I want to write a couple of blogs touching on some of the key impressions that God burned upon my heart. Before I move to the specific ministries we worked with or the people we ministered to, I want to share about our team. I’m always amazed at how perfect the team is for the particular mission that God has called us to be a part of. Whether it’s going to the end of the earth or across our church parking lot, God assembles teams that meet the specific needs and challenges of the mission. This was so true of our mission trip to Wichita, KS.
As you read through the various blogs and look at the pictures, you’ll see that we worked among three very different ministries. What you don’t see is all that takes place behind the scenes. When Ryan and I first went to Wichita for a vision tour, we sensed God leading us to three specific ministries. The first was a cowboy church that expressed a desire to put on an arena event in order to reach into the western culture of Haysville, KS (just south of Wichita) with the gospel. We didn’t know anything about cowboy events but were eager to learn and willing to give it our best. A few weeks before we were to leave, the pastor of the cowboy church called and said that his church was not ready for such an event but would like for our team to do some projects around their facilities. So that’s what we did. Our team had the skills needed to accomplish all of the projects given to us. The church needed wood floor laminate put down. I looked over and one of our team members was putting on his kneepads. Two members of our team had experience in laying flooring and did a beautiful job in completing the project.
A good number of our team including youth and children cleaned out a couple of junk rooms, painted them, and converted them into functional rooms. Sure, there was quite a bit of paint on our younger team members, but the rooms looked fantastic and our paint crew had a great time with the project. The church also had some cabinets in storage and our team hauled them to their “chuck wagon” room and installed them. Another handful of our team disassembled some fencing that connected their two building and converted the space into a double swinging gate. Others built two large shelving units and installed several thresholds. We also cleaned up the inside of their church and had it ready for their next worship gathering. We closed out the evening with a jamboree and had several groups, individuals, and a family from our team share in song.
Our second ministry was going to be working with a pastor wanting to plant a new church on the west side of town. Several days before we left, we received word that he decided not to move forward with the church start. We were going to throw a block party for the ministry and do some surveying in the community. We were connected with another ministry that is in its formative stage. This ministry is targeting youth by converting an empty church building near the schools into a youth outreach and ministry center. We set up our block party on the grounds of the future ministry and canvassed the area. Again, I was blown away by the efficiency of our team. Everyone had a job and worked as a well-tuned machine in setting it all up, running it, and then breaking it all back down. I won’t go into detail here, but it was a large outreach that seemed almost effortless. The next evening I asked for volunteers to do some canvassing. I was a little nervous because the survey was really not a survey but rather a door-to-door evangelist push. We had not prepared the team for this type of evangelism. Again, I was amazed at the willingness of the team to participate and at the wonderful opportunities we had to verbally share the gospel.
Our third ministry was working with a Hispanic church plant in south-central Wichita. Again, when Ryan and I first visited this ministry, the pastor mentioned that a soccer camp would be the perfect outreach for the neighborhood children and youth. Two of our team members had experience in coaching soccer and one is presently a coach in our Fayetteville school system. They did an incredible job teaching skills and overseeing games while at the same time interjecting spiritual truths into the teaching. Others on our team lead various parts of a backyard Bible club including Bible stories, puppets, drama, music, crafts, snacks, etc. All I can say is our team was incredible!
Then, there is all that takes place outside of the mission projects. Our ladies overseeing the feeding of the multitude worked miracles in the kitchen. Our worship times and missionary lessons were a rich blessing. Everyone involved in cleanup and a host of other responsibilities poured themselves out with hearts of humility and servanthood. I consider it a huge blessing to have had the opportunity to serve alongside every individual on this team.
Written by John Mueller