And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
“This means so much!” said Anna, one of the teachers at the elementary school in Colonia, a Gypsy neighborhood just outside of Petrosani, Romania. It was there, on the other side of the tracks, where we had just finished building a playground and doing Vacation Bible School for over 100 beautiful, smiling, and hug-deprived children. The genuine gratitude expressed on her face and in her voice reminded me of the power of love, and why we came. Jesus said, “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto Me.” Gypsy’s are certainly among the outcasts in Romanian culture, and sadly, that includes much of the church culture. However, the revolutionary power of the gospel can change all of that! It’s been doing so, around the world, for the past 2000 years, and Anna’s words rang truer than ever.
What follows are the pictures and testimonies of just some of our 28-member team that had the privilege of bringing the Good News of Christ’s love to some precious kids and teachers in a very poor school in Romania. We also experienced a few incredible days in Israel where we picked up trash as part of a small, but powerful ministry there called, The Beautiful Land Initiative. Of course, I realize that not everyone can personally go on a short-term mission to another country, but all of us are called to play an integral part of a life-long gospel mission to the people right here in Olympia!
I pray that these “snapshots” in time will further inspire our faith (as a church), encourage us to pray, and open our eyes to see how our lives can, as Anna put it, “mean so much” as we love and serve the people around us. May the Lord give us a renewed passion and laser-focus to share the message of the cross and Christ’s far-reaching love with the people already present in our lives.