“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” – Jesus
Over breakfast one morning in October 2010, Arin and I had our first conversation about the possibility of going on a mission trip. We didn’t know where to go or how to go. We just knew that we were being called to go. So, we did what any other naïve, newlywed couple would do in that situation. We Googled it. I had just earned my engineering degree, and surely there were engineering missions opportunities out there. So we Googled, “engineering missions.” The first link to pop up in the search engine was the organization that we would soon find ourselves boarding a plane to Nicaragua with just a few months later.
The international missionaries that we worked with, Ketly and Vital Pierre, have growing ministries in Bluefields, Rama, and Kukra Hill in Nicaragua. The Pierre’s have a God-sized vision for ministry in Nicaragua. Engineering Missions International (EMI) partners with the Pierre’s to turn their dreams for reaching people for Jesus Christ into a reality.
During our trip in January 2011, most of our EMI team spent the two weeks designing and architecting a new church facility that was to be built in Kukra Hill. Since neither Arin nor I have any architecture expertise, I worked on the design and installation of a pumping project to route water from a deep well to water storage facilities that supply water to the church and the on-site lodging facilities. During the dry season, rain may not come for several months, so it is important to collect as much water as possible during the rainy season in order to store water for the difficult, dry months. Arin used her skills as a teacher to build lesson plans for the on-site daycare and after school program.
Prior to going on the trip, Arin and I both shared doubts that God could really use us to make a difference in the world. We felt that there were others more talented and much more suited for this trip than we were. But, within just a few hours of arriving on-site in Nicaragua, I quickly discovered that God will provide opportunities for His people to serve and glorify Him no matter what your talents are. Whether you are a nurse, a school teacher, an engineer, a construction worker, a musician, a stay at home mom, or a retiree, God can and will use you to be a part of His mission in the world if you are obedient to Him.
One thing that has stuck with me since that first mission trip to Nicargua is the audacious faith that the Pierre’s have. Though several churches and schools have been built as a result of their ministry, never once have the Pierre’s had any resources prior to breaking ground on new projects. They truly believe that if they start digging, the financial resources and the helpful hands and servant hearts will come. Ketly says that, “Each day is a new opportunity to see what new things God has for us.” And God has been faithful to the Peirre’s time and time again.
I vividly remember one conversation that I shared with Vital at the end of my time in Nicaragua. He walked me to the west side of the Bluefields complex, looked out over the beautiful hilly landscape, and asked in his thick Haitian accent, “What do you see?” Nothing, I thought. I don’t see much of anything. I see trees and a few houses that look like what we store our lawn mowers in back in America. I paused for a moment, trying to think introspectively as I hoped that Vital would break the silence…
He said, “Do you see it? Do you see the children laughing and playing?” With a twinkle in his eye, he declared, “We are going to build a school right there one day.” He went on to detail how he planned to transform the city for Christ. “God will provide. He always has,” he kept saying…
Imagine if the people of God in the city of Nederland embraced that kind of rock solid faith in Jesus. What might God do in and through us if we lived out our lives with radical, audacious faith? The same God who did the impossible through the great heroes of faith still desires to do the same through us today. Like the Pierre’s, let’s ask God for the impossible. Let’s move past our small vision of faith, and let’s hope and expect that God will move in greater ways than we could have ever imagined.