Missions and Outreach
This is the testimony of my good friend and coworker, Alex. Which happens to be one of the most crazy, impactful, and unbelievable testimonies I have ever heard.
National Collection Week is the one week a year when the entire nation turns in their shoebox gifts to Samaritan’s Purse. This year that week is November 17-24. This is an exciting time of the year and the culmination of our volunteers’ hard work. Almost 9,000 Operation Christmas Child volunteers work hard all year long in anticipation for this moment. This year we expect over 8 million shoebox gifts to be turned in, processed, and given to over 8 million children around the world.
Want to serve? There’s still time!
What’s a shoebox and how can I pack one? Learn here at our website.
How can I find a drop off location? See here!
What is Operation Christmas Child? Watch the video below!
Ever wondered how to pack a shoebox? This video will tell you everything you need to know.
Reposted with permission from MissionsCatalyst.net
Dear Missions Guy and Gal,
I know you mean well and I love your passion, I really do. But I’ve got to tell you I’m starting to scan the crowd and drift left when I see you coming from the right. I like you and all. It’s just that your advocacy for the world is becoming a little strident. Your zeal’s starting to make me daydream of making you a missionary to a galaxy far, far away.
I don’t want to be too harsh here. But it’s late on Sunday, my football team lost today and I’m not happy with my sermon this morning. So I might use my current mood to get a few things off my chest. You may want take a couple aspirin right now and put on pads and a helmet.
Here goes… Here’s how you can be sure I’m never going to be mobilized for missions:
1. Present all your requests as though they were crises. Emergencies happen. I get it. But sometimes I think maybe you just didn’t think ahead. Or when your emergency 8500 miles away is competing with eight other emergencies within a stone’s throw of the church door, it’s hard for me to prioritize yours. Heck, it’s kind of tough just to listen to it. For added anti-impact, corner me with your crisis just before the service on Sunday morning!
2. Use jargon that I should probably know, but don’t. This makes me feel dumb. Which makes me get defensive. Which leads to saying snarky stuff I later regret. Yeah, and refer to people I don’t know, but don’t explain who they are.
3. By all means, go to my wife if you’re disappointed in how I’m responding to your requests.
4. Give me books I don’t ask for, the context for which I lack, and the content I’m not interested in. Do this monthly. Then ask me if I’ve read them. Heads up: If you ask me twice, I’ll give the books back to you. That way you’ll have them to give to your new pastor.
5. Leave me out of the process. Send me a support letter that you haven’t even signed, telling me you’re off to do something the Lord’s led you to do with another organization, when we haven’t even had one conversation with each other! When you’re actually in the decision process, keep it between you and your college crew.
6. Don’t pray for me, just give me more work to do. And if you do pray, really give it to God on my behalf. Ask him to change me or re-locate me.
7. Inundate me with information, but don’t ask me questions. Don’t ask how I’m holding up or what God’s saying to me lately. Let me pull back the curtain just a bit: I’ve got all the normal family issues anyone else has. And maybe a few more “pastor family” issues, I don’t know. Plus I’m juggling the good, the bad, and the ugly at church. This week that includes the death of a child – unexpected (aren’t they always?), two dear saints going into hospice, the unplanned pregnancy of an elder’s high school daughter, the need to terminate a staff member, a decision to repair or replace the roof, and preparing a sermon on trusting God. (I’m wondering if I can live it enough to preach it.) So I feel for the persecuted church in the horn of Africa, I really do. I cry for a million displaced Syrians. I just struggle to find the energy and focus to take action.
8. Don’t serve what we’re currently doing; just tell me how our church isn’t doing all it could. It’s hard for me to believe you’re willing to bleed on the foreign mission field when you won’t even get up 30 minutes early to help us set up chairs. And honestly, how familiar with our present ministry are you? God has opened amazing doors here in our community. I’m sure it’s not all he has in mind for us. At the same time, I don’t accept the feeling I get from you sometimes that ministry doesn’t count unless it’s a certain number of miles away from home.
9. Ask me if your missionary friend can speak to whole church. Then get that hurt look on your face when I question if he’s really qualified for that!
10. Ask me to go with you on a three-week-trip to the craziest parts of the world. (Me paying, of course!) Then that hurt look on your face again when I hesitate!
11. When you email me about the cool thing you’d like us to invest in, be sure to bad-mouth eight other similar things. This will feed my insecurity and make me wonder how you speak about me to your missions friends.
12. Tell me missions is what’s really on the heart of God. You and I both know I haven’t preached a missions series in two or three years. The implied distance between God’s heart and mine will be clear.
One last thing: Some of us see the giving records, you know. Are you really asking me to allocate church funds to missions when, as far as I can tell, you’re doing nothing to fund the church?
OK, this is more direct honesty than you usually get from me, but I thought you should know. And you should know this as well: None of these issues is forever. Any of them, in fact all of them, can start being different tomorrow morning. I hope they will.
P.S. If you really want to get me connected to the Muslim world, do this: Fly my wife and me to Turkey for a week’s vacation. Include a day and a half kicking around with your missionary friend there. Just a day and a half.
You live life and then you die. Some people are brave enough to make a change in the world. Some take the time to bring others along on the ride with them. Josh did both.
You can write volumes about Josh’s life and ministry. That’s not my purpose here. My purpose is to give you a glimpse into the man that I knew him to be. .
Josh recently passed away after a long battle with cancer. I met him after his battle had already begun. His voice was one of the first things to go. Most men would’ve been traumatized, depressed, and too beaten down to continue without their voice. Especially for someone like Josh. A big 6 foot 2 German who was an “in your face” preacher bringing the Gospel around the world. Lesser men would’ve called it quits. I would’ve called it quits. But that wasn’t Josh. He had too much living to do and too much family to do it with.
Josh and his wife, Arlene, have a long history of ministry. They were the first ones to expose me to what it was like to do ministry in the Middle East. They also introduced me to Priscilla, whom they knew since she was a little girl. This resulted in our marriage, our move back to Miami, my decision to major in International Relations for my undergrad and International Administration for my masters, and it resulted in our beautiful daughter, Abby. Sure, there were a lot of other factors. But I know this, without Josh and Arlene’s call to serve others in the Middle East, I never would’ve gone there to begin with.
If you look through the pictures I posted below you’ll see Josh in the center of the pictures, being the life of the party. You’ll see him smiling, playing around, playing jokes on people. You’ll see him without his voice, in between chemotherapy rounds. You’ll see him loving his wife and serving others the entire time.
I’m grateful to Josh for many things but one in specific. He chose to mentor those that were younger. Inter-generational leadership is a Biblical thing. Older people have a responsibility to mentor the younger. And younger people have a responsibility to be mentored by the older and in turn mentor the even younger. I’m sure there were times when Josh and Arlene got frustrated with us younger folks. We can be hard to deal with, but I’m glad they persevered! I’m also glad that they go out of their way to introduce younger people to what ministry is like around the world and what followers of Jesus Christ look like in the Middle East and abroad.
The pictures below don’t represent an exhaustive list of my relationship with him. Most of these were taken over a short period of time. It was during an exciting, life changing period for me. I’m glad that he took the time to invest in me and I’m honored to continue his legacy in any way I can.
This is the Facebook status of Josh’s wife, Arlene (unedited).
Josh peacefully ended this life’s journey 4:17AM, 08/20/14. The testimony of a steadfast, immovable man of faith and courage will not soon be forgotten. He has impacted everyone who knew or heard of him and will be greatly missed. But there is now more joy than sorrow in the memory of a ‘Legend’ who is now in the presence of his Lord. Josh was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania to Robert & Jeanne Hoffman, who moved to Miami, Florida when His life testament cannot be penned in a short account, but the fulfillment of his life’s purpose has been a subject of admiration literally from his Miami hometown to the Ends of the Earth. He invested passion in everything he did – but his investment in the lives of people from the Miami homeless to the Unreached peoples of the Earth has left an eternal legacy. In 1995 Josh and his wife Arlene answered a divine call to serve the Lord without geographical borders. Taking this call literally, he headed out in 1996 first to the Holy Land living in the Town of Bethlehem connecting with his heart to the people and culture for four years and then headed to Australia in 2000 where he completed A Biblical School of Studies in Canberra. His long battle with cancer started in January 2002 and clipped the wings of a determined Eagle but did not snuff out his passion for people. He continued serving peoples of the Earth through teaching, training, interceding and a faithful daily devotional, which ended 3 weeks before his passing. Cancer tried to defy his purpose but lost. Josh was victorious to the end! He defied every moment of the cancers, which ran marathons throughout his body; starting in his neck and throat and ended in the vital organs of his liver and kidneys. He entered Baptist Hospital West Kendall’s ER Tuesday after 1am and went home to his Lord before the breaking of dawn Wednesday 08/20 sleeping peacefully. His last evening was spent in a glorious celebration of praise and worship in a crowded hospital room where his family, friends and pastors embraced what was inevitable. A celebration of his life will start with a viewing at The Memorial PLan, 9800 Coral Way, Miami Florida 33165, Wed 08/27 11a-11p with a time of Reflection at 7p and a Memorial Home-going at Calvary Kendall 8/28 @11am. Please Do join us.
Lately everyone has been asking me exactly what Church Job Hunter is and my relationship to it.
Well, here’s the story. [Read more…] about Church Job Hunter