My time as an active member of Nehemiah Teams is running short. As of July 31, 9:01 p.m. (CST), I will no longer be on my short-term mission trip.
Orientation. Travel. Ministry. Breaks. Debrief. It will all be over, and we’ll go our separate ways. There will be many friends whom I may not see again until we all get to Heaven.
But I am excited to have taken my first steps into obeying God’s Great Commission.
And at least for me, I am not going back to being the same Christian Townson.
Just before we left the Philippines, another Nehemiah Teamer asked me, “So describe your summer in two sentences.”
This is what I said: “I learned how to die to myself.”
The old me loved and tried to glorify God in everything he did, but his earthly goals sometimes took precedence over God’s will. He was looking for ways to improve HIS life and HIS situation and to accomplish HIS goals.
Even though this was not done with malicious intent, my mindset became an obstacle in the way of seeing what God wanted me to do and how He wanted to use me.
At the beginning of the summer, Psalm 37:4 was my favorite verse. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)
I still love that verse but, after this summer, I think that Acts 20:24 fills my heart with a greater joy than any other verse I have read up to this point in my life:
“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (NIV)
My life is worth nothing if I am not living for God and telling others about His love and His mercy and how much it is worth to follow Jesus and live life on purpose for the Lord.
Truthfully, this was one of the greatest summers of my life.
If I could have stayed for a few more months, I would have taken them up on that offer.
The most satisfied I am with my life is when I am glorifying God, telling others about His Good News and seeing them understand what that means.
Also, being with other followers of Jesus who have a world Christian mindset ignited my passion for cross-cultural missions. I do not know what role God is going to put me in for long-term missions, so I’m just going until He tells me to stop.
Please pray for every Nehemiah Teamer to take the Great Commission seriously as we finish 2019 Nehemiah Teams.
The world will not be won to Christ with short-term missions. We need mobilizers and goers to take on the challenge of spreading Jesus’s name to the ends of the Earth.
Pray for any national partner, supervisor or cross-cultural worker we had to leave. They needed us for a reason, so pray that we were effective enough and laid a foundation for them to reap the harvest.
Pray for every Christian in the world, including you, the person reading this article. How are you participating in God’s Great Commission? Are you doing anything? The Great Commission is for everyone, not for a select few.
I want to thank everyone who helped me on my journey to Nehemiah Teams 2019. I want to specifically thank my parents and brother for being supportive and constantly encouraging me to love the Lord more than them. I know that’s hard, but there will be people in Heaven because my team went this summer.
So, this isn’t the end. It’s just the end of the beginning — the end of me.
Christian Townson is a student serving in the Philippines with Nehemiah Teams through IMB this summer.