A news headline pops up on my computer screen the other day: “Chris Pratt responds to Ellen Page’s criticism of ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ’ Hillsong Church.” Maybe some of you have followed this drama. Being naturally curious about things that affect the church, I read the article and a few others as well. Then, I even read the numerous comments which were almost universally against anything that would suggest that sin was sin.
his is the right kind of question. It assumes we are asking some other pivotal questions:
What is the most strategic use of resources to help people connect with God?
What should we be doing to partner with God to reach our city?
These are great questions because it means that we are poised to take our time, our lives, our money and our passions and turn them towards God’s work in the world.
So, why should we plant new churches?
I have to admit that I am not by any means an avid follower of politics. With that being said, I have become intently aware of our political landscape this past year. The more aware I become, the more intense things seem to get. The more intense it gets, the more I am forced to ask and answer the question, “As a Christian, how should I respond to the idea of politics and what is happening in America today?”
[fusion_text]Emptiness stretches on for miles when arriving in La Rincornada. Driving over four hours, much of which of a dirt road, some of the team didn't know what to expect. What we did know is that we would be stretched and uncomfortable, but ready to do what it took to serve and love the people there. A people with little hope of life beyond their township. A people whose teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the aching emptiness that we all face. Scripture shares with us this, “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord 's message, "I am with you, declares the Lord" (Haggai 1:13). Even in a place such as La Rincornada, the Lord is with them. How? Through the faithful work and tireless love of Fabian and his wife Marcela. They have an incredible story to share, one in which they wrestled with God, much like us at times, over the call he was giving them to return to La Rincornada.
Despite feeling a constant resistance to the gospel message, Fabian and Marcela represent the fervor of Haggai, declaring to the youth and families of the community that the Lord is indeed with them, and for them, and has promised to fulfill their lives. He has promised to replace emptiness with joy and satisfaction in the God who loves them and has a hope and a future for them.
As a team, we felt blessed to take part in their vision of building God's Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Two years ago, the building where they hope to soon hold weekly services, didn't exist. Now it stands, under the vision and striving of Fabian and friends from Centro Crecer in Córdoba, as a beacon of grace and truth in the community where there was none before. Alongside brothers and sisters in Christ, we dug trenches and drainage pits, shoveled through sand and rocks to make and pour cement as the final touches of the foundation.
A number of team members shared their testimonies with a handful of teenagers from the community and after a restful Friday evening, we woke up bright and early to prepare for the Dia del Niño (Day of the Kid). The event was a success and we were happy we had a small hand in making this happen, but all the glory and credit goes to God, who brought dozens of kids and their families. Watching these beautiful children laugh and play and hear gospel truth was an incredible experience.
We said goodbye to the friends we’ve made and we hold tight to the memories of this place. Just as Paul said tearful goodbyes in Acts 20, we said our goodbyes, knowing that God has a great new adventure waiting for us in Boise. We look forward to being home and sharing our stories with you all. More so, we look forward to what God might have for us in the future, near and far, and how God will use our time here to continue in shaping us for a life on mission, a life to which we are all called.
Would you join the team in prayer throughout the year for Fabian, Marcela, their family and the community of La Rincornada? Pray that God may soften the hearts of people towards the grace and truth of Jesus and His Kingdom. Pray for their ministry to teenagers and the construction of their church building, that the fruit of gospel work might abound in them.