As Thanksgiving approaches I could not help but think of all the things I am thankful for about having been raised on the mission field as an MK (missionary kid). That is when I decided to write all the Grace Ministries International missionaries and ask them to share with us on today’s blog post 3 things they are thankful for about their missionary experience. So, grab your favorite warm beverage and a minute to read and join me in thanking God for what He is doing around the world along with many of GMI’s missionaries…
Brook Seekins: (Tanzania)
1. I am thankful to be in full-time ministry. What joy to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He asks of you wherever He leads you.
2. I am thankful for the national leaders with whom I work in Youth ministries. I love to see them grow in their faith and their ministry skills.
3. I am thankful for a great team both on the field and off the field. The missionaries I work with, the GMI office staff, the supporters, and the prayer warriors. A great example of the Body of Christ at work in different aspects.
1. We have been so thankful for God’s clear leading and guidance during this process. His will has been very clear to us and we have been encouraged in our calling in so many ways.
2. We have also been thankful for the kids and how well they have done while traveling! They have been such troopers!
3. We are also very thankful for all the wonderful people we have met on our travels. We have been so blessed by everyone who has opened their homes and hearts to us.
1. I am thankful for 11 years as a missionary with GMI in which I have served in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, and now Costa Rica. God has always taken care of me and provided everything I needed.
2. I thank God for the privilege He has given me to disciple and lead many people to a closer relationship with Him. It is the most awesome experience to be used by God.
3. I thank God for working with both organizations GMI and Movida. I have met so many great people in both organizations, godly people, good friends who love the Lord and inspire and motivate me to continue serving the King.
1. That my kids are able to grow up in a different culture that has expanded their world view.
2. That I am able to see God working DAILY in His ministry at Camp Caribe.
3. That we can be who we are and God uses that for His glory.
1. We are thankful for our experiences as missionaries because they allow us to meet all kinds of people, with different cultures, languages, economical situations, religions, and educational backgrounds. And, of course, they come from all kinds of different places and we travel to all kinds of places!
2. We are thankful that we can see firsthand the lack of hope that this world has. When we meet people from different religions the first thing we realize is that they don’t have the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Sometimes when we are in our comfort zone we are blind to the reality that this world needs forgiveness, freedom and hope, things that only are found in Christ, and in Christ alone.
3. We are thankful that in our little experience we can identify with the sufferings of Christ, maybe just in a small way… but when we are rejected, betrayed, abandoned for sake of the Gospel, we can understand Christ’s sufferings a little bit better. Some of us may have the privilege of dying for Christ, and if this is not the case, for sure we are dying to our self when we say goodbye to our families and loved ones, when we choose to live among a different people group just because, the joy waiting for us is so much bigger than any suffering here on earth.
1. The opportunity to answer God’s call.
2. The opportunity to know and be in fellowship with so many more believers from different parts of the world.
3. The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people through Christ our LORD.
1. For a ministry that touches people’s lives with Bible truths DAILY! In Radio we don’t have to wait for the weekend, the rain to stop, or danger threats to pass – we minister each hour, each day.
2. That I am still here. When I came to the field as a young guy, I never imagined that I would still be able to stay-on this long.
3. That the ministry doesn’t get old. Each day there are new opportunities, challenge,s and things to learn. The work just keeps piling on.
1. I am thankful that our children were able to serve the Lord with us here in Tanzania and that they were able to be around our fellow missionaries, their “aunts” and “uncles,” who were great examples of selfless servants. All of our kids, as young adults now, are serving the Lord in one way or another and I can’t help but think in a large part it is because of their experience here and the examples they had.
2. I am thankful that we work in a country where even though many people don’t have a relationship with God through Christ we are still welcome to share Christ publicly. Moreover, we can teach Bible stories and pray when we teach at the government elementary school. Yesterday, I attended a meeting with the village leaders and we opened the meeting in prayer and closed the prayer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Praise God!
3. I am thankful for the team of Tanzanian men whom I work with here. We could not accomplish much without them. Even though they don’t have much materially, they are rich spiritually. They are trustworthy and hard workers and a great testimony to the community.
1. Knowing that no matter where I am, God’s presence is with me. That He will never leave me on my own or remain behind at the last place I was, as I travel to many different places.
2. Hot water in my kitchen. My husband, who is sort of a “Jack of all Trades,” had two large gas tanks welded together and hooked up so that water is heated by our cooking wood stove and flows to our shower, washing machine, and kitchen sink. For about a week after he installed this, the water smelled like propane, but now it smells like Mike’s labor of love for me:)
2. Satellite Internet. God, in His perfect timing, when Mike and I became empty nesters, brought some long-time friends to visit us here in the Rukwa Valley. In our 12 years of being missionaries, they had wanted to visit that entire time but God chose to bring them out just when He had a purpose beyond my dreams. This wonderful couple took a look at our internet situation and offered to purchase the equipment and pay for the installation of satellite internet. You can imagine how priceless this is to me to be able to stay in contact with our adult kids, as well as family and friends so far away.
1. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about different cultures and experience how people live in place that is not my own.
2. I’m thankful for friendships and ministry opportunities that cross over cultural differences and allow us to connect and partner with people in a way that reaches people’s felt needs with the love of Jesus.
3. I’m thankful for my wife and family whom God uses to encourage me and who are an integral part of my “missions experience.”
1. I thank God for how He has used this experience to help me depend on Him and draw me closer to Him as He shepherds me in unfamiliar territory, experiences, cultures, and people.
2. I thank God for the opportunity He gave my children to grow up in Africa: seeing real need, serving Him as they served His children, and experiencing a simpler life with many opportunities to trust Him.
3. I thank God for His children of different color, culture, and socioeconomic status who have shown me what faith is by their very lives: the deaf/blind Nicaraguan woman with a face registering peace and contentment; the thin, deaf, smiley young man who will go 3 days without eating and yet be ever so positive, trusting His God; and the poor African woman trusting in God to heal:)
1. Harry and I have the blessing of serving alongside our family. We get to experience the work of Christ and rejoice right alongside those closest to us. We are very thankful to have such a great support system of co-workers who are also our family members!
2. We are thankful for the experience of a different culture. Seeing holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving through their eyes makes the season even more special.
3. We are very thankful for constantly seeing the Spirit of God before us. When you are working with the salvation of people’s souls you have the amazing experience of seeing the power of God daily. We are thankful that the Lord has chosen us to be ambassadors of this truth to many who have never heard.
Barb Sherman: (Tanzania)
- I am so thankful that God would use me and my family in ministering to the people of Tanzania. He is so good to us! What wonderful experiences we have had.
- Another thing that I am thankful for is for those that we have had a part in mentoring and teaching. It is so exciting to watch them as they minister faithfully for and to God.
- I am also thankful for the missionaries and other leaders who have served alongside of us. They are like family to us.
What are you thankful for about your walk with the Lord and what He is doing in your life?
Happy Thanksgiving from Grace Ministries International. Enjoy the holiday with family and friends and may your heart be full of thanksgiving to our gracious heavenly Father.