“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
At the beginning of this year, I spent some time reflecting on Joshua 1:6-9. In my journey as a missionary pastor in the United States for the last two decades and now as a member of the Mission Team of the Texas District, I have been able to see firsthand the work and fruits of many missionaries on the field. I need to be honest, one of the things I miss the most about being in the field as a missionary pastor is being with the people, connecting with the lost, seeing and being part of the transformation of people by the power of the Gospel.
I still see that in my life and role in supporting missionaries, pastors, evangelists, and lay leaders who are on the front line daily. I admire all of you very much! You accepted the call to the most important endeavor on earth: to make disciples of all nations, to bring people to heaven. We all have this mission, and it’s not an easy one. It’s very tough, messy, exhausting and many times intimidating. We face many giants, challenges, and an enemy who is not only interested but committed to destroying the mission work. So as you walk this journey, please remember:
Follow God’s calling in your life. God distinctly marked Israel at Sinai and empowered them to conquer the promised land. Likewise, we are the new Israel and are commissioned and empowered to conquer all nations with the Gospel and take the people to the promised heaven. In His Great Commission, Jesus gives us the tools to accomplish this mission by making disciples through baptism and His teaching. What a great gift to share!
Stand strong and courageous. The Israelites were afraid to enter the land, but God encouraged them to be strong and courageous. As missionaries of God, we will face challenges as we carry out His mission, but we can trust that God will give us the strength we need to overcome them. God’s words to Joshua are the same for us today: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua carried an authority imparted by God Himself.
Trust in God’s promise. Joshua faced strong and powerful nations, and the task before him was mammoth. But his hope was based completely on God’s promise, “I will be with you.” And His promise for us in the Great Commission is the same: “I am with you.” The task before us may seem overwhelming, but we can take comfort in the fact that God is with us.
Have fun and enjoy the journey. Back in 2014, we were starting a new Hispanic mission in West Des Moines, Iowa. I remember that the senior pastor and a good friend of mine told me on one of those occasions when things seemed very difficult: “If we are not having fun, we are doing it wrong.” The missionary Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” God has given us a great task and privilege to serve Him. Let’s remember to have fun and enjoy the journey.
By Rev. Lincon Guerra
Mission and Ministry Facilitator, Area A