-Vernon Brewer, founder and president of World Help
Monday, December 15, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
After a brief hiatus from our Sunday night tradition, we gathered once again last night for more food (of the Chinese variety), fun, friends, and this week, some family as well. Good times.
I'm gonna miss these people next year...
If you know me well at all, you know that I am a missionary at heart. Since my teenage years, I have had a passion for the world, for different cultures, for people groups very different than my own. I went on my first mission trip as a junior in high school. I went to Ecuador, and it was there that God began to place in my heart a calling to youth ministry. At the same time, I began to feel God stirring my heart for the nations.
That calling, over six years ago now, set my life on an incredible journey that continues to this day. Rather than devoting my life to the pursuit of riches or fame or athletic achievement--to all the things that my selfish heart had desired up until that point in my life--I chose a significantly different path. This path led me to study youth ministry for four years at Bethel College. It led me to spend countless hours in college pouring into youth in the local church. It was this calling that led me to St. Mark Missionary Church, where for nearly four years now I have been striving to make a difference in the lives of young people--to inspire them, challenge them, help them see that they are called to something bigger than themselves. Finally, it is God's heart for the nations that He has placed within me that has led me to a significantly different and new phase in my journey...
In March, I met a South-African man in Israel named John Abrahamse. He was speaking at a conference for youth workers all around the world, and he shared his vision to reach the youth of Africa. John and his wife, Lorna, started an organization out of their home called J-Life. J-Life stands for Jesus' Life. Simply put, they began practicing the principles of Christ's ministry on earth, discipling young people and teaching them to disciple other young people. In the past seven years, their ministry has grown exponentially. J-Life is now a movement that is training native men and women from over 20 different African nations to make disciples.
What I saw that day in Israel was a vision for bringing the kingdom of God to a whole continent. A vision for empowering oppressed people with the Good News. A vision for multiplying fully-committed disciples of Jesus. I knew that I wanted to be a part of that kind of a movement of God.
The rest is history. I spoke with John, and he advised me to begin praying about spending a year in Africa. Over the course of the next couple months, the answer was clear.
One month from today, I leave for Africa.
Why Africa? Honestly, I had never really considered going to Africa. It's not that I was opposed to going there, but I simply had not been exposed enough to Africa to see that it just might be the place where God wanted me. My international experiences have been limited mostly to the Spanish-speaking world, as well as to the far East in places like China and India. To be completely honest, since my time in China two years ago, I had been hoping that God would send me back there, or at least to somewhere in Asia. After spending time in India this past January, I was convinced that God would call me there. However, God had different plans. My life will never be the same.
Africa...here I come!!!