Mission Trip (2 of 3): Middle of Nowhere | Devotions with Dad

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Mission Trip (2 of 3): Middle of Nowhere

For dad only:

They Change Me


You probably married your wife thinking you would change her. She married you, thinking she would change you. When your kids came along, you both determined you would change them.


Struggle for control

The desire to change others is what drives witchcraft. Voodoo and Satanism are not about changing self, but about modifying the behaviors of others. The cross of Christ teaches us that love allows itself to be changed.

Jesus loved us so much that He has scars to prove it. Some dads desire to control their kids so much they leave scars on them. Now who are you being like, Jesus or the devil, toward your family?

Of course we have a God-given desire to steer our families toward right living and away from destructive behaviors. But what grips your soul in this objective? Do you lash out in anger when they do not comply with you, or do you minister love until they learn to make right choices?

Love allows itself to be changed

I thought I had good control of my family, until baby number five came along. I thought I understood love. However, her near-death experience and her loving personality combined to change me. While I was so busy with accomplishing great things, I hardly paused to acknowledge her birth. Then she brought the house down.

Code blue in an emergency room and twelve days in a hospital began cracking my deformed sense of family control. Once she had my attention, she taught me to care. She has taught me not to worry about things so much—even things I feel I must do for God.

Involving your children in mission trips and other forms of ministry will give them a chance to change others, but in they will process be changed. How are you doing with your family mission? I hope it is not just about controlling the kids, but letting them have your heart.


Read this to the kids:

Ministry of Love

Last time, Rusty and Misty’s family drove down into Mexico to help build a church in a small town.


“Well, at least we have a house to stay in,” Misty said to Mom. “After what we saw when we first crossed the border, I thought we might be sleeping under a bridge or something down here.”

“No, we wouldn’t do that,” Mom assured her. “But it was nice of the missionary to arrange this house for us while the missions team was down here working on the church.”

“And, at least we are only staying here a week,” Misty continued with a whisper, “it feels a little crowded with all those guys staying upstairs.”

“We will manage,” Mom said. “Thank God we have a roof and we have plenty to do while we are here.”

Rusty and Dad were outside, looking over the church building. “I didn’t know they had all the walls up,” Rusty said, “they are concrete.”

“Yes, it should be pretty sturdy with those concrete block walls—which are easier to clean in this humid environment. They have had all of that up for a month. We are going to get the roof on this week—Lord willing.”

“So that’s what all those Bible college guys are here for, too?”

“Yes, sir.” Dad picked up a piece of lumber and squinted one eye to see how straight it was. “Our church helped raise enough money to buy the lumber this church needed. Now we have to get the building closed in and safe before the rainy season hits.”

“That’s a lot of boards,” Rusty said, looking over the piles.

“Yes, sir. See these wide ones?”

Rusty nodded.

“Those will be the rafter boards.”

“Rafters? You mean we have to build the roof? What about that one church we helped build where the roof came in big triangle pieces?”

Dad laughed. “You mean trusses. We built that roof in the states were it was cheaper to use trusses. It was difficult for us to find a way to order trusses down here, so we are just going to build it out of wood. It won’t be that hard. Just a few more nails is all.” Dad took a swig from his water bottle.

“So can we get started today?” Rusty asked.

“Well, we only have a few hours left to the day, seeing as we just got here,” Dad said. “I am going to go through some of this lumber and mark the crown of it so we have that step out of the way tomorrow. You can help if you want.”

Rusty did help. It only took a few minutes to help Dad find out which way each rafter bowed and mark it so the natural arch of the boards would help support the weight of the roof. When they finished that, Dad climbed a ladder and started measuring the building’s wall so he would know what size the boards all needed to be cut.

A local boy walked up and smiled. Rusty tried his best Spanish, “Hola!”

The boy smiled again. “Hi,” he said.

“You speak English?” Rusty said to the Mexican boy.

“Un poquito,” the boy replied. “Me llamo Marco.”

“I’m Rusty.”

The boy motioned for Rusty to follow. Rusty looked up at Dad. “He wants me to come with him, Dad. What do you think?”

Dad looked up, deep in thought. “Yeah, whatever, just don’t go far.”

Rusty followed the boy down the path beside the new church. A small river flowed out back and the path went right alongside it. The boy walked down the river bank to a string tied onto a tree root.

“Mira,” he said.

Rusty looked, to see what he was pointing at. Marco pulled the string out of the water and five big fish were hanging from it.

“Wow, those are big!” Rusty said. “You are good at fishing.”

The boy smiled.

“What are you fishing with?”

The boy frowned, not understanding. “Para mi familia.”

Rusty thought for a minute. “Familia—oh, your family. You are bringing them home for your family to eat?”

The boy nodded and smiled. He turned to go with his string of fish.

Rusty thought for a moment, and then said, “Do you go to this church?”


Rusty pointed at the half-completed building. “Church. Um, Dios—um, hey-su-crist-o.”

“¿Jesucristo?” The boy looked at the building again. His eyebrows went up, “El edificio—¿una iglesia?”

“Si,” Rusty said proudly.

The boy nodded, “Muy bien.” He put the fish over his shoulder and headed down the path toward his home.

“Adios!” Rusty called.

“Hasta luego,” the boy responded.

Rusty headed back to the building site and found Dad ready to go get some supper.

•       •       •

The next morning, Rusty was up early with Dad and the rest of the guys who had come in late the night before. They had some fresh fruit and pancakes for breakfast and headed to the job site.

Rusty was telling one of the college guys how he and Dad had crowned all the lumber the night before. Standing there looking at the pile, he noticed something was wrong.

“Dad, some lumber is missing.”

Dad came over to look. The stack of long 2×4’s was messed up. He checked his materials list and counted the stack. “You’re right. We are missing boards from this pile. Did someone move them?”

Nobody knew anything about the missing boards.

Dad sighed, “Okay, we are going to have to post a night guard so no one takes any more lumber.”

The local pastor nodded and said, “I should have thought about that from the beginning. Tell me what you need and we will go get it.”

Dad and the pastor talked about the needed supplies and soon the team got to work sawing boards and lifting them up to the men on the scaffolding.

After a few hours of work, Marco showed up at the jobsite. Rusty did not have a chance to talk, but waved at his new friend. He was busying helping carry boards to the saw and lifting cut ones to the men above.

Rusty noticed that whenever one of the workers dropped a nail, Marco ran over and grabbed it. At first Rusty thought he was helping pick them up and give them back, but then he saw that Marco was putting them in his pocket.

At lunch time, everyone went inside to relax for a few minutes. Marco headed back up the path for home. Rusty climbed a ladder and watched the boy go. Rusty could see which house the boy headed toward and then he could not see him anymore.

“Dad,” Rusty asked when he got inside, “do you mind if I go up the path again like yesterday?”

Dad shrugged, “Aren’t you going to eat?”

“Yes, I just want to check on something. I won’t be long.”

“Can I come?” Misty asked from the kitchen.

Rusty shrugged, “I suppose.”

Dad nodded. “But be back soon and eat something before we go back to work.”

Rusty and Misty scurried down the path.

“Where are we going?” Misty asked, as they crossed over the narrow bridge.

“I just want to go see where my new friend lives.”

Misty walked beside him as Rusty peered on ahead. Finally, they came to a clearing where Rusty could see the house he saw from the top of the church. It was an old shack with the roof caving in on one side. Marco was outside, playing with something.

“What is he doing?” Misty whispered.

“I think he is counting the nails he picked up from us,” Rusty replied.

They watched the boy get up and walk around the back of the building. Rusty walked a little closer and peaked around a tree. “There they are!” he said.


“See? Out in the woods behind the house, I see six pieces of new lumber!”

“He took them?” Misty asked.

Rusty swallowed and turned away. “Let’s go,” he said.


Now discuss it!

What was the purpose of building a church in the Mexican town?


What was Marco’s house like?

The roof was caving in and the house was falling apart.


Does that make it okay it steal?


How was Marco going against the teaching of Proverbs 3:29?


If you were Rusty, would you run over and take the boards?


What do you think Rusty should do?


How do you think Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:40-42 might apply to this situation?


What else do we do to build a church for the Lord other than lifting boards or pounding nails?


When have you learned to love someone who treated you wrong?


Read God’s Word together:

Loving the Mean People


After this, Paul left Athens and went on to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, for Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and stayed and worked with them, because he earned his living by making tents, just as they did.

He held discussions in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul gave his whole time to preaching the message, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.

When they opposed him and said evil things about him, he protested by shaking the dust from his clothes and saying to them, “If you are lost, you yourselves must take the blame for it! I am not responsible. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

So he left them and went to live in the house of a Gentile named Titius Justus, who worshiped God; his house was next to the synagogue. Crispus, who was the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his family; and many other people in Corinth heard the message, believed, and were baptized.

One night Paul had a vision in which the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up, for I am with you. No one will be able to harm you, for many in this city are my people.” So Paul stayed there for a year and a half, teaching the people the word of God.

When Gallio was made the Roman governor of Achaia, Jews there got together, seized Paul, and took him into court. “This man,” they said, “is trying to persuade people to worship God in a way that is against the law!”

Paul was about to speak when Gallio said to the Jews, “If this were a matter of some evil crime or wrong that has been committed, it would be reasonable for me to be patient with you Jews. But since it is an argument about words and names and your own law, you yourselves must settle it. I will not be the judge of such things!” And he drove them out of the court.

They all grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the court. But that did not bother Gallio a bit.

Paul stayed on with the believers in Corinth for many days, then left them and sailed off with Priscilla and Aquila for Syria.

(Acts 18:1-18, GNB)


Let’s talk about it!

How did Paul react to people who wanted to throw him out of town? Did he get ugly and mean back?


After Paul was thrown out of the synagogue, why do you think Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, later came to believe in the Lord Jesus and join the church?


Even Sosthenes, the new synagogue leader, tried to get rid of Paul by taking him to court. What happened to him, in 18:17?


Later, in I Corinthians 1:1, who helped Paul write his letter to the believers in this town?


Do you think there would have been a church in this town if Paul treated people the same way they treated him?


Role play: You find out an old friend has lied about you. One day you see him or her at a store and they do not have the money they need to pay. What do you do?


Someone laughs at you for being a Christian and always tries to make you look like a fool. One day he gets in big trouble. Will you enjoy seeing him get punished? Or how will you respond?



Memorize it!

Proverbs 3:29

Devise not evil against thy neighbour,

seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

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