Where Do We Go Next?
It’s a question that has been on my mind for almost a year now. After traveling to India the last three years, I knew our mission trip there in 2019 would be the last trip to that region for a while. I also knew that Beautiful Savior needed to be involved in the ongoing sharing of the Gospel across the globe. So I was left with the simple, yet perplexing, question of “where do we go next?”
And trust me; there were a lot of options….
I had actually settled on an option before we left for India. I thought it would be a great place for Beautiful Savior to serve and use its many gifts and talents. But then the government in that country collapsed…and so, too, did that option.
Not to worry, though, because I had a second option…and then I didn’t. That ministry decided to move on to other opportunities that wouldn’t fit with Beautiful Savior. At this point I was close to opening up a phone book and calling organizations to see who could answer my question of where do we go next. It was at this point that Jen and Tom reached out to talk.
Jen and Tom O’Neill are members of Beautiful Savior. You may remember Tom from an earlier Connected article. Together they talked with me about an opportunity they were familiar with in Chilca, Peru. They have participated and led trips down to this town—an hour outside of Lima—over a dozen times and created some amazing relationships along the way. After talking with them about the opportunities available there for Beautiful Savior, it seemed like I might finally have an answer to my question…but I needed to see for myself.
Fast forward to June 2019. The government in Peru had remained stable, and the ministry didn’t decide to move on to different opportunities. This meant it was time to go and see what Jen and Tom had been talking about. On June 7th, the three of us flew down for a week to learn more about Chilca and the opportunities God would have for us there. It was a great week of meeting with local officials, getting to know the area, and seeing what was happening so we could join in and support the work that was already being done. Probably the best part of the week for me? I finally had my answer.
Starting in 2020, Beautiful Savior will begin a three-year commitment in Chilca with the JIREH School, along with other local officials, to support the community at large with the love of Christ. The opportunities within those three years will be different; the 2020 trip will have more of a medical focus. We will be partnering with the regional hospital and supporting various health fairs throughout the area. While good medical care is available in Chilca, the people of the area do not always know what care is available to them, such as vaccines and wheelchairs. During the mornings of our trip, our job will be helping them find the right care for their needs. This will include talking with people, spending time with them, and praying with them and for them. In the afternoons, we will be following up in the homes of those who came to the fair to get to know them better and to share Christ with them in many different ways. In doing so, we not only help them know where they can go next for their medical care and treatment, but also we will let them know where they can go next because of Christ in their lives. It’s a great opportunity, a great answer to prayer, and a great answer to the question of “where do we go next?” not just for Beautiful Savior…but for me as well.
I’ve had a blast leading the mission trips the past four years at Beautiful Savior. From Costa Rica to India, it’s been an absolute honor and privilege to serve with you in that role. But in looking for an answer to my question for Beautiful Savior, God also answered a question I wasn’t asking about and didn’t expect personally. However, I was extremely excited about it once it became clear. Starting in 2020, Jen and Tom O’Neill will be leading the international mission trips to Peru. They have a great heart for Jesus and His love for His people, and they have an enormous amount of experience and skill in leading trips like this. If you want the résumé, feel free to ask me for it. But also, please know that when God answers our questions, the answers aren’t always verbal…they might also come in the form of people. I truly believe that Jen and Tom are part of the answer to the question of “where do we go next?” for our international mission trip to Chilca, Peru.
If you’d like to know more about going on the trip for 2020, come join us July 28th at 9:50 am in the Sanctuary or September 15th at 9:50 am in the Sanctuary. In the meantime, please take time to ask the same question that has brought us to this point! Ask God, “Where do we go next”? The answer may not come in the form of words, but it just might come in the form of a mission trip to Chilca, Peru! I hope and pray it is!
God’s Peace and Joy be with you as you talk with God about what is next for you and yours!
Pastor Joe Behnke
Associate Pastor, Director of Missions & Spiritual Care