Last week I wrote about Andres Segovia, who works at living In Partnership With God. Andres served 4 summers at DL, and a summer in Venezuela at a camp begun by Deerfooter Peter McMillan, where he translated sections of the Deerfoot staff manual into Spanish – no challenge as Andres is a Mexican. Andres went to Camiri, where he became a grade school teacher in a Christian school for Bolivians. Son Dirk and I flew to Camiri where we spent several hours with Andres. God, through one of His own, provided us the plane/pilot – if you missed last week, read the story.
Andres met us at the plane which landed on the grass landing strip and took us to “his school”. The school was clean, full of children, and had only the very essential equipment/books with which to operate. Andres’ students knew we were coming, so when we arrived they all stood and sang several songs to us. They were excited, we were excited.
We then walked about a mile to a rushing river, perhaps 100’ wide, which we crossed on a cable suspension bridge – (Not for the timid!) to a farm that had been used, many years before, as a boarding school. When the farm was for sale, it was purchased by a missionary family. The small buildings were being restored while being used as a camp and for retreats.
We enjoyed the lunch Andres had prepared for us in his small, simply furnished apartment. He had prepared food he knew I enjoyed at DL, including carrot cake for dessert. As we left, Andres gave Dirk and me their camp’s T shirts, and a leather bread basket, which we continue to use. The pilot was waiting to fly us back over the mountains to Tarija.
The next year Deerfoot began sending the offering from one Sunday morning to the mission organization under which Andres was serving, to help with his missionary support. (This practice continues to this day.) Deerfoot also provided $3500 for the construction of a basketball court (still in use) at the farm/school/camp. Two summers later, Deerfoot enabled counselor Chad White to go to Camiri to be with Andres and run a “DL style” summer camp.
Recently, 11 years after my visit, I received an e-mail from Andres that was very difficult for him to send. Andres serves under a mission organization that believes their missionaries should be supported without the missionaries asking anyone for money – not even making their needs known. With great hesitation, Andres asked if I would support him with $20 per month. I could tell he was really hurting. When I questioned him, I learned that his financial support the previous month did not even cover his rent. Why? One reason was that the organization under which he was serving decided he did not qualify as one of their missionaries because he was not an American citizen. The mission would still pass on contributions specifically made for Andres support, but he would no longer receive any portion of the general mission contributions the organization received. Another reason – his need was unknown, at least by me. We have e-mailed frequently. I have enjoyed his blog (http://sgv17.wordpress.com), but never thought to ask if his mission support was solid.
The Apostle Paul found himself in a similar situation. “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. Philippians 4:14-18
Andres, like Paul, did what Jesus asked the disciples to do: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Please do not focus on Andres support. Rather ask yourself “Who do I know that has gone to ‘all nations’ to make disciples, as Jesus told us to do?” If we are “In Partnership With God”, could this mean we should partner with them in ministry? Deerfooter’s go! So do many others! We should be either goers or senders. Our lives will be enriched – other lives will be changed through learning and receiving the Good News. They, too, will become disciples!