Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 29, 2009

Ministry Locations

slum_ministryWhen I first saw this picture, I thought, “I have been there.”  Only thing wrong with the thought was I have never been in this country, except at an airport.  However, I have been in situations that greatly resemble this photograph.  Being outside, between two buildings, sharing the Scriptures with people of another country, just like what is being done in this particular country.  In fact I have been in a number of locations just like this one.  These people are a part of the Band of Brethren doing all they can to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere they can, to everybody they can, whenever they can.  Isn’t that a vital part of our commission?  In India, Nepal, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda,  Malaysia, Singapore, and you name other countries plus your home country.   

And aren’t we to share with adults, young people, children, married couples, singles, the elderly (like me), plus people who speak a language different from our language?  Isn’t that a vital part of our commission?

Isn’t our time of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be at unscheduled times as well as scheduled times?  Isn’t that a vital part of our commission?

My friend Randy and I were in a van being taken, from the hotel where we had stayed, back to the airport.  A man and his wife were riding along with us.  It was very early in the morning, it was till dark.  Randy can speak the language of the country where we were.  As we traveled to the airport, Randy was sharing Christ with this couple.  Must be okay to share Christ in the mornings and when it is still night time.

I met a man from another country in a grocery store where my wife and I shop often.  So, I saw this man a number of times.  I was always talking Jesus to him.  It must be okay to share Christ while shopping.

I have been where we met people walking down a mountain in another country.  In our conversation, Jesus was shared with these individuals.  It must be okay to share Christ on a mountain side.

My friend Dale and I were having lunch while in another country.  Dale noticed a man who was from even another country.  He went and introduced himself to this man.  A part of the conversation he had centered on Jesus.  It must be okay to share Christ in a restaurant.

I visited with two neighbors until after midnight one evening.  The whole conversation was concerning God and Jesus Christ.  It must be okay to share Christ with one’s neighbours.

My wife, Inez, has used the telephone many times to share Christ, especially with other women and even kinsfolk.  Must be okay to share Christ through communications methods and with those to whom you are related.

In fact, I can’t think of a time, a place, or a people when it is not okay to share Jesus Christ.

As a Band of Brethren, shouldn’t we be doing this, everyday and everywhere with everybody?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 28, 2009

Any Dust On Your Feet?

Matthew 10:14 – Jesus speaking, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

When Friends of Mexico began a ministry in Mexico, the missionary went to many mountain villages seeking locations in which they could share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  One evening in a particular village as he was sharing Christ with the people, one man came up and cried out in his language, “You lie, you lie!”  And he had a gun and said he was going to shoot the missionary.  He meant it.  Some of the villagers intervened and tried to stop this angry man but told the missionary that he had to leave “now.”  So, he left.

Years later while on a mission venture in Mexico, we decided to return to that location and see if it was now possible to begin to minister there.  We decided to use a sports ministry and were able to get a number of boys and young men to engage in a game of softball.  I will never forget being there because I have never seen a softball hit so far.  Not only did it go out of a very large area where we were playing, but it went over the road that runs through this village and landed by some homes on the other side of the road.  Wow!  We were there for about two hours and had a good time with these young people.  However, as the missionary was seeking approval, from the adults, to return later to try to establish some type of interaction with the people, he received no encouragement.  With sad hearts we walked away, leaving many friendly young people with no hope of ever hearing the Truth that brings “real life.”  We had to shake off the dust from our feet.

Years later now the remembrance of this still saddens me.  Yet, in many areas of this world there are places that have never even been visited as was this village. 

I believe we are back in New Testament times where Jesus was hated and our Band of Brethren were being persecuted, killed, and run out of certain areas of the world and even in my country today, we are having to shake off tons of dust from our feet.

Are we, you and I, willing to go beyond, willing to get dust on our feet, and pay any price necessary so that “some” can hear the Truth of “real life,” that being the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 25, 2009

The Hotel Galeana

When we arrived in Galeana, Mexico, back in the 80’s, for our annual mission venture, we learned there would also be a mission team from Nebraska.  The number of people on site took up all the available sleeping places in the compound where we stayed. Our host was Friends of Mexico (FOM), headed up by George Rivera.  George and his wife, Rebeca are today still serving in Mexico.   A few days later, Frank Gonzales arrived with a bus load of young people, both Mexican and Americans who made up a musical choir.  Every year Frank took these young people on a month long visit to a number of cities and towns in Mexico presenting music and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Frank is no longer with us but while he ministered in Mexico he also founded an Orphans Home.  He was a man who loved the Lord and served Him.

Well, now we had too many people and not enough places to put all of us.  So some of Franks boys used the bus for sleeping.  We still did not have enough space.  So the Hotel Galeana comes into play.  And since I was one of the oldest persons on site I was volunteered to go to the hotel.  I say volunteered because I was a guest there once before. 

Hotel Galeana had 12 cabins lined up in two rows.  Two of them had bath facilities in them.  People in the other 10 had to go outside to 2 shower stalls and 2 restrooms.  I was assigned to #5.  The hotel clerk took me outside where the keys were numbered and hung on a  nail on a board.  I got my key and went to the cabin.  I unlocked the door and opened the door, or I tried to open the door.  There was a chair in the way.  I had to reach in the door, pick up the chair and set it on the bed, then I could open the door where I could enter the room.  Once in the room, I could see there was a bed and a chair.  The room was about one foot wider than the bed and two feet longer than the bed.  There really wasn’t room for the chair.  Also, this hotel was about 9  blocks from the compound.

I was able to sleep though.  Next morning I returned to the compound for our ministry schedule.  About 10PM I returned to the hotel and found my room #5 key was missing from the board.  I asked the clerk for the key.  He said, “Just take any key, they all open any door.”  That made me feel a little ill at ease.  But I survived.

On another mission venture to Galeana the same situation occurred.  Again, I was volunteered for the hotel.  However, this time I got Cabin #12.  It had it’s own shower and restroom.  This turned out to be an advantage since there were so many individuals having to utilize the showers at the compound, some came to my room at the hotel and used that shower.  Also, this cabin was big enough for two people to get into at the same time.  Also, the water and electricity stayed on for the entire time we were in Galeana.  That was very rare.

Years have passed and the Hotel Galeana is no more.  Galeana has grown greatly over the years.  They have a “real” hotel on the plaza which is a beautiful place in the center of Galeana.  How much has it grown you may inquire?  When I first went to Galeana, FOM’s phone number was 9.  There were only 12 phones in the town.  Now they even have a traffic light or two in the town.  They have an Ice Cream Parlor on the plaza which is a good place to go after a tiring day.

Well,  how does all this relate to Christianity?  Let me share a few thoughts.  Galeana was a good location to set up a ministry center.  Not only does it open opportunities to minister into many mountain villages, many of the mountain village people come to Galeana to seek jobs.  As a Band of Brethren, we go to them and they come to us.  Many indigenous leaders receive training at FOM and go out into more villages.  Mission teams work side by side with these leaders to assist and encourage them in their ministry.  As you read this blog, there are men working to develope a Bible School in Galeana.  And regardless of what a mission team must endure it is always necessary that we go beyond and rejoice in going.

And if you ever have to stay in a “Hotel Galeana,” praise God and thank Him that He is allowing you be involved with His plan and purpose in spreading the “only” Truth in our world, The Bible, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

People can live without fancy hotels and they can live without running water and electricity but no one can live without Jesus!  Amen?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 24, 2009

How “Much” Do You Have?

First Class TravelWe had arrived at this mountain village in a van.  Someone else arrived in what is “first class travel” for the inhabitants of this and other mountain villages in this part of the world.  I say first class because this animal has a saddle.  I am not demeaning this situation but I do want us to understand what the majority of Christ Followers have to endure to take the Gospel to those without any hope.  And the majority of these mountain people travel by foot, just like Paul, Silas, Luke and others who brought the Gospel to you and me, when they first took the Gospel into Europe.  Jesus said in Luke 12:48b – “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:”  It is only natural that we who can travel by van will be required to give and do more that those who can only travel by foot power.

However, we can’t always get to those in need of the Word of God by using a van.  There will be times when we, too, must travel as do the people to whom we go.  I have a friend who went to a country where he traveled by car, motorcycle, row boat, and by foot to get into ‘out of the way’ villages.  I must confess that most of my traveling has been by motor vehicle of some type or on foot.  However, there were times, due to the condition of roads, that I had rather have been on foot than in a car.  So what are we who have been given “much” to do with this “much?”  Use it to get to those who have much less than we have so they can know Jesus Christ?  Can you think of another reason for our having so “much?”

Then this does not just relate to how we travel.  It relates to all of our livelihood.  There are good men and women who seek to carry on needed ministries in areas of the world who have almost no encouragement from anyone.  Is it possible that we, the Band of Brethren, can seek out some of these individuals and be an encouragement to them and share some of our “much” with them, what ever their individual needs may be?  Also, in Biblical understanding we have been given “much.”  We must share with them the Truth of God’s Word so they can also share the Truth.  This is vital as there are so many false teachers in the world today making a ton of “much” for themselves.

Who does our “much” belong to?  What are we going to do with the “much” which God has placed in our hands?  Lets you and me think it over.  Okay?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 23, 2009

Should Do vs Can Do!

As I sat in the air terminal in an international city, I was startled when a number of Police and Militia ran into the In Transit Area and started locking the doors.  This was happening in other rooms into which I could see.  Since I knew very little of the language I did not know why this was happening.  Plus, these men were not sharing why this was taking place.  Though I did not feel threatened, a thought did run through my mine, “I was scheduled to board my flight shortly and what if the doors were still locked, whould I be able to get on the plane?”  Then I noticed activity outside and could see men running to another area of the airport.  What is happening? 

Shortly, the Police came back through our area and unlocked the doors.  Everything settled back to normal.  It seemed that someone the Government was looking for had landed in a private plane but it turned out not to be the individual they thought it might have been.

So, I boarded my flight and continued on my journey.  We sometimes consider a situation such as this as a “bump in the road.” 

As I mulled this over in my mind I realized that there will always be “bumps in the road” in life.  And man has always tried to smooth out these bumps with the best man can accomplish through man’s ability apart from Creator God.  Our world is in the condition it is because man has told God to ‘get lost.’  Just today I learned of a woman who has worked in a medical clinic for 30 years who was told that the cross she wears on a necklace is harmful to the patients and it must be removed.   

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer had it right when he said, “When man loses the moral imperative of what man should do, all man is left with is what man can do!”

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 21, 2009

Welcome With Love!

Argentina - Welcome!_0001In all the countries where I have had the privilege to visit, some of the greatest welcomes I have ever received were from the children.  Their expressions of love are so honest and pure.  Their smiles can light up the darkness.  While most of our activities are with the adults, we must never overlook the children.  The world in which we live today is so much more hostile to the Truth of God’s Word than when I was a child.  A lot of it was there back then, I just did not know about it.  Every day our news reveals the horrors which children face.  It tears on the heart to learn what is happening to children the world over.  As we seek to serve others in areas of the earth who are not as fortunate as many of us, we must never overlook our responsibility of ministry to the children.

I remember……

One young girl, that did not get much expression of love at home, who ran up to a lady of our Mission Team, who had shown love to this child, and she literally jumped up into this lady’s arms.  This child had such a big smile on her face.  This woman and child speak different languages.

Five young boys who came up to a pastor on the street and gave him a big hug.  He was loving these boys away from a life of hopelessness.  One of the boys said, “We have quit sniffing glue.  Thanks pastor!”

One location where a child went everywhere I went and ended up in my arms many times.  I never got tired of the child’s presence.  This child and I have different skin color.

One location where I prayed with a boy who that day had been put out of his home.  The family did not have the funds to take care of him.  He became just another “street kid.”

A young boy who hung around me as much as possible as he wanted to practice speaking English.  After I left his country we continued to correspond by mail.

Another location where the competition to continue going to school is so difficult that they miss what it means to be a “child.”

A home in my country where a child was wanting attention and to keep the child from making a fuss the father gave the child a can of beer to drink.  This child was three years old.

Children will welcome us with love in what ever language they speak.  And since the vast majority can’t come to us, we must go to them with the Love and Word of God.  It is their only hope.  Are we, the Band of Brethren, willing?  A real tough question isn’t it?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 18, 2009

La Poza – Our Obligation?

Mexico - La PozaAs stated in a prior article, La Poza was one of the first villages I visited when I began a ministry with Friends Of Mexico (FOM) which is headquartered in Galeana, Mexico.  This picture shows an outcrop near the left end of the mountain in the background.  The town of Galeana is located just in front of this mountain.  So this village is located close to Galeana.  It is also located close to where two paved roads intersect.  (Only about a mile away).  So it is easy to get to La Poza from Galeana.  The result is a lot of ministry has taken place in this location, even though they threw rocks at us the first time I went there.

Much has changed in La Poza since my first visit.  They now have electricity and a small school building for the younger children.  I have even seen a map of Mexico which shows the location of La Poza. 

However, as some look at La Poza they might wonder if anything has been gained by the time and effort put into the sharing of the Word of God in such an insignificant place.  We may never know the full impact of that.  But what we do know is Isaiah 55:11 – “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void (without fruit), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  There is reason and a purpose for God’s Word to go into the lives of the people who live in this village.  And it is God who brings the results.

Our task is to take His Word to places like La Poza.  God promises it will bear fruit.  Isn’t that enough incentive for us to go beyond, where no man has gone before with the Gospel, no matter where that may take us?

As God’s “Band of Brethren” are we going to do that? 

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 18, 2009

The Harvest!

AtrekinthemountainAs we drove up a mountain, in a foreign country, on what might be called a road, we would, from time to time, pass by an area in which there would be a shack or two where people were trying to eke out a living.  It made one wonder, “how did they do that?” 

I have lived in an area, in times past, where we had no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no electricity in a small wooden framed house.  But there were other such homes within walking distance where there were opportunities for fellowship and interactions with others.  Not so on this particular mountain and other mountains on which I have been.

I began to comprehend the scripture where Jesus states, “The harvest is plenteous,but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” –Matt: 9:37b-38.

I also lived where we had crops that would, at the right time, be ripe for harvest, but they were crops planted on level ground.  But God’s harvest includes mountains also and His harvest includes the entire earth, wherever man is seeking to make a living.  The people who lived in those shacks we drove by on that mountain need to be harvested also.  The only people who can do that harvesting are you and me.  And these people are always ripe for harvest.

One mountain town where I have been, in another country, has about 300 small mountain villages in the area.  I doubt if very many of these villages have ever heard any of the word of God.  This is just one such example.  It can be multiplied by thousands of other examples.  The task of harvest is greater than I can envision.

In other countries men and women are being trained, as best as possible, in God’s Word and are committed to going, mostly on foot, up into the mountains to go to villages where there is no Gospel of Jesus Christ being presented. 

The same is being done in mountain-less nations.  The harvest is everywhere.  But the laborers are so few.

As one non-Christian author wrote, “We Americans Are Amusing Ourselves To Death!”

What are we “Band of Brethren” going to do about the Harvest?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 14, 2009

Where Is Our Faith?

The wind was picking up.  It had been getting stronger all day.  Rain was beating up against the house and had been doing so for some time now.  No one was venturing out side.  A hurricane was on the way and it was forcasted to hit the town where I lived with my Mother, Step-father, and our dog, “Wookie,” a dachshund.  We listened all day to the radio broadcasts concerning the approaching storm.  Since this was a time before television, cell phones, and battery operated radio, we relied only on the radio and when electricity went down there was nothing to provide information on what was transpiring.  All we could do was wait out the storm and hope for the best.  The noise of the wind and rain, as it increased, had its effect on me.

The day before we had gone down to where my Step-father kept his boat and took it way up the bayou as far away from open water as possible.  It was tied up, in an area where there were many trees, with long rope lines so the boat could rise with the incoming tide and not sink the boat. 

Also being considered, was the location of the boat as it would rise with the water, was where the trees were located so if one was blown over it would not fall on the boat.  (I remember after the storm as we were taking the boat back to the its basin, we noticed a number of boats that had been sunk by the storm.  Going up the bayou we had to be careful so as not to hit some boat which was completely underwater.)

We lived in a wood framed house and had a big oak tree in the front yard.  The house had two bedrooms, one up at the front of the house and one in the back.  I had the bedroom at the back. 

Now it is late, there is no electrify and no radio to hear the latest hurricane forecasts.  But by the strength of the wind and the heavy rain we knew it was coming right down “the middle of main street” as the adults stated.  So, being just a young “kid” I went on to bed.  Somehow, I was able to go to sleep.  When I woke up the next morning, there was no strong wind and no rain.  The house was still there and big Oak tree was still standing.  But there was something else, on one side of me was my Mother and on the other side was my Step-father.  A hurricane was raging around me and all the while, the people who loved me most were right with me side by side and there to welcome me to another day.  The storm was over.

Today, as I recount that episode in my lifeI believe that is what will happen when a Christ Follower goes home.  We go to sleep, the storms are over, and we wake up in the arms of Jesus.

Knowing that, shouldn’t we be ready and willing to do all that God desires of us, no matter what that may cost us? 

Mark 4:39-40 – “And Jesus arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And Jesus said unto to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? how is it that you have no faith?'”  

That is a great question.  We all know where the storms are.  But much more important, where is “our” faith?

What say you?   

      

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 11, 2009

May We Never, Never Forget!

Dateline:  September 12th, 2001, 7:00AM – Nakuru, Kenya

John arose early and went into the hotel lobby where there was a TV set, which daily at this hour had news broadcasts in English.  In a short time he returned to our room where Dale and I were in the process of getting ready for the day ahead.  (We were conducting a daily seminar for pastors and church leaders).

John told us that the Twin Towers in New York had been hit by an airplane.  We were a little stunned by this news.  How could this happen?  Where did the plane come from?  What kind of plane was involved?  Not once did I think it could be a passenger aircraft.  And at this point we did not know there were other planes involved.  As we discussed this event it was now mid-night of the 11th of September in my home town of Houston, Texas.

When we went outside the hotel, we noticed men hawking newspapers with headlines like: “10,000 Killed In New York” and “20,000 Killed In Attack On The Twin Towers.”  With so little facts about what had and what was transpiring back home, we became very concerned.

The three of us then began to pray for our families and for our country and for the people to which we would be sharing that day.  Here was a “God Moment.”  How would we react before these Kenyan Brothers.  We prayed thanking God for always being in control.  As we met that day our Brethren were also praying like prayers.  Even many, who were not a part of those to which we were ministering, shared their concern for us.  Especially was this true for other Kenyan Christ Followers who sought us out to show their love in Christ for us.  One such person told Dale, “My heart hurts for those who left this world without ever knowing Jesus Christ and His Salvation.”

As we corresponded back home with our families, we discovered our wives where on the phone daily, form Texas to Oregon, praying for us.  What an encouragement! 

Little by little, we began to get the truth about what had happened.  We continued to pray more specifically.  What had transpired reminded me of another such day in my life, December 7, 1941, the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii without warning.  I remembered the fear I had as a nine year old boy.   That same fear returned.  Only this time, I knew more about God’s sovereignty.

Next, our attention turned to how we would return home.  Flights everywhere were cancelled.  Since I was scheduled to leave Kenya in about 5 days, this became a problem.  John and Dale, being from Oregon, looked into the possibility of flying into Canada if flights where still grounded in the United Stated.  I, on the other hand, considered flying into Mexico.  I had contacted a friend, in South Texas, about this possibility.

In the meantime we continued to conduct our seminar.  God was giving us a love for the Kenyans.

The day I was to leave, we traveled back to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, to get me on my flight.  Air traffic was now moving in most places.  I was dropped off at the airport and said goodbye to my Kenyan Brethren.  When I went to check in for the flight there was a problem.  I never did discover what that problem was but they seemed determined to not allow me to board this flight.  We had several discussions but no reason was forth-coming.  Then I remembered I had checked with the airline office in Nakuru and they had given me a slip of paper showing I was confirmed for the flight.  When that was shown, I had no more problems. 

As I traveled home from Nairobi to Amsterdam to Houston, I met a number of people who had to wait up to 7 or 8 days before they could get on a flight.  I was blessed.  So were John and Dale as they too, arrived home without problems.

Will I always remember “9/11” as it is called in the USA?  Yes!  Just as I have always remembered December 7th and Pearl Harbor.  I remember the hurt and loss of life.  Yet, I also remember the love of family and the love of my Kenyan Brethren and the love of God as He made our paths straight.

No matter what may come our way, as a nation, as a church or as an individual, I pray we will always remember God’s Word and His plan and purpose for our lives. 

But of more importance……. 

May we never, never forget what Christ has done for us on “the” Cross! 

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | September 2, 2009

God’S Plan, Provision, And Purpose

I can remember back to when I was a young child, before I started going to school.  I began my schooling at the age of 5 when I entered the First Grade.  (I was so timid that I would not go on to the school yard until the morning bell would ring because I did not want to mingle with the other students.)  Yet, the thing I remember most, of my early life, is my Grandmother taking me up into her lap, while rocking in her rocking chair, and sharing the words and stories of God’s Truth, the Bible.  Because of that, I never questioned the existence of God.  If my Grandmother said God’s “IS” then that is Truth!  So, as I look back on my life, I realized how God sat me on a strong foundation on the Faith of my Grandmother.

I can also remember the first time I went to a Sunday School class.  I went with a cousin of mine and I was okay until she went to one class for ‘girls only’ and I was to go to a class of ‘boys only,’ where I knew no one.  Being so timid, I did not go.  I ran out of the room crying and out of the church building and ran all the way back home.  Yet, this cousin had a brother who was physically impaired.  He I trusted. he was my friend.  He was the second person, after my Grandmother, who ever told me about Jesus Christ.  God was building on the foundation laid by using my Grandmother and he used an unusual person, a person who was never to live a life I had opportunity to live. 

My life then went through a series of ups and downs.  I went to church most of the time.  But I was not growing in Christ as I should.  After a time in the Army and returning home I was in a car accident in which I could have lost my life.  After that experience,  I began to think that God had a plan for me in mind.

Then I met the girl who was to become my wife.  She is a strong Christ Follower and under her influence, I began to come back to the Lord.  And I had a desire to really grow in the Lord.  I was at the church building every time the doors were open but I was not growing, mainly because I was not committed in giving my life, if necessary, for Christ.  I needed something and as best I could, I sought out what that something may be.  I began to understand that if I seek God, He will be found of me.

God was still providing that which I needed.  My wife and I became a part of a new church where the pastor used expository teaching.  Through that I began to see and understand God’s Word as never before.  As my commitment grew, God showed me more of His Word.  Col. 1:27 opened a whole new world for me.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”  Working close with this pastor, I began to understand God’s call on my life.  Ministry opportunities opened up for me.  Then God allowed a unique thing to happen in my life.  I was fired from my computer job.  That was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  Now my dependence was on God alone.

I am now in a church were there is expository teaching and a deep commitment for taking the Gospel to the Unreached Peoples of the world.  

As I look back over my life now, I can see how God, in love and patience, brought me to where I am.  My only regret is that it took me so long to do it God’s way.  Yet, I am grateful to God that he has allowed me to live as long as I have so I could know, even to a small extend, the joy of becoming a slave of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called  according to His purpose.” 

Please notice four sets of two words each – “we know”  –  “love God”  –  “the called”  – “His purpose.”

Allow Him to do It!

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | August 31, 2009

How Creative Are You?

At one time, my wife, Inez, and I lived in an Apartment Complex which had 1,096 units.  No matter where we have lived, we were always seeking ways to minister, in some fashion, the Gospel of Christ, into the lives of others.  With the approval of the Apartment Management. we began to look for ways to do just that.  As I have stated in another article, we began a Divorce Recovery Group which lasted eight months.  This took place each Sunday night.  That was the best time to schedule this ministry so as to draw as many individuals as possible.

However, in such a large complex there were many other possibilities for ministry.  To challenge your creativity, I want to mention only two.  One was a once a year ministry.  This was to have a Thanksgiving meal for all occupants who had no place to go to be with family.  Either their family lived in another part of the country or they were just alone for various other reasons.

The complex had a large game room which was utilized for many activities.  On Thanksgiving day, we had the area for our use.  We had a real Thanksgiving meal with turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, dressing, green beans, and sweet potatoes, and pies and cakes.  It was done up right.  We had the assistance of a Presbyterian Church which provided funds for the turkeys.  We covered most of the rest of the items for the meal.  Being involved in a ministry which praises and honors Christ is never without cost.

We never knew for certain how many would show up for the meal.  But there was always enough.  Many people are alone on that day and many came so they would not be alone all day.  One man had just been through a divorce and he was hurting.  He needed company of some sort.  We talked a lot together, rather he talked a lot, I just listened a lot.  Many times listening is the best thing that can be done in ministry.  Others had many reasons for being there that day.  We did not have a time set for when our time together would be over.  It is hard to minister while watching a clock.  Some stayed a long time just to be with someone.  Since we started the meal with a prayer of thanks, it was easy to bring in the Grace of God into our conversations.  

I said this was a once a year ministry.  That is not exactly right.  Because we met and became acquainted with a number of individuals through this ministry, there were times when we needed to be available to meet with and share with some who attended this Thanksgiving gathering.  So, in a sense, a ministry is never over. 

The other thing we did is have a weekly Bible study for occupants who were Believers or were interested in God’s Teachings.  Thus we stayed in constant contact with a number of individuals.  The average stay in this apartment was eighteen months.  This we had to keep in mind as we attempted to share the Gospel for as long as we could.

I mention this to see if in your current situation, there may be ways, you can utilize, to bring the Scriptures into the lives of those outside of Christ who are right around you.  With prayer for guidance and love for those who are living without hope, can you see a creative method for shining the Light of God into their darkened lives? 

Please share with me your creativity.

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | August 25, 2009

What Am I Learning?

I was in the airport in Zurich, Switzerland and I was having a hard time getting to the right counter to do the things necessary for my continuing flight.  As I followed the clerks instructions of which person to see, I was told to go back to where I had just been.  I became angry and let the clerk know about it.  She then seemed very upset and she was under some pressure, with so many people lined up at her counter.  My frustration was, I did not want to get back into a long line where I had just been.  Standing in ‘that’ line again I had time to realize I was the person at fault by not following the instructions correctly the person at the counter of ‘that’ line had given me.  So, I then had to return to the line where the clerk was that I had offended.  When I arrived back there, even with many people being able to watch and hear my conversation with the clerk, I apologized to her and she then had a smile on her face as she served the passengers.  I had no right to be so angry, but I did have the obligation to admit I was wrong and seek forgiveness.  As a Christ Follower it was my duty to make amends.  I righted a wrong.  Had I not done so, that lady would have had a bad time at work that day and I would have had a bad felling knowing what I had caused.

What am I learning?  Make sure of myself before I speak and cause hurt to those who are innocent.  Be willing to take the bad with the good.  Don’t give those outside of Christ a reason to reject the Gospel.

When I am out where there are people, such as a shopping mall or a restaurant, I am always listening for speech which is not common to where I live and when I hear a person or persons that fit this category, I ask them where they are from.  I strike up a conversation with them, if possible, to find out where they are from.  If they are from a country where I have had the privilege of being, I have an ‘open door’ to share with them.  Just last night I met a woman from Turkey.  She remembered me from a year ago.  We had a good conversation. 

What am I learning?  I need to be alert to situations like this and where possible, follow up with more frequent visits.

In the church which I attend I have met Brethren who were born in El Salvador. Colombia, and Cuba.  I have become acquainted with two of these families.  There are places in my city where people from these countries gather to fellowship with others of their nationality. 

What am I learning?  With the assistance of these individuals who speak the language of these countries, we can visit these gathering places and begin to develop friendships whereby we could at the proper time, share proper rations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Remember, it is our theology that is to determine our methodology.

What are you learning?

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | August 15, 2009

Sports Ministry – Do It!

Mexico - Sports_NEWUnderstanding the culture of a foreign location is very important when you seek to minister to the people of that area.  One example is that there are places where it is difficult to involve men in what you seek to accomplish.  However, there are ways to overcome some of the resistance to the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But people must “hear’ the Gospel, so we want to be wise in our methods of getting the Word of God into the lives of people everywhere.

In Mexico, sports are important and present an opportunity of interacting with the male population.  Soccer, or football as many call it, is very popular in most countries of the world.  It is a good sport to utilize.  Even an “aged one” like myself can be involved.  I remember one game where I kicked at the ball and missed and landed on my back.  Every one of the men and boys playing laughed, but then they all knew who I was and I could communicate with them, with ease, even about Jesus Christ.    Landing on my back had “opened a door” for me to share with them. 

We have used basketball, baseball, and volleyball as a means to share with these individuals. 

Basketball – We usually have a number of men and boys of the Mission Team who will play a team made up of the village men and boys.  When the games were completed, we had a time of sharing what Jesus Christ means to us and our lives. 

Baseball – We went to a number of villages and had each village put together a team and then we carried the teams to different villages to play each other.  On the last day of the mission trip we had the two teams, with the best records, play for the championship. 

Volleyball – This game we played in the individual villages with all who wanted to become involved.  Each day the number of young boys and men would grow larger.  And each day when the games were over, we had a time of teaching from the Bible.

All of those who participated in any of the sports ministries came to Galeana, on the last day of our trip, for a time of fellowship, food, and presentation of the Gospel.

Each day we shared with the young men and on the last day the Gospel of Jesus Christ was presented in a non threatening way, thanks to the daily sports ministries.

And each time we went back to this area, the number who participated became greater, our fellowship became stronger, and we always shared Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

Remember Colossians 4:6b  – “…..study how best to talk with each person you meet.”?

Do it, but be wise in so doing! 

Go Beyond!

Posted by: Charles Aranyas | August 14, 2009

Understanding Jesus’ Commands

I once heard a story, told from the pulpit, by a pastor concerning foreign missions.  It was aimed at the young people in the church.  I do not know if this was a true story or an illustration to make a point.  And make a point it does.  Seems the pastor poured out his heart about the great need for missionaries, hoping some, in the church he pastored, would make such a commitment.  When the invitation was given, no one came forward until, a little later, his own daughter came forward and the pastor asked “Honey, what is it that you want to share?’  She said, “Daddy, I’ll go.”  The pastor asked, “What?”  Again, she said, “Daddy I’ll go.  I’ll be a missionary.”  The pastor grabbed her and hugged her and said, “Oh, honey, I didn’t mean you.  I didn’t mean you.”

I can relate to that.  I knew missionaries were needed and I was happy to see others make that commitment and felt good about their doing so.  But in my thinking “I didn’t mean me.”

All my life I have known Matthew 28:18-20 – “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.'” 

It has been later in my life that I have understood the true meaning of this command. 

First, it is a command.  It is the last command Jesus gave his followers when He went back to be with the Father. 

Second, it is still in effect. 

Third, I am to know what Jesus taught. 

Fourth, I am to teach everything He has commanded. 

Fifth, I am to do that in every place on planet earth. 

Sixth, Jesus will be with me as I do this, so no matter what happens to me, Jesus is in control.

My great regret is that it took so many years for me to come to the point of being willing.  I have experienced great blessings and am thankful for that but I can only wonder about all I have missed.  However, I can’t go back.  So, I must, from this point, go forward and go beyond to be in God’s purpose for my life.

God has put a number of examples before me as He, in love, drew me to the place I am today.  He is so gracious.

My first “Go Beyond” location was Mexico.  I have been involved there for many mission ventures.

I had the opportunity to visit a former pastor and his family in a mission field in Asia.

I know of a couple, who have had a very productive music ministry, who were going into Russia before the Iron Curtain came down.

I know a couple who have served in over 15 different countries.

I know a couple, the husband, a pilot, who took an early retirement, that ministered in Mission Aviation for 21 years in Africa.

And there are more individuals who have made an impact on my life and aided in my growth of a burden and concern to follow Jesus’ command.

And the “icing on the cake” is the Mission Pastor of the church which I attend, who embodies all of this and the impact he is having on me and the church.

My commitment has gone from “I didn’t mean me,” to “please God, make me usable.”

So, as I understand Jesus’ command, whether I am on the other side of the globe or in my home town, I am a missionary.  Am I correct about that?

 

 

 

 

       

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