There is so much going on with Nicole and I regarding our future, but we haven’t really had a chance to share with everyone what all that is. Here is our attempt to help people understand what is going on with our lives, what exactly our plans are, and what our future is shaping out to look like. Hopefully, we can use this platform to help keep all of our loved ones informed, updated, and possibly even encouraged by our upcoming journey we are about to embark on. My hope is that we could inspire people with our stories, our dreams, and our lives. The plan is to try to post weekly. Both of us will be writing posts, sometimes individually, sometimes together. This first post, you will be hearing from me, Antony. Feel encouraged to leave us messages, ask questions, and even try to set up a time to Skype if you feel so led. So without further ado, sit back, enjoy, and we pray that you all be blessed!
To start off, I want to clarify our future plans. We are not shy in telling people that we have a heart for missions and that our future plans are centered around that. Yet I realize that the word “missions” has become a rather broad term. Missions can refer to medical, teaching, helping build houses, helping restore areas, and so on. So to set the record straight, our heart for missions is evangelistic based. Our main purpose behind our missions work is to spread the Gospel around the world. That is not to say that we will not help out in other areas, we definitely want to help build up communities, but our focus, the heart behind our missions, is to see the captives set free. We seek to help lead individuals to accept Jesus Christ as their savior. We want to secure people’s eternity, not only their temporary existence. As we travel to distant lands, starting in Kenya, we are walking in the same footsteps as the others who have went before us, the apostles, Paul, Timothy. We want to fulfill the Great Commission, proclaiming the Good News to all the nations, making disciples, baptizing people, and teaching people. We want to go to areas where they have never even heard the Word of God, help individuals not only turn to Christ, but give their lives over to Him completely.
See, it’s not just about evangelizing to us, it’s about preaching the gospel to those that have never heard it. Some people may think we need to focus in on America. Some don’t quite understand why it is that we are going to Kenya. I think for most it would be understandable if we were doing a mission trip for a couple of weeks, but for us to choose to live there for as long as we feel led to stay there may be baffling to some. I totally get it. People aren’t exactly lining up to live in countries like Kenya. But see, for us, that’s where we need to be.
The thing is, the Gospel has been preached in America, and continues to be preached by an abundance of preachers and churches. I’m not saying that all churches are perfect, but ultimately I don’t worry too much about the Gospel being spread in America. It’s not just the plethora of preachers and churches but also how easy it is for anyone to learn about the Gospel. Bibles are given away free at most churches or online, countless books are written on it, there are articles online, and the list goes on. In my experience with people, it seems like most are aware of the Gospel. They might not believe it, but they have heard something about it. And if they desire to know more about it, as I alluded to before, they have many ways to do so.
Some are called to serve in America. There is a reason that in Acts, the church planted churches in the cities they went to instead of just telling the Gospel and then leaving town. Churches are so important to have established in communities. America will always need leaders for the Church over there. For us though, we want to go to where there is no Church at all.
We need to go to places where there are no Bibles. And it’s not just that they don’t have Bibles, there aren’t even any Bibles printed in their language. We need to go to places where the name Jesus Christ means nothing to the inhabitants, places that have never seen the glory of God, that do not know the story of His great love. We are in the business of delivering the News that saves souls. And we need to take that News to those that have never heard it.
I don’t really like saying that I was called to do this. In a way, we are all “called” to share the Good News (see Matthew 28:19-20), but I mean in the sense of that God spoke to me directly and told me to do this. If I were to describe it, it would best be like the account we read about in Isaiah 6:8. As Isaiah stands before the Lord, the Lord asks,” Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah responds by saying, “ Here I am, send me!”
I relate to Isaiah so much. God didn’t really call Isaiah to do anything. God just expressed that he needed to send someone and asks Isaiah who He should send. Isaiah steps up, and offers himself. I feel like it wasn’t that God called me, I was just willing to do what God needed. God has shown us the great need to evangelize to parts of the world that have never heard about Jesus (see Mark 13:10, Matthew 28:19-20) and His need for people to carry this out (see Matthew 9:37-38). So like Isaiah, I have responded with, “Here I am, send me!” That’s not to say I don’t believe in God’s calling, I believe God can definitely call some people and do so very distinctly. I also believe though that not everyone will hear that calling. That it’s not about receiving a calling to do something but it’s about simply being willing. I know of so many people who tell me they are just waiting on God’s calling. If I can just give advice to anyone who is in that boat, stop worrying about His calling. It might come one day, and it might not. Instead just do the work that needs to get done. So many people wait for this audible voice from God, but they forget that He has already said so much to us in His Word. Read the Bible when you want to hear from God, read what He has already said, because He may have already told you what you are seeking to hear. The Lord sometimes just needs those that are willing to do so. He didn’t call Isaiah to do anything, Isaiah just simply put himself at the Lord’s mercy, willing to do whatever the Lord needed. One day I made up my mind, I was going to give myself over to God and do whatever it was He needed me to do to advance his kingdom. I was going to offer myself up to him. He didn’t call me anywhere, I just decided that I’d go where needed. I found out by reading his Word and looking at the world around me. I looked at His creation and followed what His Word had already said. Someone has to do it, so why not me?
A month ago I was playing football with some friends. We had quite a lot of people, therefore we had to play with a couple of offensive lineman and defensive lineman. The thing is, no one wants to play offensive line. There is no glory, it’s rough, and it’s not as fun as playing quarterback or receiver. As my team got ready to play offense, we needed two people to play the line. Everyone put their heads down, trying to avoid making eye contact, not wanting to sacrifice their position. After a minute, I volunteered to do so. Why? Because I wanted to? No. Because I was the most physically gifted to play offensive line? Nope. I did it because it needed to get done, I did it because it wasn’t about me, it was about the team. Someone had to do it, no one may want to, but it doesn’t change the fact that someone needed to play line or the other’s teams defensive lineman would have sacked our quarterback every drive. I went over, and even though deep down I desired to play another position, I took up my new position and made sure to play as hard as I could. I didn’t let my reluctance show, I didn’t complain, someone needed to do it, so I did it.
In the the Kingdom of God, we are all one team. And God needs harvesters to go where the harvest is ripe. I looked around the Christian world and saw that there was a need for some offensive lineman. So here I am. It’s not about me, it’s about God. Someone has to preach this Gospel to all the ends of the earth. We are willing to do.
It’s not to say I think of myself as the only one who can do it and it’s also not to say that if we didn’t go, someone else wouldn’t. We are very replaceable. We are simply vessels, the Lord in all honesty doesn’t “need” us. I am doing this because I made up my mind that I wanted to serve the Lord, not for my glory, but for His. I don’t care if we go and no one ever knows our names, as long as others know His name. This life is temporary, and I have set my eyes on the things that our eternal. I want to do whatever my team needs, because in the end, that’s what it is all about, the team. And I play for the Kingdom of God. I might not be the most perfect person to play this role, but He will make me what I need to be in order to accomplish His will. Isaiah wasn’t anyone special, Peter, Paul, Timothy, Stephen, Matthew, they were simply just people, and it was only because of God that they were able to do anything. We go over to be His vessels, to be reflectors of His great light, to show His great love.
That’s how I find myself going to Kenya in November with my wife to begin our journey of spreading the news of Christ’s victory over death and His awesome love. At the end of November, we will be moving there to partner up with a friend’s church in helping reach some of the areas there that still haven’t heard Jesus preached. Kenya is the start but we plan on not just going there, we plan on going where ever we see a need. We hope to help build the communities up, instill hope, help in whatever way we can, while also never forgoing proclaiming Christ. Keep an eye out for out next post as Nicole shares her testimony about what led her to do missions. Thank you guys for reading, and we are so blessed to have the support of so many people. I pray that this speaks to everyone. If anyone is interested in supporting us financially, we would be so honored and blessed. This is the start of an exciting adventure, and prayers are more than needed as we go to the trenches. We hope to help beat back the enemy’s defensive lineman, and help carry the light to the darkest parts of the world.
*A great book that expands on the need to evangelize to the world is the book “Radical” by David Platt. A great read that talks of the importance of evangelism for all Christians and also talks a lot about how important it is for Christians to support the spreading of the Good News.