Last week we were walking the streets of Guatemala, as the Lord guided us on our missions journey. Oh how I miss the beautiful town of Antigua Guatemala already! Yet, I’m sure that we will return as we build upon the relationships that we have made and take other teams to serve. This mission’s trip was full of Aha Moments for my husband and I. From building new relationships, to growing even closer in our marriage, to witnessing the miraculous, to pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and serving with no limits, we are changed! Each mission trip that God allows us to experience is another piece of the puzzle for our lives.
This trip was all about learning HOW to living missionally. For many of the participants this was their first mission’s trip. Many were challenged, yet we all were impacted and are excited about living missionally.
Many maybe asking, “What is living missionally?” Well it means to engage others with the gospel message and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We do this from serving and building relationships with people wherever we go. It also means to be led by the Holy Spirit and to be open for God to work through you and in you. Living missionally involves simply loving people by caring enough to pray for them, have a conversation with them, or simply give a hug. As our team was intentional about Living Missionally together, I had several Aha Moments where God spoke clearly about some things for our lives and I want to share them with you!
- Remember to approach life and especially ministry with childlike faith! If you aren’t careful, our “life experiences” can cause us to be know it all’s. When you have a childlike faith, you approach life with innocence and openness. You are also fearless. This makes you good ground for God to do the miraculous because
Matthew 18:1-5-At that time[ the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. 3 “I assure you,” He said,“ unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes[ one child like this in My name welcomes Me.
(Photos by Connie Rock)
During this missions trip we had the opportunity to visit an AIDS/HIV orphanage where all of the children were infected with the HIV virus. Although we looked different and clearly were not from there it did not stop the children from interacting with us and showing us love. I think the entire team would agree that we could learn a lot from how they loved us. They were open, they didn’t prejudge us, and they attempted to build relationships with us. Their love and humility represents Childlike Faith and we all could learn a lot just from watching a child.
- No matter where we go and how far we travel the Lord is always with us. Now this isn’t a new revelation but it was reaffirmed and an “Aha Moment” as I traveled to Guatemala and even returned home to a state of Emergency in Maryland (which I’ll expound upon later). One thing I noticed from the moment we got off the plane is that beautiful mountains and volcanoes surround Guatemala. During our first full day in Guatemala, our team was able to hike an active volcano called Pakaya. It was the one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and God’s voice was so clear on that long yet peaceful hike. He brought to my remembrance these verses:
Jerusalem—the mountains surround her.
And the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever. (Ps 125:2, HSCB)
For You, Lord, bless the righteous one;
You surround him with favor like a shield. (Ps 5:12, HSCB)
(Photo by Denzel & Connie Rock)
There is so much going on in this world. From police brutality and riots in Baltimore, to earthquakes in Nepal, to ISIS killings in the Middle East and Africa, to extreme poverty in Guatemala, turmoil is all over the world. Yet these verses bring me so much comfort. Every time we set out to intentionally do God’s will, we experience favor in our lives like never before. Our missions team also experiences the favor of God in their lives. One woman who attended the trip shared how she was returning home to a negative bank account. Well, when she returned home after serving for a week and living missionally she saw that she was blessed financially. No matter what is going on in the world, we have to know that God’s protection and His favor surrounds us just as those mountains surround Jerusalem and Guatemala! He will never leave or forsake us! We can be comforted in knowing that no matter what, in the end we as believers win and Overcome!
- Knowing that we have this protection and favor surrounding us at all times as Believers. We must not be afraid to Launch Out Into the Deep. During our missions trip we had the opportunity to visit Lake Atitlan in Panajachel, Guatemala and to sale across it to Santiago, Guatemala to live missionally. I love being around water because somehow God always speaks to me. Its like I automatically hear and have to sing Hillsong’s “Oceans”, Bethel’s “You Make me Brave” and any other worship song that references water! LOL Yet in those moments my “Aha Moment” was simple, “Trust me with your calling and continue to launch into the deep.” Jesus told Peter something similar in Luke 5:4-11. Peter and other fishermen had been out all day with not much action. And here comes Jesus telling him to go back out, cast their nets and to launch out into the deep. The request must have seemed crazy at first to Peter but His obedience caused him and everyone around him to have an abundance of fish that day! When it comes to your calling there is no negotiating with God. He’s called you to it for a purpose and has something great in mind. He wants to use you to change the world! Everyone won’t always get it or understand when you are launching out into the deep. It may seem foolish to trust God in the way that He’s calling you to do so. Just know that when you launch into the deep you are on the greatest journey of your life, just as those fishermen experienced the greatest catch of their lives that day. There are many people around me that don’t understand how this “prissy” woman name Jennifer could be called into missions work. They don’t get why we are called to live humbly and give so much away. And perhaps they will never quite “get it.” But God called us to launch into the deep anyway because He sees what’s on the other side of Trust and Obedience. So think about what it is that God is calling you to do? Maybe it’s the World Race, maybe its starting a new business, or it maybe as simple as restoring a broken friendship. Whatever it is, launch out into the deep and trust that whatever God is telling you to do is SO worth it!
(Photo by Connie Rock)
- Feeling sorry for someone and doing absolutely nothing but talking about it is “pity.” However, compassion always leads to action. Upon landing back in the states, we found ourselves as a team on another mission in a city only 45 minutes from where we reside. While we were away a man by the name of Freddie Gray suffered a fatal spine injury in police custody and died. The people of Baltimore, MD are angry, hurt, and just in disbelief. My “aha moment” occurred as we watched the news and scrolled through news reports. My heart began to ache. Here I was being used missionally all over the world and a city 45 minutes near our home is in need. How could we not be a part of meeting a need? What if that were my brother, uncle, or father? How would I feel? What if this happened in my community and people were so angry they began to riot? These questions caused my team to reflect and to take action. Sometimes you simply have to ask that common question, “What would Jesus do?” I won’t get into here exactly what we were able to do but the point is we came together and worked to do something! During Jesus’s earthly ministry every time there was a need He met that need. From producing wine at a party, to healing blind eyes, to feeding crowds of thousands, to saving our souls! Jesus is the ultimate example setter when it comes to compassion! Compassion is the core and what ultimately drives us to live missionally. There are too many people in this world that need the gospel for us not too! The cost is too great and we have to continue to do our part wherever we are.
Of course I’ve experienced many more Aha Moments, but these are the most prevalent ones from the past week! I pray that they become your AHA moments as you work to live missionally daily. Be blessed!
Jennifer Lucy Tyler
PS- My husband and I will be teaching in Illinois on May 30th! Would love to see some of you there. See the flyer below for details!This conference is for young adults between the ages of 15-25 and that registration is currently taking place online at http://
I will also be sharing at the 2015 Girl You Rock Conference June 20th! See the flyer below for details! Reserve your seat for FREE at www.CarlaCannon.com/GYR!!!!
More dates will be updated on my website to come! Also there will be more opportunities in the near future to accompany me on my next missions trip to India and Nepal! Details coming soon!