I believe it’s important to be all things to all people at all times. Paul was a Roman to the Romans, a gentile to the gentiles, etc. SO I try to do that in Belize. Now it does have its limitations. I don’t partake in drug use with the guys I play basketball with but I do hang out with them. Anyway, here’s a post on how I try to become all things to all people….or maybe it’s me trying to justify my somewhat embarrassing guilty pleasures.
SO I think it’s incredibly important to have some type of useful, all-purpose talent. I don’t have many…. let’s rephrase I don’t have any. All the “useful, all-purpose talents” I developed in college well weren’t God-honoring as time it takes to shot-gun a beer, or hurricane, or jager-bombs, aren’t useful in the mission field. Praise God by the way for redeeming this wretched sinner out of the mire and placing my feet firmly on his ground. God currently uses my craziness for His Glory and not the enemy’s debauchery.
Anyway, I always admire people that can juggle, or play the guitar, or are really awesome a ping pong….wait a minute…this sounds like my roommate Andy.
Note: There’s this scene in Tombstone where Doc Holiday realizes that Johnny Ringo is an “educated man.” Doc’s response in “now I really hate him.” Sometimes I have that feeling about Andy…but I digress.
As I have become more comfortable in who I am, I have started to embrace and be vocal about my particular skills and abilities. Examples? I have an incredible auditory memory. Movie quotes, songs, poetry, anything that is spoken I can memorize with a couple of hearing. Unfortunately for me, this only manifested itself in that I can quote the entirety of Forrest Gump, Tombstone, Friday, and Dazed and Confused. Not useful.
In addition I know the lyrics to virtually any rap, R&B, hip-hop, gangsta rap song from about 1992 (Kriss Kross “Jump”) to 2004 (Usher / Lil’ John “Yeah”). AND I now know any Disney princess song with my most recent addition the entire soundtrack of Frozen. Now none of that is Earth Shattering but it is a useful trait. In fact, to be completely honest, I LOVE RAP MUSIC. Seriously, Tupac / Jay Z / Ludacris / Dre are my Mt. Rushmore of Rap and as I work on the logistics to the summer mission trips, I am often listening to one those. All things to all people – Wednesday at the Market in Belize City, I was strolling through and heard a Tupac song I know and love. I stopped bounced to the beat the only way my non-rhythmic self can and recited all the lyrics. The worker was amazed, gave me an approving nod, and we chatted for a bit. Tupac to the Gospel. All things to all people – right?
Other examples: I now follow the NBA religiously AND WWE. I know who is in what series and who the champs are. I know the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak is over and I know that the Spurs are kicking tail in the Western Conference Finals (or they were). I do this to relate to people I meet in Belize. Kids here in Belize are obsessed with WWE so we can have conversations about Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena and who is worse Batista or Bray Wyatt. All things to all people.
On the court, about the only relevant conversation that I can contribute is the stats and highlights from the NBA playoffs. So between games or hanging around, we are often touting the highlights of our favorite players. All things to all people.
The last guilty pleasure I have is watching The Bachelor or Bachelorette. I love it. It’s high comedy and entertainment to me. One summer while preparing for missions, I fasted from TV, except for the Bachelorette. I am still trying to figure out how this allows me to be all things to all people in Belize. When God reveals that, I will be the first to share it! Until then my brain is full and hurts and sometime needs dessert or maybe just a pop-tart.
This Spring our 25 teams that served all over Belize were all things to all people. There are so many stories of victory, healing, deliverance, that I am unable to recap them all. With permission from others, I have shared some of the most dynamic stories as a celebration of this past Spring season.
Just One Story – Chains Broken
We had been praying for a long time as an organization for a team to serve on Caye Caulker (popular tourist destination island, off Belize’s mainland).
Each team we have serve in Belize goes to Caye Caulker for a day of rest and relaxation. But we have never had a team serve on the island for a whole week. We knew there was need but teams weren’t on board with serving there. It was too touristy.
Last year in Belize, there was a couple of divers on a trip to Belize. They desired to get a group together to serve a community which gives of themselves to serve dive groups. Caye Caulker was the perfect place.
They signed up and we as an organization began to pray for a partnership that would be perfect. After two closed doors and no peace from the Lord, I attended Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training in October and met a church planter who was sharing the desperate need for ministry on Caye Caulker. He has a church there pastored by Pastor O.
This church planter began to share with us the Central American Immigrants who have come to Caye Caulker in hopes of tourist jobs but end up as sex slaves in the seedy night-life on the island. We knew this was the partner.
The trip was one of the most challenging, darkest, and most rewarding we have ever experienced as an organization.
The local church took the team literally into bars to play pool with drug dealers. In the same bar, the team spent their fundraised ministry money to “purchase girls’ time” from their pimp so the church could share with the girls the Hope of Jesus. In the same bar, the team, the local church, and the dealers, pimps, and prostitutes circled around the pool table and prayed for the Lord to break them free from the chains that bind them. Truly the Lord was breaking every chain.
And that’s just one story.
We have seen God perform miracles. Barriers broken, blind receiving sight, all things to all people has resulted in God showing up and showing off.
Those stories don’t even touch the most dynamic life-change that is happening as over 50 Belizean’s surrendered their lives to Christ this Spring and an others took their next steps of faith into Baptism. In fact, this past Monday, we attended a Baptism event with Pastor Ed’s church.
Our teams have become all things to all people in Belize and the Lord is rewarding those efforts. But it’s just the beginning. This summer as we have 40+ teams serving we know the best is yet to come. Praise God!
Praises / Prayer Requests:
- Praise – Life-change – We attended a Baptism celebration with Pastor Ed’s church this past weekend. 7 people were baptized! Praise God. Two were an older couple. The woman had been wanting to get baptized last year but was fearful of her husband’s reaction. This year they BOTH were baptized TOGETHER.
- Praise – No denominational lines – We were fortunate enough to participate in Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training this past weekend. Attending there were 180+ people, representing 4 countries, 70+ churches, and over 10,000 kids. It was a true blessing worshiping to God of this City arm in arm. There was no man / woman, no racial lines, no denominational lines. We were all God’s children, believing God to change Central America…one child at a time.
- Praise – ministry update. I was able to stop and talk to our first team of the summer today. In speaking to the group leader about ministry the last night, he said “Last night was one of the best nights of ministry….ever!” Praise God for the divine appointments He is knitting together.
- Praise – Basketball league is over. BUT during our last game, I caught the fire! I hit the (6) 3-pointers! 27 points! It was awesome! And created some more people “remembering” who I am in the village!
- Trip Starts tomorrow – I am leading a trip to our church starting tomorrow. Please be in prayer that this trip can help the church reach out to the surrounding community.
- Women’s Bible Study – Amy and Ms. Kimbell are starting a woman’s bible study after this trip is over. Pray for follow through and pray for fruit.
- Endurance – it’s the first trip of the summer for me. Pray for endurance and patience for Amy.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and do my research for the Bachelorette March Madness-style bracket I have printed. All things to all people…..right?