Today was our last day in Santa Rosa. We will move on to El Baden tomorrow and repeat the schedule that we have used in our three days in Santa Rosa. I have had the pleasure, this week, of seeing the effects of a long-term commitment to reach a people.
On the bus ride back to the hotel this afternoon, I had a conversation with Judd, a team member who has worked in Santa Rosa on two previous mission trips. Something that Judd said really stuck out to me. He said, “This visit has been different. It seems like we have done less evangelism and more discipleship.” Why is this so? There are considerably more believers in Santa Rosa than the first time missionaries went out into the neighborhood. God has used the faithful witness of Pastor Tony and those missionaries who have come before us to do a work in the hearts of the people.
There are still those in this community that don’t understand Jesus and His Gospel, but the effect of intentional ministry over an extended period of time is evident. This realization confirmed to me that my church is headed in the right direction. We have been discussing adopting and investing in a community of our own. I am encouraged today as I have been able to experience the truth of what I have long believed. This is how we should be doing missions.
The journey of executing our missions vision as a church will be a long path. It will be difficult. It will take sacrifice. It will be work. It won’t be a vacation. It won’t be easy. However, I am convinced that God wants to use First Baptist Church Abbeville and your church to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations. With dedication, love, affection, generosity, mercy, and grace we can share this Gospel. As we come back to continue our ministry, we can watch as the truth of God’s Word takes root in a people and grows to bear fruit.