After leaving home approximately 32 hours earlier, traveling on three planes, and staying up for 22+ hours straight, we arrived at our 4th airport expecting to be met by Kyle only to find a slightly larger welcoming committee. With Shaye on his shoulders holding a sign that said, “LITTON,” and Larissa by his side, all our travel weariness was eclipsed by pure joy as we embraced this family. This is why we came…and we’d do it all over again any chance we have.
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.
What do you admire most in a missionary? Perhaps courage comes to mind, the ability to face many unknown obstacles in a foreign land. Maybe you would mention trust in God, because most missionaries have concluded their work will fail without the aid of the Creator. Many would mention the incredible talent God’s ambassadors must have in interacting with people of other
cultures. The list is long.
More than fifteen years have passed since we as a church family launched a new missionary effort to preach the Gospel in a foreign land. Many changes have taken place in the world, in our church family, and in methodologies of mission work over that time span. As a result, we have much to learn and many blessings to realize through our service and faith in God. Please pray for all aspects of this mission.
teamAREQUIPA has already begun its work in the mission field: the Tyler, TX mission field. And while some of the work, done by the two young moms on the team is sort of behind the scenes, I believe it will have a significant impact on the future none- the-less. I am writing from a mother-of-a-possible-future- missionary perspective.
The following are comments made by David Litton on behalf of the Shiloh elders on Sunday, October 28, 2007 announcing Shiloh’s support of Team Arequipa. (All the elders stood at the front of the auditorium and were joined by others during the service.)
“When a country goes to war today, national leaders stay on home turf and send young men and women into the battlefields. It takes many people to provide food, weapons, transportation and other support for each person on the front line. In a parallel sense, we are in a worldwide spiritual battle, and the Shiloh elders today are announcing our decision to support and send young men and women into the spiritual battlefield of Arequipa, Peru. (The team was asked to join us up front.) Many of you know them already: Greg and Megan McKinzie and Kyle and Larissa Smith.
To Team Arequipa – On behalf of this church family, we are announcing our support for the team for at least 5 years. The financial amount is being determined during our budget process, but more importantly, we pledge to support your work in prayer. A mission support team is already forming to provide advice, encouragement and other means of support.
This is an exciting time for Shiloh. One of the priorities of this church is that we are committed to teach and prepare the next generation. We love and appreciate all of the kids that grow up here. We have been blessed to see an increasing number who choose full-time ministry whether in the inner city, in youth ministry or going to the mission field. And now Greg, Larissa and Kyle are added to that list. Megan, we know Cedar Lane is equally proud of you.
Speaking as a parent, what greater blessing could there be, besides really cute grandkids, than to see a child grow in faith and make such a courageous commitment to go and share the good news of Jesus. As I look across the Shiloh family this morning, there are many faces who have been a part of raising these team members. Thank you.
There are two that I would like to ask to join us here and stand beside the team – Tim Henderson and Bill Richardson. Tim through high school and still today has been and is a mentor of 3⁄4 of the team. He led Greg, Kyle and Larissa on numerous mission trips and helped nurture a servant’s heart. Bill has been a mentor during their college years. During the summer of 2002, Bill led a Caleb project where he took a number of Harding students to South America where they spent the summer spying out the land looking for receptive places to go and take the good news. Greg was one of those students and that was the genesis of Team Arequipa. Please join me in showing appreciation to these two men and their families for the way that they influence hundreds and literally thousands of students to have a closer walk with God.
Although our youngest students, whom we call ‘Shiloh Souldiers,’ have already left the assembly, there are many other students here that we hope someday will be deployed all over the globe in various vocations and ministries to be about God’s mission. Will the Shiloh family please stand with us as we pray for Team Arequipa?”
To the readers of the newsletter, please join us in praying for the Team and what God will do through them in the coming years.
In His Service, David
(For those of you that don’t know, David Litton is Larissa’s father.)
The church at Shiloh has enjoyed having the Smith and McKinzie families here. Some of the
newer members, like myself, who have not been at Shiloh very long are getting to know these families of Team Arequipa. We are truly enjoying them. I, along with some others, have recently been asked to be a part of a "missions committee"/support group at Shiloh Road for this team. It has brought back so many memories for my husband, Mark, and me. We were part of a five family team sent to Cordoba, Argentina back in 1989. (I graduated from ACU, got married and went to South America within a 10 month time period!) Bill and Holly Richardson were the more "seasoned" missionaries on our team and we all looked to them in so many ways for leadership. Team Arequipa is so blessed to be guided and mentored by Bill Richardson from Harding University. The Lord has used Bill in so many ways to touch so many people's lives. Bill is
a Godly man who boldly goes and teaches in the name of the Lord. If I had to use a Bible character to describe him it would be Joshua or Caleb. He has always had an "it can be done" attitude that reminds me of the men sent to spy out the land of Canaan. While ten spies
said "no way,” Joshua and Caleb said that the promised land could be taken because they knew that God was behind the plan.
Bill knows the God behind Team Arequipa and will help guide this team and lead them when Satan throws doubts and discouraging times at them. This team will be a blessing to Arequipa, Peru and many people will be brought to Jesus Christ because of their attitudes that say "yes, we can take this city for the Lord." May God bless Team Arequipa richly and know that we are on our knees praying for the Lord to "send out workers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38) just like this team.
If you are reading this you probably already have a relationship with some aspect of Team Arequipa. I am writing from the perspective of a Shiloh person. Since three of the team members grew up at Shiloh, many people have already invested in the future of this team. It has been an amazing sight to watch Kyle, Larissa, and Greg grow in their service to God. It has been a wonder to see all the great talents that Megan adds to the team.
So it is with great excitement and anticipation that I look forward to the next few years. I am in constant prayer for guidance, completion, and open doors as the field workers for Team Arequipa are in the final preparations for their insertion into this new beachhead in the kingdom. It is exciting that Shiloh people are prepared to work beside them in this effort. It is a blessing that Cedar Lane is committed to this partnership. May we always be dissatisfied with the borders of God’s Kingdom. May this dissatisfaction push us to partner with those who are able to be on the frontline in this effort.
I look forward to seeing what God is going to do with the partnership between Shiloh, Cedar Lane, the Smiths and the McKinzies. I am are ready to know new brothers and sisters that I would not know otherwise, I am ready to see others inspired to give themselves for the work of the kingdom, and I am ready to experience Christians loving and supporting each other as they work together for the Lord. I am ready to see the full measure of blessing the Lord gives through the work of Team Arequipa.