Jesus, Hurricane Joaquin, and Stint
By Shane on in Blog with 2 Comments
I’ve obviously taken some time offline lately – which explains why I haven’t updated my blog for a while. Moving from Puerto Rico, back to San Diego, then to Florida, and helping a family of six (not including the dog and cat) settle into new schools, etc. has been quite a season for us.
In the midst of all this transition we have seen God work. Read below.
We recently had a 14 straight days of great surf here in Florida. Hurricane Joaquin spun off our coast with 125+ mph winds and blessed us with days and days of waves. During this stretch of surf I met some guys that I’ve surfed with a few times now. One guy was dumbfounded that I would move my family of six from the capital of the surfing world – Southern California – to Florida. “Why?”
The answer to that question is easy. When I think of the answer I think of 400 people who have recently inspired me.
In August I had the privilege to be with young missionaries who are leaving on one-year “Stint” teams around the world. It was a great week of teaching and training those who will be going to the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
These are 400 recent college grads going on 75 teams to 60 cities in 40 nations. Their purpose is to point students on university campuses around the world towards Jesus Christ, to help others understand how they can know and grow in a relationship with God. That is about the coolest thing you will read today. It is no doubt the coolest thing I will write today.
As one who recently went on Stint for two years to Latin America with my family, and having worked as a staff member with Cru for 23 years, I was reminded of why we do what we do. As I hear from these young people around the world this is what they tell me when I ask them this question: Why did you go on Stint?
Reason #1: Because God’s Heart is for Every Nation to Be Blessed and Healed
The Bible is a massive book full of 66 other books. Some are short and some are long. Some are full of poetry and some are full of history. Some are written in Greek, and some are written in Hebrew (and a little Aramaic too).
With all of its diversity the Bible has one main theme: God’s love for every nation, every tribe and tongue, every person.
In Genesis 12 God introduces the main theme of the Bible,
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
This theme of God’s desire to bless (another word for bless is “heal”) is woven throughout the entire Old and New Testaments. It is the main story and mentioned over and over again from the beginning of Genesis through the book of Revelation.
God has gripped our hearts with this theme. We want anyone and everyone to experience God’s love and forgiveness that we can know through a relationship with him. We have been blessed by God and we desire to bless others.
Reason #2: Because Jesus Changes Lives
When I was in college I learned so much about God’s love for me. He began to change me. He gave me purpose. He gave me His plan for my life. This plan, I learned throughout my college experience, is to simply walk with him throughout my life. His plan is to abide and obey in him brought me joy and continues each and every day.
My family and I, and our Stinters serving around the world, want young people to understand this—that Jesus changes lives and gives us purpose and meaning. His love changes us.
Reason #3: Because God Has Always Used Young People to Grow the Church
There is no group of people who have impacted the Church, and expanded Christianity, like young people. From the beginning of history until present time God has used young people, and especially university students, to help others understand his love and forgiveness.
Josiah, Jeremiah, David, Esther, and Ruth in the Old Testament. Mary, Peter, the disciples of Jesus and John-Mark in the New Testament. These were just a few of the many folks in the Bible who made huge impacts in helping the nations understand God’s love. What do they have in common? They were all teenagers. They were all young people.
Today is no different as God uses young people to help others understand how they can know and grow in a personal relationship with God. These 400 Stinters model this.
There are also many examples from the last several hundred years of young people who have changed the world through sharing Jesus. More on that in another blog post.
If you are on Stint somewhere around the world I hope these reasons encourage you, and please know how much I admire and am praying for you. If you are considering going on Stint perhaps these reasons will compel you to consider joining us. Please pray for these young Stinters around the world, as they help students understand how they can experience a personal relationship with the living God.
I’m looking forward to sharing more of how God is using these young people. Stay tuned!