What can a 4-foot 11-inch septuagenarian do for global Christianity? Plenty.
I witnessed the work of Mrs. Carol Buckman during a visit to St. Louis. The Missouri District of the LCMS was showcasing some of its excellent work in urban ministry. One stop was in the heart of a decaying part of town. We pulled up to a corner storefront in need of some serious TLC, but what was happening inside made me want to declare like Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place!”
This LCMS ministry is called “Christian Friends of New Americans.” In a neighborhood filled with refugees, Carol, her husband Allan, a bevy of volunteers from all nations, and a group of enthusiastic area pastors are determined to bless these newcomers with the audacious and unconditional love of Jesus. Adults are learning English. Children are being helped with their homework. Unbelievers are coming to faith in Jesus. New friends are being made. Faith communities are starting.
At the bottom of all this is that tiny woman named Carol. She and her husband retired a few years ago with a passion for God’s mission still burning in their hearts. So, they got daring and creative, established vibrant partnerships, and occupy their sunset years by offering up the life-transforming concoction of Jesus’ living Word and amazing love.
That afternoon, I heard people from Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, India, Ethiopia and the Congo bear testimony to the restoring and hope-giving work of Jesus through His disciples in the city.
What might be the big takeaways for your mission?
First, God provides important mission entry points in every season of life. Just ask Carol, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Naomi and more. Never stop praying, watching and going in the name of Jesus. Do something with the living Word of God that never returns empty.
Second, sometimes what you and the world consider your greatest liabilities are, in fact, the assets God will use for His greatest work. Remember what God told the Apostle Paul: “My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Third, don’t get discouraged if you reach just a few people with the Gospel. Let’s face the facts: None of us is the Savior of the world, but all of us are called to bring the gift of salvation to some. There’s only one Savior—His name is Jesus. He takes care of the many; we take care of the few. God may provide a great harvest, but we can never lose sight of relationships with His precious children, one person at a time.
As evidenced by our fellow disciples in St. Louis—and by the 60+ mission efforts in our partnership called the Texas District, we may be exactly where God wants us to be in order to become His humble servants who hear His call, understand the true character of His mission, realize the time is short, and get to work. What’s your next mission step?
By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C