Practicing Perseverance

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything[1].

36 hours. That is how long it took on a recent missions trip to travel from Kentucky to Central Asia (We can’t disclose the precise location for security reasons). No, we didn’t sail there. And no, it does not typically take this long to get there. The missions team experienced multiple flight cancelations in Louisville, was rerouted to Miami, spent a day in London, and lastly endured a 5-hour bus ride to the final destination. The facility we stayed at closely resembles camping accommodations in America.  However, power constantly went out affecting space heaters, there was minimal access to hot water, and temperatures often dropped to 20 degrees.  

Nonetheless, the mission team worked diligently with one goal in mind: to lead the best possible retreat for our IMB missionaries in the region. For 4 days we lead worship, took care of children in VBS-like activities for the missionaries’ children, shared meals, and enjoyed recreational activities.

As you read the trip’s account you are most certainly already thinking about the Chistian character of this team. Each one of the participants conducted themselves knowing that everything we do is an act of worship. Paul encourages us to do everything as unto the Lord[2]. Whether brewing coffee for missionaries in Central Asia or working as a teacher back in Kentucky, our commitment to excellency emanates from our gratitude to the Lord.

The Central Asia missions team’s perseverance and endurance also displayed their love for our IMB missionaries. We are thankful that keeps on calling people to ends of the world. These individuals go to hospitable places to become a living testimony of Jesus and his love for the nations. As one of the missionaries in Central Asia shared with our team: “It has been years since I have been able to worship in English”. Kentucky Baptist understand that it is our privilege to serve one another and to do so for those that carry the Gospel of Jesus to those in need[3].

However, there is a third personal commitment we understand as followers of Jesus. We know that the pathway to spiritual maturity goes through the testing of our faith. It is through trials and difficulties that our faith is shaped and transformed.  The mission’s team to Central Asia embraced temporary sleep deprivation, hunger, physical exhaustion, and frustration as the vehicles by which our character was developed, according to the Lord’s purpose.

It is my prayer that as you read this blog entry you are encouraged and reminded that whatever difficulties you are facing, they are happening according to God’s plan, for his Glory, and your maturity.  May God allow us to practice perseverance until we are “mature, not lacking anything.”

[1] James 1:3-4

[2] Colossians 3: 23-24

[3] Romans 10:14

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