to the local population.

On Sunday morning at the Lighthouse Church in Banjul, Pastor Alusine Kpewa was teaching on financial savings, a lesson virtually ignored by the poor of developing countries.

“I do not want the child of God to live all your life in debt,” said Kpewa (pronounced Peh-wah).

People can escape the syndrome of the eternally extended beggar’s hand.

As a fruit of twice yearly Lighthouse Medical Mission, there are over a 100 churches, concentrated in West Africa. They are ramping up operations. They have dug wells and founded schools.

So whether it’s bats or pigs harrying us, we must continue to take to Africa the love of God manifested in a practical way.

If you would like to participate with finances or volunteering, check out the webpage www.lighthousemedicalmissions.com . The ministry is a part of the Lighthouse Church and the Lighthouse Christian Academy. Virtually anyone can come on an Africa medical mission, but come prayed up.

This time it was bats and pigs. Next time, it will be something else.

This report first appeared on the santamonica.patch.com

Africa medical mission report 1

BANJUL, THE GAMBIA — From Southern Italy to California to West Africa, Dr. Kevin White’s participation on the Lighthouse Medical Mission is as improbable as it is unusual.

Africa medical missions

Dr. Kevin White in Africa medical mission.

On March 31, Dr. White, a cardiologist and two nurse practitioners attended to 300 patients here, kicking off a clinic that is likely to grow in numbers and seriousness of cases as the week progresses.

A pediatrician from Ventura, Dr. White was a chef carousing in Naples in 1985 when he woke up on a park bench to see an Anglican Church. Surprised to see such a thing in the land of Catholicism and wanting to hear some English, he stumbled in — to find his life totally change through Jesus.

Now instead of serving alcohol, he wanted to serve humanity, so he studied dietetics on the American East Coast, then medicine. When he diagnosed an old missionary from Africa with malaria, the patient told Dr. White that God wanted him in Africa.

So Dr. White set up practice in Southern California with the exclusive purpose of raising money to fund his twice-yearly forays into the Dark Continent. He leads teams from his church. Now, two-thirds of his family is in The Gambia with him — as is two-thirds of his office.

beautiful African children

That’s me with the kids. I fell in love with the kids!

“This is the week I go broke,” quipped Dr. White, who left only one doctor behind manning his office. He now is attending three times as many patients as his busiest day is America — 100 patients a day. The need is critical, and West Africans don’t have access or finances for quality medical attention.

On Monday, there were patients with pain, a snake bite, and a keloid. Though the Lighthouse Medical Missions coordinates logistics with local churches, all are welcome to the free clinics. Gambia’s huge majority is Muslim.

I came to observe and report on their activities. I’m impressed with the level of compassion in every team member’s heart. After a breakneck pace for eight hours, the nurses, high school students, nursing students, a retiree and others were still smiling.

On these trips, medical practitioners are a premium, but no one is useless. At the first hour, I was packing pills. Later I was praying for patients and then sweeping up. It seems not too many of our patients and a few of our volunteers didn’t understand the concept of a trash can.

I’m no stranger to the Third World. I was a missionary in Guatemala for 16 years. But even I had trouble plugging in the fan that didn’t have a plug; it was just two wires that were stuck into the outlet.

malaria pills

Don’t forget to take your malaria pills. (I kept forgetting.)

Try as I might, I couldn’t get them to stick, and the fan kept shutting off.That’s when Dr. White surprised me giving me the tip: Stuff two plastic ear speculas in with the wires to wedge them in. It worked, and doctor and patients enjoyed the breeze.

Yeah, he’s been to 17 Africa week-long trips since he started in 2004. But I was a missionary full time for 16 years in a developing nation. How does he know more than me?

I guess Dr. White’s a certified intrepid medical missionary.

If you would like to help pay for volunteers or medicines, or fund a water project, your tax deductible donation can be made at www.lighthousemedicalmissions.com

NOTE: This article originally appeared on the SantaMonica.Patch.com on April 1.

Off to Africa

Social scientists can’t understand altruism.

Africa medical missionsMost of them chalk it up to “wanting to feel important.” This makes me laugh. If I just wanted to feel important, why wouldn’t I make a lot of money and be important? There is more to altruism than they want to recognize.

A number of us are going to Africa Thursday to participate in a medical mission. By any measure, it’s not tourism. It’ll be a whole heck of a lot of inconvenience, uncomfortableness, hard work, sweat, and endangering our own health. So why are 50 people WANTING to go on the Lighthouse Medical Mission’s trip this year to Gambia and Guinea Bissau?

I was packing vitamins last week with Dal Basile, whose self-effacing service to humanity inspires me. She’s the nicest lady, but she’ll turn feisty if you so much as drop one vitamin on the floor. They cost 20 cents each, she says. Donations cannot be wasted at all. Thankfully, I didn’t drop a single pill.

If you wish to donate to Africa medical missions, feel free to go to this webpage.

Legacy

El Liceo Bilingue La Puerta

Students in 2014 in the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta, the school my wife and I founded with so much work. Good people joined and helped us.

I’ve known churches that dive kamikaze when the pastor leaves, so naturally I was anxious. But it’s been four years since I sought refuge in the United States from criminal threat. And the church my wife and I started 20 years ago is thriving. So too the school.

It feels like I died. (At just about anybody’s funeral, all the good things are remembered. When somebody dies, you see what his impact was.)

The Door Bilingual School in GuatemalaNow that I’m visiting Guatemala again, I’m seeing people who I reached out to 20 years ago. They express profound appreciation.

“I don’t know who he is, but I’m going to go give him a hug,” one schoolkid said. The kids thronged me. My eyes misted… Even those who never knew me appreciate the years of toil to establish a work of God.

colegio cristiano Guatemala

He’s Mikey, but I call him “Einstein Hair.” I love that little guy.

People are still getting saved. The school continues to be a safe harbor. The disciples continue to labor to extend God’s kingdom.

For the first time in my life, I can see a legacy. And I ask myself: What will my legacy be in the United States?

Arrived and blessed in Guatemala

missionary Guatemala

Pastor Isaias came and prayed for a couple to have a child. They had been sterile for a decade. Here’s Salma, who came nine months later.

Shy like a schoolboy, I entered the Christian private school I founded in Guatemala. Would anyone remember me? I was prepared to be seen as a stranger. It had been over a year since I had visited.

Soon the kids crowded me, hugging me, reminding me that I am useful, that this is what I have chosen to live for (not money). Love is my reward.

We are scheduled to preach revival in the coming days, but today was a day of recovery from the red-eye flight. Too anxious to see friends family I had left here when criminals brusquely ended 16 years of missionary work, I rushed off to the school. I am amazed to see miracles in progress. The joy of the kids filled me with joy.

Thank you for praying for miracles in the coming days as we minister the love and power of Christ in this beleaguered Central American nation. Much love to all my friends on the blogosphere.

I’m off to Guatemala. Please pray for revival and miracles!

photo(9)

At the Lighthouse, even such hardened rivals as UCLA-USC love each other and live in harmony.

We are heading to Guatemala and expect to see miracles in the healing crusade. So please put your mustard seed faith into a prayer for the Door Church in Guatemala and your servant.

Much love, Mike

Mimi’s miracles

Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.

Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.

Because Mimi was born with two spinal cords, her parents came from the countryside to Guatemala City for successive surgeries. First doctors saved her life. Then they helped her to walk. Eventually she gained control of her bladder. She would have been identical twins but the zygote only partially split.

Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.

Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.

Ludving and Nelly wound up attending my church. Ludving was about to buy some alcohol to drown sorrows when he heard the praise music and came in. He didn’t get saved. He had already accepted Jesus. The worship exhilarated and lifted him out of despair. They came to the church.

The Door Church in Guatemala City

The Door Church in Guatemala City

When he decided to do something, Ludving never did it half-way. Right decision after right decision led the couple to hosting, then pastoring, a pioneer church. When thugs chased me off, the Holy Spirit pointed to him as the man to take over.

Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga

Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga

To my way of thinking, Mimi should be gloriously and completely healed by now. She is not. On Thursday, she is submitting to her umpteenth surgery, this time to correct kidney failure (she has four kidneys, but only one completely developed and only one works). Urine backflow from her bladder is poisoning her one good kidney.

Faith is not always a snap-of-the-fingers miracle. Faith is grinding out the healing over the long haul. I like the instantaneous variety. But not everything is quick like a fire-cracker. Mimi’s miracles have drawn out inexorably for 16 years, her age. The battle is raging dragging on, and the faithful keep mustering faith.

Ludving and Nelly

Ludving and Nelly

It’s pointless to ask why. Blaming God like an atheist solves nothing (although I suppose he feels high and mightily justified in his bitterness). That’s not what we want. We want final and complete healing for this precious girl.

Mimi is a spunky girl. Despondency affects her parents, her sister, me — but not her. Thanks for helping us pray for her. Let me know how I can help you pray for your needs.

 

I left my heart in Guatemala

Guatemala church

Irene, born at the same time as my son Hosea, got baptized.

Can a missionary ever return? Can he integrate into professional life after he has tasted the glories of God’s kingdom in the foreign field? Nothing is as wonderful in life as living the adventure.

I rejoice at having handed off the baton to a zealous young pastor, Steven Fernandez. I poured out almost 16 years of my life into Guatemala. Now it’s Pastor Steven’s turn to be a hero and do heroics. He is injecting the spirit of fun in the church, and it is growing again! It is becoming a dominion-establishing church.

guatemala missionIt is my joy to support him with prayer and with finances and with everything I can. He is on the front lines. I wish I could be on the frontlines, but for now, God has me here on the supply line, praying, teaching, learning new things, supporting the work.

If you have even the faintest notion that you should go, GO! If you are called to be a support for those who have gone, then PRAY and DON’T HOLD BACK ANY SUPPORT you can give.

Into my kids

Rarely do the authorities catch kidnappers.

Rarely do the authorities catch kidnappers.

Maybe I’ve gone vicarious. I’m really into my kids.

I’m into their soccer. I take them to practices ceaselessly. I film them make goals. Since I teach at my daughter’s high school, I try to have lunch with her. Almost everything is for them. They’re my #1.

A friend didn't like the extreme violence of the movie about Jesus' sacrifice. But I wondered WHAT did she think happened?

A friend didn’t like the extreme violence of the movie about Jesus’ sacrifice. But I wondered WHAT did she think happened?

Which is why I’m thunderstruck at what God did. He sent His Son to die for my sin.

Into My Kids 3

Trained in Guatemala, Robert has done well in America with soccer!

I sort of had the opportunity to do something similar. At the end of almost 16 years of ministry in Guatemala, we had a kidnapping threat. I hightailed it and headed for America.

Maybe, if I wouldn’t have had kids, I would have just thumbed my nose at the threats and continued to minister, trusting in God (recklessly?). But because the threat breached the unbreachable, the holiest sanctum of my life, my children, it was intolerable.

Into My Kids 2

Hosea, amid his teammates

God handed His only Son over to the horrible Roman kidnappers. Sometimes the Guatemalan kidnappers cut off a finger or tortured their victims to hurry up ransom payments. While that is frightening and nightmarish, it’s silly nonsense compared to the disfiguring whippings and bloody beatings which they subjected God’s Son to.

As I think about this right now, I’m NOT inspired to praise Him. I feel throttled, numbed by the shock of it. When I get over this, I’ll praise Him.

Into My Kids

At left, Rebekah is with her friends, Gia and Jackie

I guess if you’ve never had a kidnapping threat, it’s easy to make light of what God did. Maybe it’s easy to trample under foot His sacrifice. It’s not easy as a human being to be understanding of you as you mock God, hate Him and blame Him for God-knows-what reason. Maybe you need to go through something like this to understand what He did. He did it for you — and despite you not taking it into account in the slightest, He still L-O-V-E-S you. So I’m doing my best to love you too. Most Christians try to reflect His perfect love, and most Christians fall short. I hope you can understand: Only His love lacks in no area.

from WhoWillYouServe.blogspot

from WhoWillYouServe.blogspot

Having kids has definitely deepened my understanding of God.  But what has really helped is my being unwilling to give up my kids to danger to be able to reach lost people. I love my kids too much to sacrifice them for others.

God loved you too much to hold back His Son.

Easy to do the hard thing

180425528793435119_r7rcuiwL_fWhy is it so hard to do the easy thing?

Prayer is easy. But there are 57 kabillion distractions that seem more important.

The hard thing is to do your own effort. But we Americans are always gung-ho to roll up the sleeves.

I should know what I’m talking about. I spent more than a decade of missionary work majoring in my own effort. When that didn’t work too well, I “discovered” what I 222787512785962157_1az3FDYx_bknew all along: God answers prayer.

I started praying more, and the results were spectacular.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t become a couch potato Christian. I still worked: I taught, I preached, I evangelized, I visited the brethren. But I cut down somewhat the hectic schedule and dedicated a more significant portion of time to prayer. No longer was prayer perfunctory, get-thru-it-as-quickly-as-possible. It became the focal point of the day.

prayBlackladyBut you have to clear your schedule, remove distractions, and concentrate on God. That means you turn off your electric devices to be able to turn on your spiritual device! Ha!

Prayer is easy. God works for you. Yet it is hard to pick this option. It is easier for us to try to work ourselves when we want results. That’s our basic human nature. Thus prayer is hard because it’s counterintuitive. Every fiber in our being screams that we are wasting our time.

If it’s going to be, it is up to…

20120215-075618… God.

Having lived 16 years in the Third World, I decry poverty mentality that blames “destiny” and takes no action to improve oneself. Thank God I learned the Protestant work ethic from childhood: through study, hard work, turquoise-turbulence-bruarfoss-fludir-icelandcreativity, one can achieve any dream. Third Worlders see themselves as powerless to get ahead; as a result, they just goof off and be lazy.

BUT, I have witnessed the short comings of a strong work ethic. Too often, too much hard work is not rewarded with results: it’s a lot of spinning wheels. I labored intensely as a missionary, and the church did NOT grow. After more than a decade of killing myself believing in the do-it-48730235-068d-4b0e-8daa-8e9e3ea245c1yourself mentality and seeing an essentially stagnant church, I tried prayer.

Things exploded. When man moves, it’s never as good as when God moves. I am NOT denouncing work. I am just tempering it. 141863456983057170_n4YYSVdB_bThere’s a balance. If you’re tired of tiring yourself out without seeing results, try entering more God into the equation. He may be waiting for you.

If it’s going to be, it is up to me God.

Poverty is not so bad

Friends and church are better than...

Friends and church are better than…

We enjoyed life while sustaining much self-denial as missionaries in Guatemala. I worried about IF I would be able to get deodorant. For the kids, a new pair of shoes only once every six months. The menu was beans and rice — and when you got tired of that, you could have rice and beans. It’s really not as bad as you might imagine.

My daughter at right.

My daughter at right.

There are other things in life that are more important than nice clothes, nice food, nice car. For example, having a loving and fun family is great. Serving a cause, though not applause, is another. True friends, a vibrant church, soccer. Hey, if you have enough to eat, ain’t got no complaints.

With my in-laws, eating out -- something we never did on the mission field

With my in-laws, eating out — something we rarely did on the mission field

Of course, we didn’t suffer poverty like the Guatemalans do. But even they seem to enjoy life through it. On the other hand, a lot of rich Americans are plagued by anxiety. Will I have enough when I retire? The Guatemalan doesn’t have enough now. Anxiety is worse than poverty.

This is the richness of my life! I teach these students at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

This is the richness of my life! I teach these students at Lighthouse Christian Academy.

Don’t be afraid of following your dreams, even if it is not the course of ambition. My family has been back in the States now for two-and-a-half years now, after 16 years in Guatemala. I suppose we could still be classified as “living in poverty.” My wife drives a 99 Ford Escort; I call it our Lexus. Why not make jokes and have fun?

Whadda we need missions for anyway??

I don’t see why we have to do missions. I mean, isn’t God in control of everything anyway? So He can take care of giving those people the gospel. I’ve learned He’s sovereign. That’s a big fancy word which means He does whatever He wants and nobody can stop him.

And while I’m wondering, why do we have to evangelize? People can see a Bible any time they want to. Even if they don’t have one at home, when they go to a hotel, they can always find a copy in the drawer. So it’s their problem if they don’t read it.

Our church just sent Pablo and Frieda to the foreign field, and I’m pretty sore. I’m going to miss them. Pablo was a young adult that I really liked, a cool guy who led youth group. He would always talk to me and be friendly. Who cares about the foreigners who don’t have Jesus? That’s their problem. This is not to mention all the money that will be spent over there. It’s a waste.

Bomb them or evangelize them

When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them – Luke 9:54-55 NIV.

A sharp contrast separates his disciples from Jesus — and that chasm remains today. While the “disciples” want to send bombs off to wipe out entire cities, Jesus proposes forgiveness and evangelization.

America has some Christian foundations, but all we can muster is war against Middle Eastern nations. We have no love to give. Let’s not expect anything good to come from the continuation of the Crusades. Until we share the gospel with these peoples, the hostilities will continue, and we won’t be able to expect safety at home any more.

Stop condemning others. Give them love. Someone said recently that America now spends yearly as much on mascot Halloween costumes as it does on missions. But the budget for military attacks is unlimited. Why do we do this? Because it’s easier to bomb peoples and just wash our hands of them.

In reality, I’m not taking a stand for or against military defense. I AM taking a stand against negligence on the behalf of Christians to pray and send missions. If we have no gospel to give, then we are left only with bombs. Jesus was willing to go to the cross for people’s salvation. What are we willing to do to spread the gospel? Because we are unwilling, we prefer to laud the use of bombs.

Combine faith with faithfulness

Students today in the Door Bilingual School

Despite my lack of faith, God has used me. When I dared to become a missionary in Guatemala, my measly faith could foresee no more than 25 people attending church. But God raised up a thriving church that planted churches. A vibrant Christian school was also raised up.

Then gunmen forced me to leave the country. After these robbers stole our money and our information, I realized they would be back for kidnapping. After 16 years, God moved us back to the States. I am currently teaching in a Christian school, praying and blogging — teaching others the secrets of ministry I learned in so many years “in the trenches.”

What’s the secret? God will use you. He’ll make your ministry grow — if you’ll just keep plodding on. I think I’m a plodder. I’m not an overnight sensation. Combine faith with faithfulness, and you get a potent mix! It has been enough to raise up a powerful work in Guatemala.

The great satisfaction of my life is to visit and see smiling kids still serving Jesus.

Hasta la victoria, siempre

For decades, Che Guevara was the most maligned figure by the CIA. An Argentine instrumental in Castro’s Cuban revolution, Guevara stood for communism, the toppling of governments by “popular uprising,” even the overthrow of the USA. To be honest, his picture struck me with fear back in the day when I was a teenager. But the Cold War has gone, well, cold. A re-evaluation might be permitted without war-whipped paranoia.

“El Che” was an inspirational personage. Free from the weight of wanting materialistic comforts, he fought unreservedly. His slogan, in Spanish in the title, is translated: “Towards (unto) victory, always.” Not even death would deter him from trying for triumph.

You may not like his atheistic humanism, but you ought not to dismiss his life — such sacrifice, such fearlessness, such passion. Where’s the Christian nowadays who matches his commitment?

For Guevara, self-denial meant dying, executed by Rangers in Bolivia, where he had tried to spark revolution. For us, “sacrifice” means getting out of bed to go to prayer. It means turning off the TV to read the Bible. Are we willing to go to the most God-forsaken lands to bring a revolution of Christian truth?

Nowadays, the insignia of Guevara has become watered down, a harmless symbol for adolescent rebelliousness. He’s become as mild as Pancho Villa or Bob Marley. My hope would be that our Christianity would retain its edge and not go mild.