Yes, it’s true, we went to Missouri (again). But, we had a great reason to go–the ABEFC youth missions trip at Flashpoint Adventures:
“DiscoverNORMAL for the billions of unreached people around the world at Flashpoint Adventures- an immersive 45-hour program located on a secluded campus at the Lake of the Ozarks.”
The “secluded campus” is actually the Missionary Training Center where Payton and I received all of our cross cultural training. The usual 45-hour program got extended into a few more days of work projects and evenings spent in the company of folks who’ve been around the world.
“Flashpoint Adventures exists to mobilize the American church to live out the heart of God: redeeming humanity back to Himself. Discover the hope God has given you. Discover the goal of missions and the rigors of missionary life in a tribal context. Discover the difficulty of learning a tribal language, the intricacy of creating an alphabet, the challenge of accurately communicating God’s Word in a different culture. Discover the necessity of functioning as a team while gaining a clear picture of what it takes to reach the forgotten.”
The Staff did a great job of making missions come alive for our students. But, I won’t spoil all of the juicy details since part of the effect of the trip is keeping some surprises for future groups!
“We desire to see students’ eyes opened to their identity and purpose in God’s mission: seeing mature churches established that glorify God in places He has never been named. Students will leave with a new perspective – a flashpoint – that proclaims: Your life is not your own. Are you willing to let God work through you to accomplish the impossible? Are you willing to discoverNORMAL?”
The second part of our trip continued to reinforce the new things everyone had learned. It’s amazing how laying two truckloads of mulch and hauling stumps out of the wet woods did all of that, but I know working as a team did provide an excellent environment for learning–as it always does!
After dodging downpours, scrubbing away poison ivy, and skirting most of the creepy crawlies, we spent 3 evenings in the homes of some seasoned missionaries. Each couple was able to stir up new thoughts, awaken questions, and clarify what the Great Commission looked like in their context.
We love the Walkers! God used them to prompt us toward missions and introduced us to New Tribes while we were at Austin Bluffs. They took time with Payton and I while we were dating, and we loved that they were able to impact the youth on this trip as they shared about God’s work in Papua New Guinea. Isn’t it true that God uses people to change our lives? Can you think of conversations you’ve had that changed the entire course of your life? I can!
An added bonus to the time at the Walkers was that I celebrated my 29th birthday with the whole group, complete with a woven crown made by Claire—and cupcakes.
During this trip, I felt like I was a part of a few of those “flashpoint” moments–some of them I’m not sure what direction they will take, but I’m sure that I saw the tendrils of God’s handiwork woven into conversations. It was amazing to see how God coordinated certain people to meet with certain youth with certain connections. What a thrill to see a manifestation of God in people’s lives!
Robert and Rosemarie Baghurst (Robert’s in the top left) were a part of challenging our students as well. We got to know these dear folks through our outreach to Green Gables Boy’s home when we were in training. They brought West Africa to life for the students with traditional greetings that included a fingersnaping handshake, storytelling, and hot pepper and kola nut. Liberia, West Africa was another stage on which to watch the complexities of culture and missionary life interact with the need of the lost to hear the gospel.
Don and Julie Flower finished out our final evening with a taste of Paraguay, South America. We had chipa (a cheesy bread), maté cocido (Flower style–carmelized with coals and served with hot milk), and tereré (cold yerba maté). They also shared from their hearts about the struggles and especially the joys of serving God in church planting. They’ve spent 30 some years overseas!
This trip was amazing–what a wealth of wisdom and an incredible chance for all of us to be reminded of God’s faithfulness!
Pray that the impact of this trip would resound in the hearts of the youth!