At one point it looked like Mission Impossible: back in December, we had already 35 people signed up for our second Mission Trip to Puerto Rico and quickly decided to cap the number at no more than 40. We pondered logistical problems, such as limited space in the camp, the rising cost of 15 passenger vans and having enough flexibility to transport people to the various work sites, young people to supervise, etc. As usual, when you pray and prepare to serve God, the problems dissolved, the challenges got resolved and the Mission was very much possible. We ended up sending 28 people, with the help of our friend Christopher Concepcion, we rented a Puerto Rico School Bus with driver, and the eleven youth and seventeen adults got along just fine and finished six restoration projects in five days. Impressive work!
Over the last few years St. Peter’s has been active in Global Mission. We sponsored a farm in Haiti in 2017. We went to Belize and twice to Puerto Rico to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ and help where our help was needed, especially after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. Sometimes people ask whether we need to go that far away when there is work to do in our own front yard. And to be sure, there is always work to do in our community, plenty of it in fact. So, are we indulgent or careless with our resources? Of course not!
St. Peter’s does a lot of work locally. Take a look at our Social Ministry Calendar, follow the announcements in our weekly bulletin that relate to helping our schools, our local food bank, the elderly, etc. Remember that our Thrift Store raises in the vicinity of $20,000 a year to support non-profit organizations that serve people in our area. This year, the Social Ministry Team explored getting involved with the local Interfaith Housing Project. Talk to chairperson Robin Alderfer or council liaison Sharon Baker about our Social Ministry that serves local people. We are and always have been very active. And we should be. It’s our community. By the way: North Wales Day of Service is coming up on October 5. Can you help?
What is harder to see and imagine is the plight of people elsewhere. Sure, we are more informed and perhaps more aware than any other generation before us, due to the media and the Internet. But that inundation with information can actually sometimes backfire and be more discouraging than encouraging. Our souls whisper to us that all the problems of the world are way too big for us. So let’s just focus on our own…
In biblical times, when Paul asked the relatively more affluent congregations in the Hellenistic world to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters in and around Jerusalem, he did so for several reasons. Perhaps the most important motivation behind it was his vision for the church to be a global messenger of Christ’s love. So Paul went to Christian communities in economically powerful cities such as Rome, Corinth, and Philippi and collected money for the saints in Judea. Talk about logistical problems and nightmares! With no banking system and roads that were not always secure, how could he assure that the money would get safely into the hands of those it was intended for? And, as usual, when you pray and prepare to serve God, the problems dissolved, the challenges got resolved and the Mission was very much possible. See above! The saints in Jerusalem received their gifts and the deep distrust between “Jewish Christians” And “Gentile Christians,” – you could call it the first century equivalent of racism – received some healing touch.
Personally, and as chairperson of the St. Peter’s Global Outreach Team (Spot), I would love to do more in the world. In fact, I would love to sponsor another farm in a developing country with major food supply challenges. I love the idea of a farm because it helps people to help themselves and be self-sustainable. They can eat the food, sell the food and benefit from their own labor. Can we do it? As always it’s a little bit daunting in the beginning to come up with the funds. But is it Mission Impossible? Hardly! What kind of God do you believe in? And what kind of church do you belong to? We have this tag line on our website, “The little church that does big things.” In the last couple of years, we have certainly lived up to that slogan. Let’s continue to do so, for the glory of God, for whom NOTHING is impossible!
Pastor Andreas Wagner