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Sooner or later, things will go wrong, terribly wrong. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon.

I was working in Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast, as we call it in the USA. This country is located at the top of the African armpit on the western side. My assignment was to train, organize and lead a team to go into the sub-Sahara desert to one of the least-known people groups of West Africa, the Koro.

I had done everything I could to make sure this mission project would go off with as little trouble as possible. One morning, we sent runners off to a village telling them we were bringing some good news. We asked them to have the villagers gather in one place so we could share it.

As we arrived, we saw one old man sitting on a fallen tree. We introduced ourselves and discovered he was the village chief. “Where are the people?” I asked, explaining that I had sent a runner to announce our arrival.

“The runner never showed up,” he said.

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a lion ate him.”

“I sent the runner to tell you we were bringing good news.”

“Tell me the news.”

So our team shared the Gospel, acting out the story from creation through Christ’s resurrection. As the story unfolded, the old chief got excited. He said, “About 20 years ago, a missionary came to our village and told us the same story. I was the only one in my tribe who embraced the message, so I got kicked out and traveled around the desert for a number of years. Because of this Jesus, no one would let me be a part of their tribe.

One day I got tired of traveling and decided to build a hut, get a goat and plant a garden. It wasn’t long before another family built a hut next to mine. Now, 20 years later, I’m the chief of this village of 400. I told my people our village began because of a man named Jesus, but I didn’t know the rest of the story. I’ve been praying that God would send someone to share with my people the message I heard long ago.”

“God has brought us to you this day,” I told the chief. He sent out a runner, and his people began to gather. Again, we presented the Gospel. When we came to the resurrection, you could feel the electricity in the air. At the end, we explained the rest of the story, that God wanted a relationship with the people through His Son, Jesus. In one mass confession, the village accepted Christ and began to dance what they called the Happy Dance with great enthusiasm and joy. That day, the old chief’s prayers were answered. Sitting beside him, I said, “Isn’t it wonderful? Today, God has come to the Koros!”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Look at your people. The Holy Spirit has come upon their lives. God has come to the Koros.”

He looked at me and said, “We are not Koros. We are Tutucas. You’re in the wrong village.” Only at that moment did I realize why the runner didn’t show up. Another group was waiting for us somewhere, and at 11:00 that night, we finally found them.

I wanted to share this story because I know some of you are in a tough place and wondering why bad things keep happening. Maybe these truths will help you find hope:

1. Our disappointment becomes God’s divine appointment. The Bible is full of instances like this. Take Joseph: One day he found himself at the bottom of a pit, thrown there by his brothers. Then he was imprisoned. From the prison, God brought him to live in the palace of the king. God had a plan for all of it. Sometimes, He puts us in the pit so we can obtain the palace.

2. What we call wrong, God may call right. Our sovereign God knows the details of our lives. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” (Prov. 16:9).

3. A spirit of thanksgiving is the first step to raise you above your circumstances. If our disappointment leads to God’s divine appointment and we understand that He is in the smallest details of our struggle, then there is no reason we can’t give thanks. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

4. God has not called an emergency meeting over your life. The more we focus on our problems, the more we squeeze God out. The more we focus on Him, the more we reduce the size of the problems. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27). Yes, God is aware and already has a plan.

When everything is going wrong, look for the joy at being in the wrong place at the right time and see His mighty hand.

What is WeServe?WeServeColor

For many years, missionaries wrote and sent out support letters through the mail. But times have changed, and today we find it more effective to use email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other forms of electronic communication. Awe Star has created a new way to raise total mission support through WeServe. This crowdfunding forum not only assists you in raising financial support but in building your WeServe Team: a group of people who will pray and encourage you on your missions journey. And the click of a button does it all, with no administrative costs. One hundred percent of the gifts received go to support you on the mission field. Ask your family and friends to start sharing your WeServe button and see what great things God will do.

If you are going on a trip this summer and would like to create a WeServe profile, then you can go to our website and click on the WeServe tab at the top right or (CLICK HERE). You will be asked to click on the “CLICK HERE” to create a profile. Then you will be asked to put in the password that was sent to you in your packet. (it is also the same password that gets you into the missionary login area). You will enter your information and be asked to write a story about how the Lord has called you to the specific country that you are going to. Be sure to add information about the ministry that you will be doing. You can also enter how much money you have already raised. You can look at others to get some ideas.  When you are all done share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Our prayer is that God will use this to help you raise funds as well as put together a team of people that will pray, encourage, and sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel. WeServe makes it incredibly easy to raise money online and is completely tax-deductible. In less than a minute, you’ll be able to personalize your fundraising campaign and share it with the people in your life. Get started and share your WeServe today!

ngobeThe teams are almost full and the deadlines are approaching fast (MARCH 27th). If you are looking to take an adventure that will change your life, Panama just might be where God is sending you. Does the sound of traveling to remote areas and sleeping in hammocks all to make Jesus known interest you? If so, then take a look at what you could be experiencing in Panama.

A step beyond takes you to a new location and a different people group.

One minute, you’re eating in one of Albrook Mall’s three food courts or exploring some of its eight hundred stores. An hour and a half later, you’re in a primitive canoe on your way to the jungle or on a bus climbing a winding road to the mountains. As we do Jesus ministry in Panama, each day is different.

This year, Awe Star’s Team Panama will take a step beyond as we shift our ministry to target the largest ethnic group in the country, the Ngäbe (sounds like No-bay). After working in Panama City for a few days, you’ll travel to Santiago, where you’ll minister in schools, marketplaces, and plazas. After that, you’ll fill water jugs and shop for food supplies as you prepare to make your way to Alto de Jesus. This village, located in the heart of Ngäbecountry, will be the site of our base camp. You’ll build relationships with villagers and introduce them to the good news of Jesus Christ. After a hard day of ministry, nothing feels better than climbing into your hammock for a good night’s sleep.

If you’re ready for an adventure in which you follow Jesus to the ends of the world, Panama makes a great place to take a step beyond.

 APPLY NOW!

Picture of the inner-city of Panama

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bush negroesAwe Star will be traveling to our 50th country this year- Suriname. We will be living among the Saramacca  Bush Negros. The Joshua Project has labeled this people group as UNREACHED. Our team will be using Chronological Bible Storytelling as a tool to draw crowds and share the Gospel. The Gospel will be shared in their native heart language-Saramaccan. Last week we received this new translation and it sounds great!

You might ask how in the world did we get connected with a place like Suriname? I am so glad you asked.

I got a call one day from a soft-spoken man named Clayton Posey. 

For years, Clayton lived and worked exporting lumber in the country of Suriname. During his time there, God did a mighty work among the jungle people known as Bush Negroes.

When I mention the country of Suriname, most people have no idea where it is. This small South American country, just north of Brazil, lies between two other forgotten countries, Guyana and French Guiana. Ruled by the Dutch until gaining independence in 1975, Suriname is as unique as it is diverse. Until the early 1800s, the Dutch colonists brought slaves from Africa to work in their coffee and sugar plantations. Many of these slaves escaped to the country’s interior. Here, they recreated their West African culture and acquired the name they bear to this day, “Bush Negroes.”

As Clayton began to tell us how God was working there, our hearts were moved. He told a story of a Saramaccan witch doctor named Anakay who had a dream in which God revealed Himself. He told Anakay His name was Jehovah and that He had a Son named Jesus. In that same dream, God told Anakay to throw all of his witch doctor and sorcery tools into the river, so he obeyed. Next, God told him that one day, a man with a black book would come and tell the people more about Jesus.

When Anakay reported this dream back to his people, they kicked him out of the village, fearing an evil spirit had come upon him. From then on, he prepared his family for the day the man with the black book would arrive. He taught his people to pray and to thank God for their blessings. He was bold and told many others about his God. A pastor heard this story from one of the descendants of Anakay and new that it was from God. He asked, “What is the name of your God?” The man replied, “All we know is that His name is Jehovah and has a Son named Jesus.” “That is my God!” The pastor excitedly replied. “We have been waiting for you for 60 years to tell us more about this God.” said the man with tears in his eyes.

From that day forward, this village embraced the life and teachings of Christ. But now, they want to evangelize the other villages and need help. This past spring, our ministry sent Chad Thompson, vice president of Awe Star, to Suriname. There, he met the witch doctor’s grandson, now the pastor of the church there. This pastor invited us to join him in reaching the other Bush Negroes who live deep in the interior of their country. This summer, we will send a team of students to live and work there for five weeks.

It may take you a moment to understand the full scope of what happened. First, God revealed Himself to a witch doctor in the interior of Suriname. Sixty years later, a man with a black book showed up and began to tell them, as Paul Harvey used to say, “The rest of the story.” A man from Oklahoma who worked in Suriname met the man with the black book. He used his business to help build community centers that will be turned into churches when the Bush Negroes embrace the gospel message. This man, Clayton Posey, knew the Bush Negroes needed help to bring the vision to fulfillment. He contacted us, and soon, Awe Star will serve in the country of Suriname.

Children

What is even more incredible is that God will speak to someone’s heart, even now as you are reading this, and go on this trip. And this summer people who have never heard the Gospel will come to Christ, and the church will be established among the Bush Negroes.

That, my friend, is how big a God we serve! If you are 16 or older and would like to join Team Suriname and head upriver to live and serve among the forgotten Bush Negroes, please contact Awe Star Ministries. You can find more information at www.awestar.org, or call our office at 918/664-3500 and talk to one of our mission counselors.

God is still writing the rest of the story. Will it include you?

Here at the start of a new year, I know some of you parents have children who would like to go on a mission trip. And it might not seem like it, but now is the time for them to sign up. Your children may have felt a tug at Falls Creek, another camp or even during a sermon. I don’t know of anything better you can do than release them to go engage the lost.

If I were in charge of the world, I would require that all parents let their teens go to the nations. Mission trips have the potential to transform their lives.

I’ve worked with students for more than 40 years. I’m well on my way to become the world’s oldest youth worker. I started with students who were just coming out of the ’60s. I loved engaging that generation. You were either a Hawk or a Dove, an activist or a pacifist. You were either into head-banging music or traveling with your youth choir performing the musical Good News. Everyone stood for something, and there was no middle ground.

I’m no anthropologist, but I can tell you that in all my years of youth ministry, I’ve only worked with two types of students: the Me Generation and the We Generation. You can recognize the way advertisements fluctuate as they try to reach each type. For instance, for the Me Generation, the Army used the slogan, “Be All You Can Be.” But for today’s We Generation, it’s “Army Strong.” Since the beginning of time, society’s pendulum has swung with regularity between me and we.

As you help your child choose a mission trip, I want to introduce you to a new word: transformissional.  No, I didn’t make it up; you can also find it in the title of a book that addresses mentoring among church planters.

Type “youth missions” or “student missions” into a search engine, and a hundred organizations pop up. I’ve served alongside many of them around the world, and I highly respect and appreciate their work. But I’m a child of the ‘60s, never satisfied with the status quo. I knew there had to be more than just getting on a plane, flying to a country and doing some type of mission project. I knew in my heart that the journey must have a greater impact than the destination.

That’s why, 40 years ago, I embraced the concept of leading students on a transformissional journey. I did this first as a youth pastor and for the past 22 years at Awe Star Ministries. And we continue to refine those journeys. Jesus never called us to a trip, but into a journey with Him—one that will last a lifetime. That journey has a mission (a purpose and direction) and is transforming. Hence the compound word, transform + missional = transformissional.

I have spent my life calling students to embrace the Jesus journey.  As I was seeking God about how to impact these lives placed in my care, I realized I had to teach them a combination of knowledge and skills. Some things cannot be taught in a classroom, but only in the crucible of life. When you learn to drive, you can sit in the classroom as long as you want. But until you get behind the steering wheel and pull out into the road, you’ll never have the skills or ability to drive.

The same goes for being a Christ-follower. Knowledge teaches us what to do, but skills teach us how. These days, most teens only get knowledge, and we wonder why they fail when they go out on their own. A transformissional journey provides an intentional balance. We accomplish this by casting in the knowledge and then calling forth the skills to walk it out. But this doesn’t just happen. Someone must walk alongside the students as Jesus did: teaching, coaching, mentoring and modeling until a particular skill set is firmly planted in their lives.

What does the transformissional journey boil down to? Teaching each student knowledge and skills with the intention of having them embrace a rite of passage that moves them to lay down their adolescence and become a capable, responsible, self-reliant adult. Today, when it’s more and more difficult for young people to learn real-life skills, wouldn’t it make sense to maximize your child’s missions experience?

My advice: Research the organization with which you’ll send your child. Ask not only what they’ll do overseas, but also what kind of teachings they’ll receive. There is a difference in mission organizations. Shouldn’t you pick one that will impact your child for a lifetime?

If you need any help, please call me at 918/664-3500. I’ll be praying for you as your prepare your child to go and tell.

 

Walker Moore

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT AWE STAR?

If you’re only looking for an organization that will take you overseas, you have many choices. But if you’re looking to join a family that will guide, encourage, and equip you to live the lifestyle of a missionary, welcome home!

Awe Star’s primary focus is to disciple you, teaching you how to become a worldwide citizen of the Kingdom. And the best way to learn this is “as you are going” (Matt. 28:19). Whether you serve in places like Ethiopia, the cradle of civilization, deep in the jungles of Panama, or somewhere else, you’ll acquire the skills you need to become a lifelong Jesus-follower.

As part of the Awe Star family, you’ll lay down your adolescence, pick up your adult life, and follow Him. Let’s go!

What is the Awe Star difference?

The answer is very simple: Awe Star is just as interested in equipping you for life as we are in bringing new life to a lost world. In short, the difference lies in the teaching we pour into our missionaries. We are passionate about raising a generation that can stand on its own two feet–one that will go against the flow of a culture that says the Christian life is all about convenience. Awe Star wants to equip you with the tools to surrender your desires and future to Christ.

Awe Star has been repeatedly recognized as the source of the most advanced discipleship training students ever receive. As we prepare our missionaries for the field, we also equip them for life by teaching them to understand the Word and Will of God. Our discipleship covers everything from spiritual warfare to identity in Christ. Everyone returns from the mission field with great stories. When you complete an Awe Star Global Passage, however, you will return with much more. The Awe Star difference lasts…for life.

2015 Trips:
Mexico Spring Break- http://awestar.org/trips/mexico-spring-break/
Panama 14 Day- http://awestar.org/trips/panama-rapido/
Panama 35 Day- http://awestar.org/trips/panama/
Peru 35 Day- http://awestar.org/trips/peru/
Suriname 35 Day- http://awestar.org/trips/suriname/