Allen Williams and Desiree Heckmann are prepping for an early Halloween in Barbados. Their team is on week 7 on campus and week 8 1/2 in country. However they've only been together as a full team for a little over a month. One of their Caribbean team members had to unexpectedly leave to go home for a week for a family emergency and so they've been just recently coming together as a full team. They are learning how to be united - working on understanding each other and loving each other. "It's been a challenge with all the adjustments continually happening but God has taught us a lot about flexibility and grace in each other's lives," Desiree writes.
She goes on to say, "We're also beginning to go deeper with our students. We have 7 established Community Groups (i.e. cell groups/Bible Studies) and they are going fairly well. However we are having challenges getting the student leaders to commit and own the ministry. Barbados is an interesting movement because they had a STINT team here 2 years ago and then 2 Caribbean guys 'stinting' this past year and now a full team again. So in some ways we're having to restart a lot of ministry things but we also have past experiences to deal with. It is taking a lot of wisdom and discernment and we're definitely making our share of mistakes but God is faithful and we are working on being humble and hopefully at the end of these challenges the student leaders and staff will be more united in purpose and mission and strengthened in Christ."
As leaders Allen and Desiree are learning how to lead well together, communicate and help meet the needs of our team. Desiree says, "Sometimes we feel like we have no idea how to help launch a movement but the great part is that God is faithful and He is moving incredibly in the Caribbean. We've already seen 10 people except Christ. Follow up is more of a challenge but we are working on being persistent with students while continuing to sow widely."
Recently I have been studying Galatians. I was struck by this passage in chapter 1 the NAS: "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." Several times Paul refers to himself as a bond-servant, servant, or slave of Christ. ( as did Mary, Peter, Jude, John, etc.)
Paul's mindset on who he lived and worked for affected where he went and how he went. When Paul writes that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain or that he counts everything he has accomplished as rubbish in light of gaining Christ, he is writing as a slave to Christ. When he writes that he has been crucified with Christ and he no longer lives but Christ lives in him, he is explaining his life in terms of being a bond-servant of Christ. In Acts 21 when people are pleading with him not to go to Jerusalem and he responds by saying, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus," Paul is declaring that he is a bondslave to Christ.
Just thought I'd share a few more ways this is lived out... I will start with the obvious from this passage in Gal 1:10...
* A bond-servant no longer strives to please men or women or himself. He lives to seek God's favor.
* A bond-servant says, "may it be done to me according to your word." - Luke 1:38
* A bond-servant empties herself in humility the way Christ did. - Phil 2:7
* A bond-servant is not quarrelsome, but be kind to all. She is able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition. - 2 Timothy 2:24, 25
* A bond-servant sees himself as set apart for the gospel. - Rom 1:1
* A bond-servant faithfully proclaims the gospel of truth. - Col 1:6, 7
* A bond-servant doesn't preach herself. - 2 Cor 4:5
* A bondslave of Jesus Christ always labors earnestly for his disciples and team in his prayers. - Col 4:12
* A bondslave of God doesn't use her freedom to cover up evil. She honors all people, loves the family of God, fears God, and honors the king. - 1 Peter 2:16, 17
May we all shackle ourselves to Christ today.