Mission Visit Group
June 16, 2015
“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” –Mark 16:15, NLT
The first mission group to visit the Wind River Indian Baptist Church has come and gone. They cleaned, mowed, painted, repaired, and met with people. They learned some about the history of the people on the reservation, and experienced a little of a different culture. They left leaving the church and grounds looking a little better. Hopefully they left knowing more about the people of the community, and understanding themselves a little bit better.
That is the challenge when groups come. We appreciate the work and ministry they perform. We try to give them a positive experience. But we also hope that as they interact with other cultures (there are two cultures on the Wind River Indian Reservation) that they will grow spiritually. We hope to take people out of their comfort zones, so they learn to rely on God.
Whenever we operate within our comfort zone, we rarely rely completely on God. We know what to do. We are competent in that space. God often has to push us out of our comfort zone for us to grow spiritually. Outside of our comfort, we feel far less competent. Our routines are disrupted. We are forced to try new things, act out of thought instead of habit, and establish new competencies. In this process, we are open to talking to God, and listening to God, for we do not know what God is teaching us without listening. We need God to help us when we are in new places, situations, experiences, and with new people. We cannot rely completely on what we already know to us, so we are challenged to rely on God.
As we accept the challenge to move out of our comfort zone, we learn. We learn more about God’s love and grace. We learn more about compassion. We learn to see ourselves and our world a little differently. On Wind River Indian Reservation, we see ourselves from the perspective of 2 distinct cultures and histories. We understand better what we can do to help each group as we listen to the stories of the people. We understand possibilities as God urges us and instructs.
And, in the end, hopefully we see our own piece of the world in new ways. Perhaps we listen better to others, and to God, when we return to what was familiar and comfortable. The hope is that all of the groups will return home a continuing sense of discomfort and unease, so that each one can hear God calling them to reach out in their own context and community.
(Pam & Scott)
Reverend Scott Engelhart
First Baptist Church of Lander &
Wind River Indian Baptist Church