As we approach our departure, we also approach our commission at all of the services at Beach UMC this weekend. We are excited to be sent off into the mission field covered in prayer by our church family. Though I don’t know what exactly will be said by Pastors Joby and Jerry, I’d have to imagine they will at least reference the greatest commission in all of history which is, of course, in the gospel of Matthew.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I have read these verses several times recently as we get closer to leaving for Costa Rica. As Andrew and I have been making our way through the Bible in the past few months, my mind has dissected the Bible in a different way. I find myself trying to consider more and more how my life reflects the same challenges and situations as what I am reading about in the Bible. Or how I would have thought and felt in the midst of the things taking place in the Old Testament that we covered thus far.
In the verses described as the Great Commission, I think about the disciples going to Galilee, which is quickly followed by the words “where Jesus told them to go.” They probably weren’t aware what Jesus would tell them just yet, or what exactly he had in store for each of them. Andrew and I have committed to mission work for the next year as God has told us to. We will go to Costa Rica where He has told us to go and trust me when I say, we aren’t exactly sure what He has in store for us. Once the disciples went to Galilee as they were supposed to, some still doubted. We’ve had strong moments of faith where we were completely on board with God’s plan for our lives over the next year or so, but definite moments of doubt. Are we crazy to give up good jobs and a comfortable life to move to a foreign land? I guess that depends on whom you ask. But Jesus says to GO. That statement may have made the disciples nervous, probably in the same way it makes us nervous. There are plenty of unknowns when you make the decision to go out into the world and serve, leaving behind what you do know. I think it is incredible that Jesus takes a moment to reassure us in the midst of these moments when we are beginning to wonder about this command. He is with us always, to the very end. The Message phrases it this way, “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
This summer, one of my high school senior girls is going on her first mission trip ever. I am beyond proud of her for putting aside her doubts and worries and making the decision to go out into the world and serve. I think about the teenagers I have ministered to as a small group leader here in Beach Student Ministry. We’ve certainly had many conversations about missions over the last 4 years. The Great Commission is so important to all of us because it’s a command, not an option. It makes me proud that the teenagers I have worked with over the past 4 years are taking it seriously. As we get ready to move to Costa Rica and minister to a whole new group of teenagers, I’ll need to communicate the same important message to them… to Go. Granted, it’s going to sound a bit different. A couple of years ago, I bought myself a bilingual Bible so that I could grow accustomed to verses and biblical language in Spanish. So with my gringo accent in tact, we will say to the Tico teenagers “Vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones.”
Entonces los once discípulos salieron hacia Galilea y se dirigieron al monte que Jesús les había indicado. Cuando vieron a Jesús, lo adoraron, ¡pero algunos de ellos dudaban! Jesús se acercó y dijo a sus discípulos: “Se me ha dado toda autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra. Por lo tanto, vayan y hagan discípulos de todas las naciones, bautizándolos en el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo. Enseñen a los nuevos discípulos a obedecer todos los mandatos que les he dado. Y tengan por seguro esto: que estoy con ustedes siempre, hasta el fin de los tiempos.”
If you’d like to know more about our plans for Costa Rica and what we will do there, please visit our website at www.HelpSendUs.com . You can visit the “Get Involved” page to help support us along the way.