We’ve been forming our strategy in fits and starts for years. In some ways, aspects of it were decided before we did anythings else. Those who first banded together in the final months of 2001 already knew that, within the context of South America, we would undertake an urban mission.In order to narrow our options, we participated in a research project that had two important criteria: prospects would be cities of 500,000 or more and have no “significant” Church of Christ presence. Thus, whatever we did, it would be a “frontier” church planting mission in a South American urban environment.
It is hard to believe that we have been through our second and final send-off Sunday. I remember thinking how the six months had flown Tyler. I can say the same exact thing for Tullahoma. We have enjoyed our time with Cedar Lane immensely. They welcomed and encouraged our dream from the day we arrived and the past six months has been a wonderful time of preparation for the work we are about to begin.
Hello from Tullahoma, Tennessee. My name is Greg Muse, and I have been asked by the elders at Cedar Lane to be the point of contact for teamAREQUIPA. When asked if I would fulfill this position for Cedar Lane, I took on this task without much hesitation after some discussion with my wife, Andrea. However, there was something fundamentally flawed in my thinking, because I looked at it from the viewpoint of a independent job versus joining a team. Simply put, my knowledge of missions was limited. However it has been expanded by a wonderful summer series of classes, Wednesday night/Sunday morning discussions, and several books that have allowed God to do a “Stretch Armstrong” on me regarding missions and kingdom living.
We came to Tullahoma with intentions of recruiting a Peru Mission support team, as we did in Tyler. We consulted with our primary contact at Cedar Lane and invited those he suggested to participate in this team. Our recruiting meeting with them went well and we now have several young couples actively working to keep our relationship with Cedar Lane strong and to provide support to us as we prepare for and experience the field work itself. We didn't expect that it would turn out to be a team of our peers.
When we pulled up to the Arlington Convention center, there was already a buzz of activity. In the exhibit hall, mission teams, mission agencies of various kinds, and other ministries and organizations were busy setting up their display booths. The hustle and bustle of registration and old friends crossing paths in the foyer added to the excitement. Flat screens featuring the colorful conference logo and theme, “Blaze Spirit Blaze,” adorned the hallway leading to the rooms that would host the fifteen class tracks.
There are a number of global crises affecting our planet today. Regardless of what you think the most important is, I hope hunger is on your list. Every day thousands die from a lack of food. In my lifetime, the food crisis has only gotten worse. Since 2005 global food prices have risen 80 percent! In the last year the prices of popular foods such as rice, beans and wheat has doubled. Much of the world faces an unprecedented challenge to feed itself; more and more often it is failing.
We have had wonderful opportunities to interact with the Cedar Lane family this summer. One large project, the planning of the summer combined adult series on missions, was spearheaded by Kyle and Greg. They have recruited several other speakers to address various topics, and will each have a few chances to speak themselves. The hope is that we will take a good look at the realities of American mission work and the thinking behind it in order to move purposefully to a better understanding and participation in God’s work around the world and next door.
I was very excited to move to Tullahoma because it is my home. I grew up in this church. What I didn’t expect was to see so many new faces. A wonderful, unexpected blessing is the group of peers that our team has found.
This month held one weekend set aside for a special conversation about team dynamics facilitated by Dr. Randy Willingham of the Harding University Center for Advanced Ministry Training. Randy and I arrived at Harding the same year, he as an associate Bible professor and I as a student. We had a fortuitous encounter—a divine encounter, if you will—while I was searching for a Bible professor in need of an office assistant. He didn’t even know he could have an office assistant, which put me in a pretty good light. Since then Randy has been an amazing mentor and friend to me. It was a great favor to the team that he would take an entire weekend out of his busy and, more importantly, ministry-packed schedule to help us.
I suggested we have this article because so much has happened in our lives lately. Besides updating you on Ana Grace, there are some things that I want to share—some happy, some sad. Thanks to any of you that pray for our families. It means so much, and we hope that we can bless your families as you bless ours.