(Photo cred Penny Mariner) The 10th Global Outreach Celebration ended tonight with dinner and gifts showered to some of our veteran and new missionaries supported at SBT. The Lewis family, (Philippines), the Lawrence's (Honduras), Joe Schmidt, (children's evangelism), the Douglas family, (deaf ministry in Brazil), the Heyne family, (construction teams around the world) and the Dawson's, (Amazon in Venezuela). What a great week! -- Karen Williams
Being new here, I don't think I was ever really prepared for what I saw at GOC. I heard amazing things about it. I heard the excitement, and saw how people's faces would light up when they spoke of it. I knew it had to be something good. I mean, anytime you get a group of people together whose sole purpose is spreading the gospel, it must be good, right?
Well, having seen it, firsthand, I don't think "good" is an adequate term for what I saw at Southland this past week.
GOC started last Tuesday evening with a women's fellowship. From my perch in the office, I watched all day as the women decorating for the event transformed our gym into a cute bistro setting that would later be occupied by over 100 Southland women and children. Yes, it was a fun evening. But it really was so much more than that. Hearing the stories of these women who had surrendered everything to follow their God path-- I struggle to put it into words. To be honest, I feel like I was watching my favorite football team crush it at the Super Bowl, bringing home the rings, pouring Gatorade on their coach...... Or, I guess that's how it would feel, if I liked football and had a favorite team.
Each of the missionary women stood up and gave a brief testimony, and answered questions from the audience about their ministries. I laughed. I cried. I was teased by my children for crying. But I couldn't help it-- there is something about hearing my brothers and sisters in Christ following their God Path that gets me every time. Every. Time. All the feels, guys. All the feels.
And "All the feels" kept happening at every single GOC event I was privileged to attend, including the kid's event Wednesday evening with Brother Joe Schmidt. My children thought he was the best thing since sliced cheese, folks. And the best part? They learned so much about the gospel through his presentation. They felt valued, because he showed them Christ's love. He went out of his way to talk to them and invest in them, even in such a short time. THAT. That is what true Christianity is.
I am blown away by how much I learned this past week, as well. Before GOC, I never knew that Honduras was one of the most dangerous nations for women. I didn't know that abuse and slavery are a real, living threat to the women and children living there. Before GOC, I never knew that there was a huge Muslim population in the Catholic nation of the Philippines, and that women there are treated just as poorly as in Honduras. Before GOC, I had no idea that there were missionaries dedicated to short term mission trips, giving of their talents and abilities to build and dig wells in nations around the world.
And on a personal note, I was humbled to see these young missionary mothers with their babies, at peace and even glowing in their decision to follow Jesus; no turning back. Their heart was 100% in their decision to walk this God path, and it lit a fire in me. So often I've told God "no", because I have small children.... Because of my family.......
But God doesn't want to hear our "Because's". He wants us to hear Him, and heed His calling.
That's what GOC was to me. The celebration of our brothers and sisters in Christ giving up everything, not holding anything back, and following Jesus.
It was us as a church rising up behind them, saying, "We've got your back."
I love the that we have calling them our "Global Partners". This rang true to me, because together, us here at home, them in their homes, we're furthering the gospel. I'm struck by that humbling thought as I type this. God uses all of us, if we're willing. Some of us are the feet, walking to places we never thought we'd go. Others are the hands, giving, serving and caring. Some of us are the knees, bent down in prayer, lifting up the others. But all of us have a function. And I'm thankful that GOC allowed me to see my part in the big picture-- the picture that brings glory to our God.
Brittani George is the newbie on our SBT staff. She's a receptionist, mom, wife, and food enthusiast.