NAOMI House and Global Missions
As most of you know, 18 people from our church, mostly from the Fountain youth group, went on a short-term missions trip last week to NAOMI House, a foster home for Native American children in Joseph City, Arizona. In case you were wondering, that’s probably why it seemed so much more quiet in California last week. While there, our team joined with a small group from the Japanese Christian Church of Walnut Creek, one of our sister churches from Northern Cal. Together, they loved and played with the NAOMI House kids, taught them about Jesus, and cooked, served, drove, and worked on various maintenance projects around the home. Despite all of the planning and hard work the team had to do during the week, I would guess that each one of them would tell you how blessed they were just to be there and serve. Isn’t it amazing how God works that way?
Global missions is one of the great callings of the Church. Our God is a missionary God who desires people of every tongue, tribe, and nation to know Him and live under His sovereign blessing. Jesus gives each one of us the privilege and responsibility to participate in this grand undertaking. He spells it out in the Great Commission at the end of Matthew. Jesus says in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is a clear command for Christ’s followers to participate in the process of going, bearing witness, and making disciples. However, when we think about the Great Commission, what we often miss is the fact that God initiated His missionary plan all the way back in Genesis with the “Abrahamic Covenant.” God’s plan for humanity to come to know Him and His blessing has been consistent throughout scripture. In Genesis 12:1-3 “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’”
There are a number of things in these two passages which help us to understand God’s global mission. Here are three which remind me of our NAOMI House team:
- GO – Each passage here begins with the command to “go.” Go from this place or go from your country or your people. We are to be a sent people. I’m so grateful for the NAOMI House team that answered the call to go. I think we can agree that going is usually not the convenient or safe thing to do. Isn’t it easier just to stay at home or lazy around the house? For example, the team consisted of several adults who took time off work to go. They spent their hard-earned vacation time by serving others. The team also included young people going on missions for the very first time. How intimidating is that to go and serve with others who are older and more experienced? There are many reasons why people don’t go or why these individuals could have backed out. But they didn’t! Praise God for their initiative to go and do the Lord’s work.
- BE A BLESSING – This comes out most clearly in Genesis when the Lord says to Abram “you will be a blessing” and “peoples will be blessed through you.” Along the same lines, Jesus says “go and make disciples.” Now what bigger blessing could we impart than to introduce someone else to Jesus? I think the NAOMI House team knew one of their main purposes was to be a blessing like Jesus. And what a blessing they were! Some blessed the kids by playing with them. Some blessed the kids by doing VBS, praying, and leading worship. Some blessed the staff and adults by preparing meals, cleaning, painting rooms, and doing yard work. This is ministry, to work together to serve and bless others in order to draw them closer to the Lord.
- ALL – The scope of God’s mission is all-inclusive. Jesus says to make disciples of “all” nations. The Lord tells Abram that “all” peoples on earth will be blessed through him. All nations, all peoples. God wants everyone! But He needs people that will go and be a blessing to others, and not just minister to people like themselves. I love that the NAOMI House ministry is cross-cultural. I think our team learns a lot by stepping out of its own bubble and crossing over cultural barriers (slight as they may be sometimes). The NAOMI House kids certainly have a different lifestyle than we do here. While the Native American people are not an unreached group, they desperately need Jesus (like we do). I’m glad that our team can get this kind of exposure to God’s heart for all peoples.
- It is a joy for the church to be able to send a team out to share God’s love and to serve those doing the Lord’s work in other places. Thank you to those who gave your time and resources to support this year’s NAOMI House trip, who provided financial support to the team, who supported the carwash and bake sale, or who prayed for the team and its mission. The trip was not without its issues but God truly blessed! Thank you of course to this year’s team for going, being a blessing, and serving others. On Sunday, August 22nd, the NAOMI House team will share about the trip in the worship service.