Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paul's Missionary Journeys

I have been reading a book detailing the journeys of Paul from his conversion experience through the end of his ministry.  As a missionary with a young, developing ministry it is encouraging to see the way that his ministry developed and grew in complexity over the course of several years.  It is so easy to get caught up in the story when reading Acts and think that he did all of his work in a short amount of time.  When we read the accounts of Pauls missionary journeys in the various books of the New Testament you recognize the enormity of the task Paul was given, but you do not recognize the time that was required to complete this task.  He spent several years preparing, and then several more years during his missionary journeys.  Between his journeys, he spent several years planning/praying/growing. 
Paul was a rabbi that was very well trained in Old Testament theology and he also had a profound understanding of the people groups in the different regions in Asia Minor and Europe, be it Jews, Gentiles, Romans, or others.  He recognized that there were culturally relevant ways that each group would have to be taught to acurately understand the message he was bringing to them.  Studying the different strategies he used and why he used them has helped me tremendously to prepare the work in Honduras.  You see we live among three distinctly different people groups, the Miskito Indians, the Ladino's, and the Garifuna, a African tribal culture.  Paul recognized cultural issues with each group he came into contact with and used those issues to teach the message of Christ.  We too have to learn the cultural issues that are a hinderance/door to sharing the gospel with the individual groups we work amongst.  Please pray for us to recognize these barriers and doorways so that we may better teach the gospel in our region of the world. 
The task at hand here is truly enormous, but the reward is even greater.  We recognize that the time required to effectively reach the Rio Platano Biosphere Region is a long commitment, but with your prayers and Paul's church planting manual-The Bible, we know that no matter the size of the task, it is possible.

"I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me" Phillipians 4:13


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