Honoring our Heroes of the Faith
|Personnel & Family Life Director Richard Johnson addressing the missionaries with Pastor Ted Cederblom|
By Richard Bennett
Life360 Church in Springfield, Missouri, under the direction of Pastor Ted Cederblom, has built into the culture of the church the belief that missionaries are heroes of the faith, a belief that has resulted in tremendous growth in the congregation’s support of missions, both abroad and at home.
On June 17, 2011, the church invited all the newly appointed AGWM missionaries to be part of a special service, just one more way the church has found to show its passion for missions.
They were invited to speak in Sunday School classes to the children, youth, and adults. They shared how they had been called by the Lord into missions, something about the fields they were going to, and ways the class could pray for them. Class members expressed how much it meant for them to get a chance to know the missionaries personally, if only in that brief window.
After Sunday School, the missionaries entered into the sanctuary to find it decorated with missions banners and flags. Also, they couldn’t miss the rows of brightly wrapped packages lining the front of the platform. After worship, the missionaries took part in a “parade” to the platform, during which the congregation stood and applauded them. All the missionaries introduced themselves and their families and announced where they would be serving.
GIFT SHOWER FOR ALL ADULTS AND MKS
Following this, there was a gift shower. They had drawings for the adults. Among the gifts were laptop computers, mobile DVD players, luggage, video cameras, computer printers, department store gift cards, and more. Every adult received a gift.
The children, who had waited patiently watching their parents getting gifts, finally had their turn. When each child had received his or her gift, gift wrapping flew as the new MKs tore open their packages. The teens, who were not present because they had started their MK camp, received gift cards. All the missionaries also received banners displaying their names and mission fields to use during itineration.
Following the service, the missionaries were treated to a banquet hosted by the pastors and other church leaders. This time of fellowship provided a wonderful opportunity for even stronger bonds to form between those in the church and those who were going to the field.
So many of the missionaries commented on how humbling it was to receive such special treatment. One missionary said that he appreciated how special the church had made them feel, but he knows that Jesus really is the Hero.
One missionary couple expressed appreciation for all that was done for them by the church and felt they had been “spoiled.”
NEW LUGGAGE GIVEN TO REPLACE OLD DUCT TAPED SUITCASE
A missionary who received luggage mentioned she had come to Springfield with her suitcase held together with duct tape. “God used you guys,” she said, “to remind me how much God loves me, and how He cares about the little things.”
It was touching to hear another missionary comment that her infant son had not yet really become attached to any toy, but that he seemed to quickly take to the stuffed animal he had received during that service. She expressed how this little thing confirmed to her the Lord’s care for and call on her family.
It was obvious that these new missionaries have a deep passion to serve the Lord and reach the lost in the places God has called them to. They are aware of the great challenges ahead — scheduling services, miles of travel, learning a new language, moving their families into unfamiliar settings. But they also exhibited a strong faith that the Lord who had called them would help them overcome every challenge so they could reach lost people around the world.
One couple wrote: “You all oozed love on us from the moment we arrived. You will never know the impact and encouragement you have been. More than the gifts, you have given us a push to rise to the challenges that God has placed ahead of us.”
Pastor Cederblom and the congregation of Life360 church are praying that all the missionaries left the campus that day with the same sense of encouragement, love, and support.
Click here to find our which new missionaries are in your district.
See more photos on Assemblies of God Facebook.
Richard Bennett is the adult editor for
Radiant Life Curriculum.
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