SNAPSHOTS OF DISCIPLESHIP
by Jason Janus and Paul Collins
To learn more about how your church or youth group can help a mission church, visit www.homemisions.net.
Destination Virginia: Preparing
for God’s Mission
By Jason Janus
AT THE NATIONAL CONVENTION in Louisville, Kentucky, Pastor Austin met Paul Collins, missionary to Harrisonburg, Virginia. As they discussed the work Paul and his family had begun, the two men discovered a similar heart for missions and a friendship developed. After the convention, Pastor Allan Austin and I decided that a mission trip would instill in our students a vision for missions. The trip was the church’s first experience of the kind.
I shared our burden with Paul, and we discussed what our youth group could offer. After the conversation, I asked our group to start praying that God would use us in a mighty way. Little did I know that God had already begun preparing the way.
Earlier in the year our youth group accepted the responsibility of conducting a church service. The young people were responsible for the welcome, music, ushering, testimonies, and preaching. We studied the Romans Road, One Verse Evangelism, and other forms of witnessing. We learned about other religions and how to share Christ with those ensnared by them. Through the studies I saw the heart of our students—how much they longed to tell others about Jesus. We participated in Operation Saturation, inviting surrounding neighborhoods to an upcoming Vacation Bible School in the New Bern area. God has a way of preparing us for the tasks He has for us; sometimes we do not even recognize the preparation. The Lord never ceases to amaze me.
Preparation continued as Pastor Austin, Johnny Stevenson (part of the men’s ministry team), and I went to visit with Paul and scope out the area. The trip was a great success, and we all were excited.
The youth group meanwhile spent many hours praying about the trip. To better prepare, we started a twelve-week course titled, “Before You Pack Your Bag Prepare Your heart,” by Cindy Judge. This great study prepared us spiritually for what lay ahead. We prepared music and planned the services that would take place. Stephen Nelson and I spent many hours working on the message God laid on his heart for the Thursday night service. Jackson Watts, our summer intern, brought the devotions. After practice and prayer, we found ourselves on the way to Harrisonburg, and the excitement continued to build.
About the Writer: Jason Janus, a graduate of Free Will Baptist Bible College, is youth pastor at Sherwood Forest FWB Church in New Bern, NC.
HEAVEN SENT MISSIONARIES
By Paul Collins
WHAT A GREAT SUMMER! In the past, we have had groups come and help us, but we’ve never had groups in two consecutive weeks until the past summer. The results were wonderful, and our people were blessed in so many ways!
At the request of Sherwood Forest FWB Church, my daughter Hannah and I took a six-hour trip to North Carolina immediately following our morning service. We arrived at the church in New Bern five minutes before the Sunday evening service. We told the church about our mission field and met the church family. I knew parents would have questions, and I felt that it was important to put their minds at ease. I was pleased to hear the youth group had been preparing faithfully for their trip.
In the meantime, God was working to provide another mission group from Yorkshire FWB Church in Manassas, Virginia. The eighteen-member mission group comprised of youth and adults was supposed to go to Mississippi to help rebuild and work in the church devastated by Hurricane Katrina. When the church was unable to host them at the time planned, they decided to bless the missionaries in Virginia. I received a phone call from Assistant Pastor Todd Tennant. He asked if the group could work around the church and visit approximately 1,000 homes.
To make a long story short, the team from Yorkshire helped to prepare our church for the work that was completed a week later by the mission team from Sherwood Forest. The Yorkshire team shampooed our carpet in the sanctuary, washed the walls in our church, cleaned the bathrooms, and spread two truckloads of gravel on our parking lot. The next morning, five young men came back at 5 a.m. to finish the parking lot because they did not want to leave it undone.
At 10 a.m. the entire group met at the church. For four hours, they knocked on more than 1,000 doors and distributed information about our church.
Paint and Progress
Seven days later the Sherwood Forest youth group pulled into town for a five-day visit that would change lives. Hurricane Sherwood Forest hit our church with a blast. In a matter of minutes, they cleaned out the three rooms we wanted to paint. Sherwood Forest brought professional painter and business man Johnny Stevenson and his wife Anita to help with the work. It was amazing to see the amount of work completed in a short amount of time. The group repaired the flaws in our sheetrock, filled the cracks in our concrete walls, and added texture to our walls. They painted the walls and the window and door trim (and finished almost half of our sanctuary while we waited for the walls to dry). And that is not all. They replaced the carpet in two of the rooms after convincing the store next door to donate new carpet for one of them. God is good.
The tired group finished their work a short 45 minutes before they planned to minister to us during our midweek service. One of their young men, Stephen Nelson, grandson of former home missionary Rev. Earl Hanna, preached, the youth choir sang, and our people were blessed.
The following day provided a refreshing break as our youth group joined theirs for a day at King’s Dominion amusement park in Doswell, Virginia. We left at 7:30 a.m. and got home after midnight.
On Saturday, however, the students were ready for another full day of ministry. The girls helped Women Active for Christ host the Northern Virginia district meeting by serving food and singing. One girl named Caroline Anderson told the about her E-team Missionary trip to France accompanied by a wonderful PowerPoint presentation.
In the meantime, the young men cut grass and set up tents for Uncle Bubba’s Castle for a Kid’s Crusade that started at 3p.m. The event was held on the site where our new church will be located. After lunch, half of the students worked at the Kid’s Crusade, while the other half visited homes in the surrounding community. We reached more than 50 people during the kid’s crusade and visited more than 500 homes in just three hours.
At a youth rally that evening, many of the young people told those in attendance how the mission trip changed their lives. Jackson Watts, youth Intern at Sherwood Forest, brought the message, and the altar filled. Later that evening, we relaxed and enjoyed sweet fellowship. During the regular morning worship service the next day, the youth from both churches shared special music and testimonies, and Youth Pastor Jason Janus preached a powerful message.
God moved in our hearts and many tears were shed when they returned home. We both knew that this time was a special blessing from God and we were all changed by His working in and around us. The story does not end there. It has been about seven weeks since this group returned home. We have had many inquiries about our church and over 10 first time visitors along with one family who has committed to join and work with us. I know that God is not finished working yet!
About the Writer: Paul Collins is a home missionary/church planter in Harrisonburg, VA.