I have just returned from my annual outreach to the Navajo Indians at the Northern Nation Navajo Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico. I have spent most of my adult life doing outreaches and mission trips. Sometimes I went as a participant under another ministry and sometimes I have led the trip or outreach. Missions trips are fun, being able to see new sights and experience a different culture, and they can be life changing not only for those who are the target of the ministry but also for the participants of the trip but we also need to realize that ministry is hard work. After all, Jesus said in His word, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38. Notice the word laborers. I have been on different outreaches where the people that came along didn’t want to labor but they wanted to spend most of the time vacationing. But Jesus said it is labor and Jesus also used the four letter word, work, when He said we must work while it is day because the night comes when no man can work. (John 9:4)
This year I brought 6 Ministry Academy students and one man from the Genesis program to Shiprock. Because of their hard work we literally saw thousands of Navajos ministered to and hundreds if not thousands pray to receive Christ. For about the first four hours that we were at our booth in the fairgrounds they bused in hundreds of Navajo kids and they came in like a flood. We gave them salvation bracelets, Gospel tracts and Jesus stickers but most importantly, because of the hard work of the people in our group, we were able to also witness to and pray the sinner’s prayer with hundreds of kids. God gave us supernatural strength to do this for those first few hours without much of a break. When we work hard for God He will give us the strength we require and times of rest when we need it. Thanks to Charles and Mary Hodge who came all the way from Houston, Texas to help us, we were able to take a break to see the Four Corners Monument and the large Shiprock rock formation up close. They also manned our booth at the fair as I ministered at the staff chapel service at Navajo Ministries and was on the KNMI morning radio program with the others of our group. During our breaks I would rest, pray and then God would supernaturally strengthen and energize me to do more outreach later in the day. So yes, missions trips and outreaches are a lot of work. Driving many hours, late nights, early mornings and giving out in ministry is a sacrifice in a lot of ways but it is also very rewarding and life changing.