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“Imagine” is a song written by John Lennon. In it, he encourages us to dream about a world without absolutes, divisions or possessions. The hope, it seems, is that this idea might somehow motivate us to make this world a better place. It’s a nice thought, and a pretty catchy song as well, evidenced by the fact its popularity has bridged at least three generations. Nevertheless, the reality that the three generations who have known the song have experienced proves that the song’s premise is flawed. To make the world a better place, we must move beyond our imagination and the self righteous criticism of that which we deem to be the problem. True, vision is required, but we must have a firm grip on reality while we work to put thought to action. Ironically, we find the the ones who are doing just that are the ones that “Imagine” criticizes the most.


This past week, in the town of Sucua, Ecuador, I had a chance to meet with fellow missionaries, representatives of true religion, all of whom are committed to not simply making the world a better place, but to its very transformation. There, we took part in the first ever A/G Latin American/Caribbean Consultation on Unreached People Groups (UPGs)

The UPG Consultation was an opportunity to hear about what was taking place, assess what has yet to be done, and to pray and strategize to accomplish the Unfinished Task.  There was a sense of celebration as we saw what was being gained through missionaries Joil and Leah Marbut, who have spearheaded an effort to reach the Shuars of southern Ecuador. There was a sense of urgency as we heard of the over 400 different people groups comprised of over 16 million individuals without an adequate witness of hope, and there was a sense of determination as we committed ourselves in prayer and purpose to reaching those groups.


There was no avoiding the historical significance of the event either. Taking place on the centennial anniversary of the General Council of the Assemblies of God that would establish that organization as the proponent of “the greatest evangelism that the world has ever seen,” it was fitting that we were reevaluating our mission to accomplish that goal. In the heart of the country where, almost 60 years prior, five missionaries gave their lives to reach the isolated and violent Huaoroni, known as the Auca (savage) people, it was appropriate that we would dedicate anew our lives to continuing that work.

Still, as we left that place, we knew that what was accomplished there would not be enough. As we said our goodbyes and made our way by car, bus, or plane to our adoptive homes, we turned ourselves to work– to reach, to plant, to touch, and to equip lives in order to fulfill our role in the extension of the Kingdom of God. We had met to gain perspective, but we go to wholeheartedly engage with the One who is able to do more than we could ask or imagine through our coordinated effort.

Interested in seeing more? Take a look at our gallery of photos from the event.

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Here on the mission field, we’ve come to recognize that it is important to take advantage opportunities. Take the grocery store for example. Certain staples that we depended on in the US, like applesauce, make appearances for a limited time only. So, when we saw the display of “puré de manzana” at the local Wal-Mart, we bought 5 jars.

Of course, taking advantage of opportunities requires a certain amount of preparation. First, you have to be looking for them. If we had decided that we would never see applesauce again, it’s possible that we would have passed by the display without even noticing. Second, you have to be able to make the investment. A hand-to-mouth style of living doesn’t allow wiggle room for large purchases, so without the needed cash we would have had to pass up the sweet appley goodness.

Ministry can be the same way. Opportunities arise at time when we least expect it. Take this week: a casual dinner conversation turned to a daughter in need; a meeting the next day touched on the subject of a marriage in trouble; and a greeting after service brought with it a story of sickness and family strife. How would we view each situation? Would we see them as opportunities to apply the gospel we preach and teach or would they be taken as distractions in our otherwise busy day?

I’m happy to say that each situation that I mentioned we took the opportunity to minister. A daughter was counseled, a marriage encouraged, and a fellow believer prayed for. Still, I wonder, did we see all of the opportunities? Was God working in other ways that we weren’t prepared for? Or perhaps we simply weren’t willing to invest?

Paul asks the Ephesians for prayer in chapter 6 verses 18-20 that he might boldly speak the gospel. I believe that this petition not only has to do with attitude but also with availability. Paul wrote his letter in chains. He did not have the freedom to travel and to teach. It would have been easy to say that others now need to take up the work, that now was his time to rest. He could have closed himself off from the world, and yet he asked for prayer so that he would “open his mouth” to share.

We too ask for that prayer, that we who have been called as ambassadors of Christ will take advantage of every opportunity available to us. That we will be able to recognize how God is working in each situation and align ourselves to cooperate with Him as He carries out his mission here in Mexico and around the world.

Oh, and if you’ve got the scoop on where to find some Twizzlers here in Mérida we’re ready to buy.