Last week I watched with pride as my daughter shared with the congregation experiences from her seven-week mission trip to Malawi. Kayla and two other ladies had traveled to Malawi to teach in our church-run school in Blantyre. It was a life-changing experience for them. All three are anxious to go back, and two of them want to serve for an entire year. The Blantyre mission is just one of many ministries our congregation takes part in.
We got involved in international mission and ministry five years ago as an answer to prayer, and we’ve never looked back. Our goal is to journey with Jesus sharing God’s love and life with others. We were already heavily involved in community outreach locally in Cincinnati, but we believed God was calling us to do more. We contacted Rod Matthews, one of the GCI mission directors, and asked if there was a mission opportunity in his area for our congregation. We now work with a Nepalese pastor, Deben Sam, to support a free medical clinic for the poorest of the poor in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Since that time we’ve begun to do work in Africa, Jamaica, Haiti, Belarus, and South America. Contrary to the popular opinion that a church cannot afford mission, outreach giving has increased as the members have made a commitment to be a blessing to our brothers and sisters around the world. The mission trip to Malawi, for example, started with a conversation with African mission director Kalengule Kaoma two years ago.
Let me share how simple getting started can be.
We have a “Small Change for a Small Change” mission that supports the Les Ambassadors school in Haiti. Twice a month the small children in our congregation—all two to six of them—walk through the congregation with tin cups labeled “Haiti.” The members drop in their loose change, and the children dump the loose change into a “treasure chest.” While they do this, we talk about and pray for our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Over the past four years, we’ve raised $9,000 for Haiti—in small change. It’s an easy and effective way to start mission, and it won’t affect your church budget.
Our denomination is growing rapidly in other countries. There is a hunger for the gospel, and the GCI mission directors can use your help. They would love to hear from you and are more than willing to help you get involved in international mission and ministry. You can start small and then watch the enthusiasm grow. A small change can lead to big mission.
Author: Rick Shallenberger