Beyond the Four Walls…and Borders

When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. (Isaiah 41:17, NLT)

Scripture repeatedly reveals that God hears the prayers of His people. Every tear, every muffled lament, even the number of hairs on our head, the Lord fully knows.

Not only does He know… but our Lord responds to the cries of His people.

Often He sends His Church — His Body on earth — to answer these cries.

He calls us to respond.

What Happened This Summer

Over the past couple of months, our Student Ministry had the amazing privilege to serve four mission partners in short-term mission projects, three international and one national.

Amidst the ongoing debate of the value of short-term missions, I am also well aware of the beauty and ministry that come from partnership, encouragement, and the movement of the Spirit!

First and foremost, new souls came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ this summer! Through God’s amazing grace, we became harvesters and walked new believers into the Kingdom.

Secondly, the definition of the “Church” broadened exponentially for all who served on our teams.

  • We worked alongside our church’s mission partners, extending their ministry. Our assistance with construction projects, children’s ministries, and women’s ministries helped in ways that would have been difficult for them to do on their own.
  • We met and connected with fellow believers and citizens of Guatemala, Yucatan, Charlotte and Zambia. All love the Lord and desire to do His will to reach vulnerable populations in their own country and city.

The “Church” exists beyond the four walls… and beyond state and country borders. Our brothers and sisters include all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…whether they speak English, Spanish, or Nyanga.

God Sent His Church…

… to the young refugee boy from Nepal: He sent our North Carolina team so he could play soccer and he could clearly hear the full story of Jesus.

… to the elderly woman who could no longer read her Bible: He sent our Guatemala team to host an eye clinic and distribute reading glasses that members of our home church were prompted to donate this past Spring.

… to the desperate widow who had a small river running through her home when it rained: He sent our Guatemala team to her, too, to purchase materials and build a new home … in which to raise her young grandson and to connect with our mission partners, the Erickson family.

… to the new church praying for and reaching out to an impoverished village, He sent our Yucatan team to purchase and construct a roof to cover a portion of their new sanctuary.

… to nearly 150 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, He sent our team to the bush in Africa … to sit in the dirt and wrap our arms around the “least of these.” To physically BE the love of Christ. We.  The Lord had sent enough team members so each child could connect … so someone would hear her story and pass it along to the Every Orphan’s Hope staff to follow up on those in abusive and negligent situations.

Our team members were humbled and deeply grateful to be God’s answers to many people’s prayers this summer.

The Four Walls

Brothers and sisters … we have to get out of the room.

The church exists beyond the four walls of the sanctuary (school, renovated warehouse, storefront, home, church building or wherever your Body of believers gathers).

The church’s mission remains to reach all people… in Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1: 8). Luke records a clear calling to local, national, and international reach.

Indeed … the four walls always include a door. Exit now to serve.

Posted by Sharon R. Hoover


About Sharon R Hoover

Serving the church for over twenty years in discipleship and mission ministries, I've walked alongside many people travelling and exploring the journey of faith. Add in my own crazy path and I hope my writing will offer glimpses of life worth sharing.
This entry was posted in Faith, Missions, Student Ministry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Beyond the Four Walls…and Borders

  1. Carol Brown says:

    Hopefully everyone on those teams is now wrecked, never to be the same. Their spirits and psyches have been stretched and like old elastic they can’t go back to what they were before! Blessings on all for being Jesus hands, arms and feet and demonstrating His heart.

  2. Awesome, Sharon! Bless the hands, feet, and voices within your group. Your post is inspiring and beautiful!

  3. Holly Michael says:

    Love it! Bless you and your team. Wow, this post brought tears to my eyes.

Please share what is on your mind...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s