Monday, May 4, 2015

Go And Bring Forth Fruit

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Arturo Sotillo, from Flickr
The title is familiar to many Christians, from John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." Or, in principle, Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.". We recognize it as a call to evangelism, outreach, missions.  And it's a call from Christ to all Christians.


The call often seems stronger in seemingly exotic settings such as the one to the left.  That's a neighborhood in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1993.  Not all that long ago.  In truth, the center of San Jose doesn't look all that different from Baltimore.  There's traffic and mass transit.  And it's still a place I'm thinking of going to.  Including having started a funding campaign, here: http://www.gofundme.com/sxs68c .  Let's take a look at why and what makes up my missions bucket list.

I have degrees from both secular and Bible colleges.  And for much of my Christian life, my employment choices seemed to center around supporting my pastor and furthering the Gospel.  I don't regret choosing that, but it left me with nothing in retirement beyond Social Security to live on and further my own call.  Thus, the decision to try GoFundMe.  That and the understanding that the budget of the ministry I'm in will do better if there's one less to support. But why San Jose?

Like many sheltered American teens, I had my season of feeling I was invincible in some ways. So, I ignored the warnings about smoking.  Then I convinced myself I could quit anytime.  I was good at being wrong on both counts and it took many years before I actually did quit smoking.  As a result, I have COPD and emphysema.  Both moderate, but both effecting my breathing, particularly if there's too much heat and humidity or it's too cool.  The result, once I decided to no longer physically beat myself up to meet expectations (mine and those of others), was interesting.

Even in moderate Baltimore, there were long periods where I spent most of my time at home.  I can blog and write from there.  And my church streams its services online.  So, I've had a form of evangelism and I've been able to be spiritually well fed.  But God has been putting on my heart that the personal touch is an essential part of my growth, both how I receive and how I give out.

San Jose has a climate where I can do that pretty much all year long.  I've had Spanish in both High School and College, so it's relearning instead of starting from scratch.  And there are American retirees and expats.  So, I'm looking forward to the possibility of a bilingual coffee house ministry. And being able to minister in personal ways that my blogging and writing can't.  So, what's needed for prayer and financial coverage?

1) Spiritual Preparation:

A) The spiritual support of my pastor and our missions department.  I believe God is pointing me in a direction that is physically beneficial for me and mutually beneficial for me and others, spiritually. At the same time, I'm also aware that, without that spiritual support from homebase, my opportunities are limited.  Without their OK, I already know that I can't fully be part of the team that's already in place.

B) Prayer, prayer, prayer!  I'm praying, but I also don't want to miss out on any of the blessings generated by others praying for me.  I'll take all the prayer I can get!

2) Medical Preparation:

A) Eye exam and new glasses.

B) Dealing with some misplaced callouses and a small growth on one toe.  Those will make walking easier.

C) A starting supply of medications for COPD, etc. and vitamins.

I live in Psalm 37:5, "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.".  At the same time, I believe Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.".  The latter as much in using wisdom in the mundane as God's protection in the blatantly spiritual realm.  While I can still fake it with very basic Spanish, things like health shouldn't be left to chance.  It's too easy for misunderstandings to get in the way.

3) Packing and Shipping:

I need some good, solid counsel on what to take and what to leave behind.  And probably help doing that.

A) With a place like Costa Rica, it's easy to cut out the winter stuff.  But I have a good wardrobe that fits the climate, some of it better for fitting into the culture and for staying comfortable in the climate.

B) I have an excellent personal study library.  Do I bring it all?  If not, I need wisdom in what to keep and what to take.

C) The same is true with my electronics.  I have a fair idea of what goes and what stays with my computer stuff.  And I know most of my sound system is going to get a new home and owner.  But I have a set of speakers that I'm know I don't have the knowledge to replace with equivalents when I get there.  But I'm leaning toward letting those go, too.

4) Paperwork:

A) There are the procedures and costs for the passport and any necessary visas and paperwork.

B) Ease with and health and banking things that need to be obtained or modified.

5) Housing:

A) Comfortable and homey.  There's a possibility that I may end up with a roommate.  So, our fitting together is part of comfortable and homey.

B) Not too expensive.  Which may be partly covered by having a roommate.

C) Well located.  This one's multi-part:
  • easy to get to the church,
  • well located for evangelism,
  • close to laundry facilities or have them in the building.  I don't drive.
  • good electrical and internet connections to continue the blog and books.
D) Furnishings and utensils.

6) Financial coverage for food and medical expenses.  I've read that Costa Rica has great medical coverage for about the equivalent of $70/month.  And food costs, while comparable to what I'm spending now, may offer a lot more healthy choices.

7) Internet -- whatever the cost of high speed internet, plus about $13/month for a VPN faking US connection would allow everything I have, from blogging and ebook publishing to my music services, to function the way they do now.  Most of which, hopefully, will help support my stay on the mission field.

That about covers it.  And for all of that, I'm living in my favorite verse.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

8) Wants:

Yes, I have those, too..  There are people in Washington state, Nevada, and Texas that I'd like some face to face time with.  To let them know how important they and their edification have been. Also a September wedding in Poland I'd like to get to.  And some debt I'd like to see diminish before I go out.  We'll see what God does with those.

One final note.  I believe I'll always be connected with GGWO homebase and my pastor.  But, if I get to Costa Rica or wherever and only return for visits, I'm fine with that.  All it takes is the right people and the right place and wherever I am becomes home.  I've moved often enough to see that happen several times.  San Jose already has some people I consider friends.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (KJV)  Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 

If all of that seems to be something you'd like to support, you can certainly keep all of that in prayer.  And I'd appreciate any financial support, either on a one time basis or ongoing.  Again the funding campaign is here: http://www.gofundme.com/sxs68c

4 comments:

  1. Wow Bill what an adventure. It is great that you have started the process to live out what God has put on your heart. You see beyond your own circumstances and have focused on what God has placed in your heart. Sorry I can't help out financially right now, but I will be praying. I am sure God will open the doors.

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    1. it's daunting, fun, scary, exciting and about any other superlative adjective we can think of. All with a great peace. Whatever God's going to do is fine. Which is why your prayers are more important than your dollars. I'll take all the prayer I can get, Jon.

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  2. Praying for you to get outta dodge quick... loll tired of you messing with me hee hee~ just teasing... Seriously praying, help is on the way that I firmly believe~

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    1. God's plan is perfect. I believe I'm walking in it and understand His timing. But I've been wrong before. So, my ultimate plan is to live in joy in His plan, no matter what happens or when.

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