Monday, November 3, 2014

Could You Be My Next Teammate?


As I look forward to serving Jesus by investing in the men leading his church among the Bakoum people of Cameroon, I feel a deep sense of humility and excitement. Who is sufficient for such work? Who am I to take part in the King's expansion of his sovereign rule over the hearts of men? God is immeasurably kind and gracious. And as if this wasn't enough of a blessing, he has even given me a godly, faithful, like-minded family to partner with in the Dave & Stacey Hare and their 4 kids. But that's the extent of our team. Seven people. Three adults and four kids, all of us used to western amenities and used to enjoying a flourishing church, living within a stone's throw of the Cameroonian rainforest and seeking to serve a weak church and impact a people group of 13,000+ people. 

Now, God does amazing and impossible things, and he needs no outside resources to do them. He spoke creation into existence and authored the salvation of mankind before anything or anyone existed. He killed the warrior Goliath through the sling and stone of David the shepherd boy. He defeated thousands of Midianite soldiers with 300 Israelites. He defeated death when Christ rose from the dead. And he will finally and decisively destroy sin and Satan on the final Day. And in the meantime, the Lord Jesus Christ can and will build his church among all nations of the earth. He does not need you or me. But our triune God graciously invites, commands, and empowers his people to partner with him in advancing his kingdom at home and to the ends of the earth. 

God has designed man as interdependent, made to live in relation to and love him and our neighbor. We simply cannot exist in isolation from others and still thrive as humans. When we partner together in life and ministry, by God's design and with his blessing, we thrive in all aspects of life and experience greater success in our ventures. The sad reality is that missionaries leave behind life-giving, faith-sustaining fellowship and community to serve God in hard places. That's why having a sizable team to serve and fellowship with can make a significant difference in a missionary's spiritual health and ministry effectiveness. But my team consists of seven people, six of which are a part of one family. The Hares and I will be unable to meet most of the needs we will encounter every day in Cameroon. Led by God to focus on Bible translation (Hares) and discipleship (me), we will not be able to spend much time helping people get clean drinking water, treat a minor injury, or counsel those struggling with alcohol addiction or a life of prostitution. Also, unless God chooses to miraculously multiply our ministerial fruitfulness, having a small team will mean more years of labor before the Bakoum people have the whole counsel of God's Word in their heart language and more time passed before the Bakoum church is functioning as a self-sustaining, healthy, New Testament body of believers. And when circumstances like travel for ministry or furloughs and sickness inevitably arise, our small team will be stretched even thinner. So a larger team that is partnered together in life and ministry will, Lord willing, provide more resources to benefit the ministry team and the people we seek to serve.

This is where you may come in. What skills, knowledge, abilities, and gifts has God given you to serve him? Why not use them in Cameroon? No matter your
unique gifts and life circumstances, there's a good chance that you can join us in serving Christ by serving the Bakoum people in Cameroon. No gift is too small, no skill unusable. Whether you're able to provide basic medical care, help with Bible translation or addiction counseling, show others how to get clean drinking water, or raise your children and be a godly example to other parents, the Lord can use you as you are. 

Is God stirring you to consider ministering in Cameroon? If you have any interest at all, please contact me right now at riche.rice@worldteam.org.