Changing the World Changes Us
Missions--Changing the World Changes Us
Pastor Troy Thomas | Bethel Church, Louisiana
In Matthew 28:18-19, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo; I am with you always even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
I endeavor to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. I have traveled to many countries preaching the gospel, healing the sick, and feeding the hungry. I have traveled to Germany, Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, Russia, Kenya, and Sierra Leone.
Before I tell you about my mission trips and how they have changed me, I want to explain how I came to do missions. I was born again in 1980 at Big Creek A.M.E. Church in Kentwood, Louisiana. I began preaching right away. I do not remember any emphasis in the A.M.E. Church pertaining to preaching in a foreign land.
Over 32 years ago, I connected with the Gulf States Pastors Fellowship. Through my connection with this fellowship, I received much encouragement related to foreign missions. As you know, whoever you connect with will influence you for the better or for the worse. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
We (Bethel Church) began to tithe to missions. I had no plans AT ALL to go preach in a foreign land. No plans AT ALL to minister in another country. I figured that giving to help others go to the mission field was enough. A minister friend challenged me to consider teaching in another country. I told him that my money was going to the mission field; why should I go? This is what he told me: “Your money cannot share your heart.” He said that there are experiences that you have been through that can only be shared through your lips. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “When we preach the word, we impart not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls.”
Let me fast forward. I have seen multitudes in other countries saved, healed, and filled with the Holy Spirit--many have been changed for eternity. By the grace of God, those I have encountered in other countries will NEVER be the same.
God has changed me as well. Every time I go to another country, I come back more grateful that I live in America. I have eaten food that did not please my taste buds. I have stayed in poverty-stricken areas under mosquito nets. I have traveled through alligator-infested swamps. All to preach to hungry souls. I have thought to myself: I either love Christ or I am a fool for sacrificing for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus sacrificed the glories of heaven to be a missionary to the earth. I must be willing to lay down my life for Christ. Except a corn of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abides alone. I DIE more to self every time I minister in a third world country. It is all about dying to self so others may live for Christ.
God is still breaking this vessel so that He (THE TREASURE) can bless others through me. Doing mission work has taught me to endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Dealing with hard times properly helps us to succeed in ministry. God is more concerned about our character than how comfortable we are! I want to have a heart to go wherever God leads, no matter the cost. What about you?