People need redemption. Even renowned atheist Mathew Parris, understood this when after returning from a visit to his boyhood home of Malawi he stated:
"I have come to a conclusion that staggers me. The impact of the missionaries with their message of Jesus Christ with its redemptive foundation seems to be the only thing that has effectively worked in order to change the hearts of some against the other in their antipathy and hostility towards one another - the redemptive aspect seems indispensable to the transformation of this. I find myself surprising myself in having to the say this." "I truly believe Africa needs God".
We Christians understand this. The book of Romans says that atheists do too. The hunger of one's heart must change before anything else will. It needs to change in Africa, in the Americas and everywhere else in the world.
People need Jesus and the fullness of Holy Spirit. They need people to carry the message of their testimony. They need people to teach them and give them hope; people who will love them. In fact people need love more than anything else. This is true regardless if one is living in a mansion in Beverly Hills or a card board box at a dump. As it happens God is calling us into the dumps right now. Who knows; he just might call us into Beverly Hills one day.
But people also need to eat. They need a place to live and rest, to work, to earn a living, to create, and communicate. People need a place to study and learn, a place to come together to worship and soak in the presence of God, a place that is safe and accommodating with the potential to expand; a place where anything and everything good can be done. A place that influences the surrounding culture with the love of God until the love of God becomes the culture.
"Why Honduras?" you ask. Well I guess I could give you a monologue about why the 2nd or 3rd poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere needs our help more than the wealthiest; how helping the 3rd world to prosper solves issues like illegal immigration and makes the world a safer place as a whole. I guess I could rant about how the first world has heard the gospel message time and time again only to reject it. But that's really not it at all. We are going because that is where God told us to go.
This is how Cathy and I have operated for as long as we have been a couple. We have testimonies galore of how God has spoken to us over the years. Suffice it to say that one of us usually senses a decision or a change needs to be made, then prays and gets a word or an answer. The other does the same often without knowing what the other is thinking or doing. It's pretty amazing when we finally talk and find that we are both thinking about the same thing. When we both get the same word or answer we act. If we don't then we wait.
There were so many times over the years when we wanted to abandon what frequently felt like a fruitless ministry to inmates and addicts. Even so God had more for us to learn and every time the word was a resounding "no". Until last year that is when we both clearly knew that it was time to go to the nations.
Our plan was to move to Honduras in December of 2016. Yet the Bible clearly states in Proverbs that we might make our plans but the Lord directs our steps.
One day in September Cathy was on her usual prayer walk listening to a podcast as she was accustomed. This one featured Rolland Baker on "IRIS AFTER HOURS" She then returned home and adamantly stated that "We can't go yet. God has a work to do in our hearts."
I listened to the same podcast; Google searched IRIS Global and learned about the Harvest School. I then heard myself saying "honey they have a school. I think we are supposed to go." "Really?" she asked. She didn't tell me she'd already heard the same thing in her heart. "Yes!" I said. "Let's do it! The rest is history much of which you can read about on our previous Wordpress blog posts. See https://grayhopemissionary.wordpress.com/
Africa was amazing and the need there was seemingly even more profound than in Central America. We thought we might not be going to back to Honduras after all. But we prayed. We asked God to show us both individually and together exactly what our next step should be. At one point while in a South Sudanese refugee camp in northern Uganda we thought for sure that God would call us there instead. Yet by the end of three months the message was clear.
We were to return to Honduras as originally planned.
I'd like say I know for sure why aside from loving our friends, God has us going back to Honduras; that we will be ones who bring the City of Refuge model to Africa one day. That would be very neat indeed. But that would also be several steps ahead. If there's one thing I've learned about walking with God it's that thinking about the second step while still engaged in the first frequently results in a fall.
Some might disagree but for us the anatomy of a call has more to do with "who" is calling and "when" we should go than it does with where, what, and how. That's how faith works. At the end of the day I'd rather be in the will of God under machine gun fire than apart from it on a beach in paradise. That doesn't mean some are not called to a beach in paradise. Some are called to go. Some are called to support those who go.
IRIS has the motto that "Love looks like something." It's more than just an idea to them. We would agree. Right now love looks like a City. Still it’s only because God has called us there. It’s kind of exciting that while we are pretty clear on the "what" and "how"; we don’t yet know the full story of "why". That is the anatomy of our call.
You have probably already figured out that Our Wordpress blog is moving. You can follow our continued journey here. I may double post for awhile but this will be our new official online home when we get to Honduras next month.
We are Brian and Cathy Gray formerly of Gray Hope Productions.
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