Missions Launch

Helping those who help the world

It’s Summer Missions Time – even on Twitter

by Melissa Chang |

Missions Twitter

let's go
Photo by smoobs

It’s about that time again to start seriously thinking about summer mission trips. People are starting to pray, apply, and raise support. Here are a few people on Twitter, who are in the process now. We wish them all the best of luck as they follow the command to “Go.”

geohil: Taxes are done and mission trip letters are mailed. A very productive night in the Hillman house.

myklm3: Just submitted my application for a mission trip to Kenya!

wattzai: I’m going to China for a mission trip

sunsetisrising: Signing all my support letters for a mission trip, my hand is gonna fall off. 72 more to go!

agropinion: Trying to figure out a way to go to Burma on a mission trip

anthonytrevino: It’s a little late 4 this, but I am gonna be headin to WalMart pretty soon to buy stuff for my mission trip

rcfnick: Still working hard to raise support for my mission trip to Honduras.

lapetite: Raised 101% of my support for the Amazon Mission Trip in May! God is good all the time!!

gregoryrd: Going to the Philippines in May for a mission trip; can’t wait!  

GoodMornMrDyer: trying to plan a domestic violence/human trafficking mission trip in August this summer.

noellebellphoto: is praying for direction as to whether or not her husband and I will be going on a missions trip to Israel this fall.

SandyHousley: I am praying about a Brazil missions trip with WVC and Joni and Friends to distribute wheelchairs in September!

vannahmd: So pumped up for the missions trip.. I wanna start packin now!!!

EisleyJacobs: @cvaldezmiller God is sending me to Ethiopia on a Missions trip and it’s falling together soo perfectly. I am just amazed!

MorganEmerson: I wanna go on a missions trip!!

kermie209: needs YOUR prayers – Africa missions trip 2010, YES or NO, LORD? YOUR WILL be done…not MINE…please help!!! =)

bellcontracting: Piano must sell to earn money for Missions trip

KelseyGulledge: just received my acceptance letter for a mission trip to Haiti ! so excited/nervous!

torzaworz: IM GOING TO CAMBODIA AND THAILAND ON A MISSIONS TRIP un freaking believable !

How to Find a Missions Trip

by Carol Grace |

Picking a Trip, Short-Term Missions

shorttermmissions.com

Think you want to go on a missions trip but don’t know where to start? There is a great tool that you can use to find the perfect trip.

ShortTermMissions.com has created a search engine of over 1000 trips through 80 different agencies. You can search trips for individuals, groups, or families. You can also search by region or country, as well as length of stay and time of trip. Another really cool feature of this tool is that you can even search by ministry. You can choose construction, teaching, preaching, evangelism, admin, orphanages, and a lot more.

A couple of years ago, a bunch of my friends decided that we should go on a trip together during the summer. We could only go for a couple of weeks and had no idea where to go or even what might be out there. Luckily, we found this great tool and ended up going on one of the most life changing trips delivering the Jesus Film in Thailand.

We narrowed our search down to 2 week long summer trips between June and August doing evangelism. Once we found our trip, we knew it was the one for us. With so many organizations and trips listed, you are also sure to find a trip that is right for you.

Click the image below to start your search.

short term missions search

Famous Missionary to Texas: Antonio Margil

by Carol Grace |

Famous Missionaries, Mexico, Native America, North America

margil paintingThere is nothing I like better than finding a new famous missionary that I have never heard of. In this case, it’s even more amazing, because Antonio Margil was a famous missionary to Texas – my home state.

Antonio Margil was the real deal and seriously devoted to his work. Originally from Spain, Margil volunteered to travel to the “new world” to become a missionary to the native indians and settlers in 1683. Antonio was actually a friar since the age of 15 and had devoted his life to God ever since. Once in the new world, Antonio quickly became a legend. He faced death, torture, persecution, hardship, starvation, illness and much more, yet he founded 3 colleges, hundreds of missions, and saw thousands and thousands of converts. In Gautemala alone, it is said he saw 80,000 come to faith.

Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus was extrememly devoted. He gave himself the nickname “Nothingness Itself” and even signed his letters that way. This barefoot friar refused to wear shoes and insisted on walking everywhere. He walked to all the scattered regions that he served, from Costa Rica to Texas, and it has been estimated that he walked eighty thousand miles in the New World.

“To enjoy God there is an eternity given to us; but to perform some service for God and to do some good to our brethren, the time for that is very short.”

Along his journeys with his fellow friars, he would preach to whomever he met, teaching and establishing missions. He faced resistance, attacks, sickness, and persecution, yet his perseverance boldness and kindness became legend.

It is said that one Terrabi chief said he would kill him if he came. Margil immediately went to his village where they were preparing a war party and went right into the chief’s abode. The chief upon seeing this rather small bold man, laid down his weapons and welcomed him.

His reputation for discovering false idols was such that in many Indian villages, when word would arrive that Fr. Antonio Margil was coming, they would gather ahead of time their false gods for him to burn.

On one famous mission, they went along the border of Mexico among the Lacandons. When the missionaries arrived there even their guides abandoned them, fearful of these indians refuted to be cannibals. Entering their territory, the missionaries were captured, stripped, bound to trees and commanded with the threat of death to worship the village idols. They refused and preached the Gospel instead. For the three days the men were kept tied up and tortured. When the Indians saw that Antonio and his fellow friars seemed to stay cheerful and fearless, they thought they posessed some sort of power. They eventually released them and commanded never to return. Of course, they eventually did return and saw many converts.

Another thing Antonio was famous for was his kindness. He often ploughed and sowed the native indian’s gardens, helping them with their work and collecting fruits, nuts and other products for them.

He also gained much fame for his reported miracles. There are several accounts of the friar drawing water from a rock in Nacogdoches, reading people’s hearts, predicting the future, healing, walking on water, and even showing up in 2 places at once. These stories of miracles only increased his legend and fame among the Indian people and his fellow Spaniards.

Although he told a friend that he wanted to die in Texas in a place he loved with the Indian people he loved, he actually died in Mexico City after 43 years of missionary service at the age of 69. To this day, Antonio is being considered for sainthood. If he receives it, he will be Texas’ first saint.

To read more, visit this site or this site.

Norway: Etiquette, Customs, Facts and Vital Information

by Melissa Chang |

Europe, Norway

Town in Norway
Photo by ezioman

FACTS & STATS

Norway mapLocation: Northern Europe, sharing borders with Finland, Sweden, and Russia with the North Sea on the west and the Barent Sea to the north.

Capital: Oslo.

Climate: Temperate along the coast and colder in the interiors.

Population: 4,660,539 as of July 2009. There are no Norwegians living below the poverty line and the unemployment rate is just about 2%. The Norwegian economy is on the right track with the government controlling vital areas such as the petroleum industry. Rich resources such as hydropower, forestry, minerals, and deep sea fishing bring in considerable revenue for the State.

viking shipEthnic Make-up: Norwegian 94.4% including about 60,000 indigenous Sami, Others 5.6%.

Religions: Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, Muslim 1.8%, Others 10.5%. The Constitution grants freedom to practise all religions in Norway. Proselytisers of Christianity and Islam work freely within the country.

Language: Bokmal Norwegian, Nynorsk Norwegian, Sami, and Finnish.

Government: Constitutional Monarchy.

Travel Issues: Norway is part of the Schengen co-operation and so travellers from other Schengen countries can enter Norway without a passport as long as they have satisfactory identification. Croatian citizens do not need a visa to enter Norway. All others need a valid passport, visa, and onward or return travel documents.

Health & Safety: Norway has excellent health standards no travel warnings exist for travelling to the country. However, it might be good thinking to take a tetanus shot and flu shot and take precautions against Hepatitis A. 

Cascading Ice in Norway

SOCIETY & CULTURE

Nightlife in OsloThe People

The Norwegian population consists mainly of the Nordic people and the indigenous Sami people. Though relations between the two have historically been not very smooth, they co-exist peacefully in these modern times. Recently Norway has seen fit to take in immigrants and asylum seekers from other parts of the world and this makes up about 6% of the total population. most of these immigrants come from Sweden, Denmark, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

Norway PortThe Religion

The Church of Norway is the State religion and has the highest percentage of adherents. Other smaller denominations have their own followers and many are engaged actively in the spreading of their brand of Christianity. The government has faced issues regarding the wearing of the Muslim women’s dress, Hijab, in public places inviting protests from many quarters.

Role of Family

Norwegian families are nuclear and it is not considered unusual for partners to have children without marriage. Young folks fall in love and set up family units according to their wishes with or without formal marriages. 

Ancestors

Norwegians treat their ancestors with cordiality but are not particularly sentimental or attached to them.

norway sheepRecreational Activities

All modern recreational activities that you would expect in any western country will be found in Norway. Norwegians love the great outdoors and have a number of parks and gardens to make the best of what little sunlight they get.

Anything else important for this culture

Norwegians enjoy an excellent standard of life and are simple, practical people who are not entirely given up to consumerism or pointless extravagance. A striking feature of Norwegian society is that children as young as 13 years are allowed to drink alcohol, although with 22% proof. Only 20 year olds are permitted to purchase stronger drinks.

Bergen, Norway
Photo by JRFoto

ETIQUETTE & CUSTOMS

historical church in norwayMeetings & Greetings

Meetings are initiated as in any western culture with a firm handshake for both men and women with a short exchange of pleasantries. First names are exchanged right at the beginning during introductions. However, it would be wise to be invited to do so by your host. 

Courtesy

Norwegians value their ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’ just as anybody else. They are generally soft-spoken and well-mannered and rarely given to show of temper or disagreements. Humility and broadmindedness mark their attitudes to others. This is endorsed in the Jante Law which perfectly sums up the Norwegian attitude.

norway trollGift Giving

Gift giving is usual for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. If you are invited to a Norwegian home, it would be a nice gesture to bring along some expensive wine, flowers, or chocolates for the hostess. Gifts are opened right away.

Dress Code

Western attire is the norm and the degree of formality depends on the occasion. However, Norwegians do not take kindly to dressing down in tattered clothes and wearing dusty shoes even at the most casual affairs. Business attire leans to the darker shades and classic cuts. 

Dining Etiquette

norway grass roofIf invited to dinner, be punctual. Ensure you have the right dress code. The fork goes in the left hand and the knife in the right. Even sandwiches may be eaten with cutlery. To signal you’ve had enough, place your cutlery face down and crosswise across your plate. Beer is never used to toast. At the end of the meal you may offer help to clean up. Before leaving, invite your hosts for a dinner at your place.

Visiting a home

If invited to visit a Norwegian home, arrive on the dot. Dress formally and have a gift for the hostess in the form of flowers, candy, or wine, well wrapped. If gifting flowers, avoid carnations, lilies, or any white flowers as these are used at funerals.  Norwegians do not discuss business at the dinner table, so refrain from bringing up such topics. 

Communication Style

Norwegians are friendly, uncomplicated people and quite informal in their communication. They always show genuine interest and give you undivided attention even if you’re discussing the weather. It is common to have long gaps in conversation without any urgent need to cover the gaps. Interrupting someone mid-conversation is considered extremely rude. Norwegians like their personal space and so maintain arms length when conversing. 

fjord

Dos and Don’ts

Though informal in nature, Norwegians like to keep dining and other such occasions quite formal. They make every attempt to be politically right in their conversations and you should do the same. Bragging or sounding off on personal achievements are looked down upon and will definitely lower you in their eyes. Women enjoy equal rights in society and in the work place and make very good negotiators; do not take them lightly or make sexist jokes. Waving your index finger and even pointing at someone with it is considered rude and of course, so is the use of the middle finger. The possession, use, and trafficking of drugs invites long prison sentences and heavy fines if found guilty.

Sheep photo by Ola Wiberg
Troll photo weisserstier
Ship photo by Jame Cridland
Port photo by jaybergesen
Church photo by zoetnet

Letter from an Indian Pastor

by Melissa Chang |

India, Stories from the Field

greetingsfromindia

Dear Missions Launch,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As you have asked about me, I want to share a small testimony of myself.

I came from a Hindu Religion Background, who worshipped idols and deamons. I am the only son to my Mother and I have no brothers and sisters.

In this worldly life I was enjoying all the evil things in my life, and one day (in the year 1992) I was fedup with all these thing in my life and decided to commit suicide. In that time a believer of Jesus Christ preached to me the Gospel of Lord Jesus, and in the evening of the same day he showed a film made on Jesus Christ named DAYASAGARA. As I was seeing the film I saw Jesus getting nailed for the sins made by us, and at the same time I confessed all my sins and accepted him as my Saviour and decided to live for Him.
After some days growing in Christ and in His word I got baptized on 10/03/1992. The Lord called me for His service when I was in prayer. He said:

“Do not make anything for yourself in this world but hope for the reward in the Heaven”

Then I came to know that if I win souls for His Kingdom I will get a greater reward in Heaven. At this time of calling I was just 15 yrs old.

A preacher told that he will take me to a Bible college and took me to a place where many of them were distributing the literatures of Jesus and showing the films based on Jesus but not to Bible college. Glory be to God that He used me mightily there for 3 years. later in 1995-1996 I got an oppurtunity to study in a Bible college. I completed my Bible College and I was praying for which place I shoud go to preach the gospel, and I was praying that it should be a place where the word of God has not yet been recieved. Then God guided me through His visions to go to Holenarsipura in 1997.

When I came to this place not even a single home was available for me to stay but there was a small congregation of believers. I went to them to ask for help to preach the gospel but they created a oppositional environment for me in such a way that I will not get any chance to preach the gospel there. So I went back to my hometown and prayed with fasting for this place to be reached by God and to get a rented home for me to stay in this place. Then God said to Me that “Human is equal to a piece of grass why are you afraid of him?” These words encouraged me a lot and I decided that it will be for His sake if I live, and if I die it will be for His sake. And keeping faith on Him I packed all my luggage and went to Holenarsipura.

By His Grace and Mercy it has been 13 years I am serving  Him in this place in spite of many struggles and problems. God has increased by ministry and there is a congregation of (400-500) rural people who came to know JESUS in this place. God has led us so gracefully that we have been able to heal devil spirits and bondages by His power and many are healed.

We also run a Sunday school which helps us in making children equipped in Jesus Christ. The Lord has also helped us in conducting women fellowship in which every women is helped by the word of God and has been able to preach a few things about God and lead others to Jesus Christ. Also we are able to provide food to some beggers and poor in our area by His grace.

By the help of God and  we have a land to build a church. In it we need a church to be built of around 8000 sq ft area and we are praying for that.

So do please pray for our ministry and for the church building. It would be helpful to us a lot that we will be introduced to your readers and they can pray for us.

Note: I am sending some photos of the Congregation gathered in a prayer meeting, Sunday school children, and baptisms.

I will always keep praying for you and for you ministry.

Please pray for My ministry and for My Family.

Your prayers are very precious for us.

Your Brother

Pr.Vasanth

baptism in India

vasanth in prayer

Indian baptism

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