This blog entry is one of a series of reflections from the CBFVA Mission Immersion Experience to Macau, China with Larry and Sarah Ballew. The following reflection was written by Mark Snipes, Minister to Youth and Young Adults at Central Baptist Church in Richmond, VA.
The importance of partnership
During CBFVA’s mission immersion experience to China, I had the pleasure of giving my testimony during worship at the Macau Baptist Church. After service concluded, I got into a conversation with the Pastor of the church who thanked me for my words and showed appreciation for our being in Macau.
As the conversation progressed, Pastor Chan told me that out of all the groups that have come from America during his time in China, we were the first group to ask their church to pray for our churches in the States.
It seems so simple, right? We are all servants in the same kingdom and would do well to pray for and encourage either other in the work of the Kingdom. But Pastor Chan said that he has always felt that mission teams were so worried about what they could offer us that they rarely stop to consider what the people of Macau could offer to them.
Mission is a two way street. For too long, many have viewed mission as “us” helping “them.” If we are true to scripture, there is no “them” because all of us make up the kingdom of God.
Larry and Sarah Ballew are CBF field personnel who have lived and worked in Macau for over sixteen years. Before coming to back to the states, the Ballews’ son Joshua (a student at George Mason University), was commissioned as a missionary to America. Can you imagine? Why would missionaries need to come here? There is a church at every corner, we have more ministers graduating seminary than we do churches, we have great evangelist and we send millions of volunteers on mission each year, right?
Mission is about partnership. Mission is about standing hand in hand with those in our community and in our world moving forward together in the name of Jesus. For too long, we have seen mission as us taking the good news to them. The problem with that model is that we neglect to see that God was already there at work long before we began planning our trip, and our job was to simply go and find God at work and be a part of it.
One of the stories that the Ballews told was about their commissioning service at Blacksburg Baptist. During this service, the church wrapped a rope around the Ballews. The minister reminded them of the words of missionary William Carey, “I will go as long as you remember to hold the rope.”
My hope is that we, as CBFVA, remember hold the rope for all of our field personnel. These faithful ministers need to know we are here for them both spiritually and financially. The Ballews have given their lives to minister to the people of Macau for 16 years and they need our support to continue their ministry. Please remember to pray for the Ballews and all the people of Macau.