On Thursday, January 24, 2019 — during International Festival Week at Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, South Carolina—the Middle School Chapel and High School Chapel centered on missions. All of us are commanded to be missionaries; some are called locally; others, internationally. If you would like to read and discuss the content of my chapel summary, “Our Lives as Missionaries,” please read on. . .
“Our Lives as Missionaries”
Middle School Chapel
High School Chapel
Southside Christian School
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal
Pastor Colin welcomed students to their first chapel of 2019. He observed that eighth graders are in their last semester of Middle School, and sixth graders are just starting their Middle School journeys. He said, “Today, we are taking some time to hear about missions. We want to acknowledge the diversity of God’s Kingdom — the cultures, colors, ethnicities, people, races, tribes, and tongues. Eternity will be diverse. And we all play a role in that as missionaries.”
Pastor Colin prayed to open the chapel.
At the start of the High School Chapel, High School Spanish Teacher Gladys Patino gave background of “Shout to the Lord!”
As an audience, we read aloud the words of “Shout to the Lord!”
In the High School Chapel, Gladys Patino’s high school Spanish students sang “Shout to the Lord” in Spanish.
At the start of the Middle School Chapel and High School Chapel, High School French Instructor Brett Henderson (guitar and vocals), senior Coby Greene (percussion), and senior Mary Elizabeth Baumgarten (keyboards and vocals) served as lead worshippers for the Middle School Chapel. We engaged in a time of worship through song.
At this point, Mr. Henderson prayed as a bridge between worship through song through the proclamation of Jesus Christ through the Word and testimony about missions.
Pastor Colin exhorted the students to think about our role as missionaries in the school, Greater Greenville, the U.S., and the world. God chose to bless people who could be a blessing to all corners of the earth. Pastor Colin talked about his experiences with mission work has been “a catalytic experience” in his life.
Pastor Colin referenced the Freedom International School in the Dominican Republic as our partner school internationally, where students will have the opportunity to minister to students in that country during their high school careers.
A video was played about Freedom School, featuring Director Jason Hilgeman’s narration and visual images of the students at the school. Personnel are discipling students for their 18,000 hours of K-12 education, reaching out to the villages to evangelize the country. Students are finding stability and love in an environment where they come to know the Lord.
During the High School Chapel, Latin Teacher Chelsea Brewer gave background about the Latin of “The Lord’s Prayer,” indicating that the words of language sometimes don’t move from the head to the heart. The meaning of words are sometimes lost in translation. Her students recited the prayer in Latin, and then the audience chorally read the prayer in English.
Upper School Teacher Mark Sandlin introduced information about teaching the international students when they enroll at the school. We have showcased the nations this week during an International Festival, including international food, a foreign film, and a program on Saturday night.
The need for international missions is real. Population is growing in the U.S. and world. Mr. Sandlin was a missionary in Thailand. Gods used books to lead Mr. Sandlin to the mission field — biographies of impactful missionaries. Mr. Sandlin didn’t consider himself adventurous, strong, clever, or athletic. But he can sing a bit and teach English, and those were his conduits for mission work.
Mr. Sandlin wanted to tell people about Jesus who had never heard about Jesus. He went young and single. He met his wife Pom there. She also now works at Southside Christian in Early Education.
From memory, Mr. Sandlin recited a delightful poem with wide-ranging vocabulary and whimsy during Middle School Chapel. “There’s joy extraordinary” in Jesus Christ! He was a willing emissary for Jesus for many years.
“My Life As a Missionary”
My life as a missionary
Really isn’t too contrary
Though I thought it might be scary
Every last Tom, Dick and Harry
Told me that I must be wary
‘The natives there are known to carry
And at times my life was solitary
I wondered if I’d ever marry
And some facts I found necessary
They hadn’t taught in seminary
It was a sad commentary
Especially how frágmentary
Was my small vocabulary
But I bought myself a dictionary
Christmas there isn’t quite so merry
Without snow flake or holly berry
But Thai cuisine is legendary
So I’m set in matters culinary.
And problems that are monetary
Don’t give me a coronary
OK—so I’m no William Carey
Life sometimes is sedentary
And sometimes it’s pretty hairy
But there’s joy extraordinary
When Jesus takes an ordinary
Thai man or woman’s sins to carry
By His death—substitutionary.
In short, I’ve really found it very
Grand to be God’s emissary
And when I die—if Christ should tarry
I’d just as soon they take and bury
Me in some Thai cemetery
“By God’s grace, a Missionary”
During High School Chapel, Mr. Sandlin read an excellent poem he had written from a one-line poem, “How Odd of God to Choose the Jews.” (He had written the poem within the past week.). God uses unique people to bless the world.
“How Odd of God to Choose the Jews”
How odd of God to choose the Jews
Those timid men with barren wives
Living out nomadic lives
Who’d follow God–but then refuse
How odd of God To choose the Jews
How odd of God to bless the Jews
To feed and clothe, heal their disease
To multiply their families
And still His grace they would abuse
How odd of God to bless the Jews
How odd of God to use the Jews
Speak through them as His substitutes
To teach the world His attributes
And still their many sins excuse?
How odd of God To use the Jews
How odd of God to use a Jew
A poor and ordinary man
To work out His eternal plan
To save the world through His own Son
And make us spokesmen every one
To share the good news we’ve received
With every tribe, so they’ll believe
Though we’re quite poor and helpless too
And even sinful, through and through!
How odd of God To use a Jew
And odder yet: use me, and you.
Mr. Sandlin read Scripture in the Thai language — then in English. We must be sent and go to bring the beautiful news of Jesus.
Romans 10:14-15 (Thai and English) says,
แต่พวกที่ยังไม่เชื่อในพระองค์ จะทูลขอต่อพระองค์ได้อย่างไร? และพวกที่ยังไม่ได้ยินถึงพระองค์ จะเชื่อในพระองค์ได้อย่างไร? และเมื่อไม่มีผู้ประกาศ เขาจะได้ยินถึงพระองค์อย่างไร? และถ้าไม่มีใครใช้พวกเขาไป เขาจะไปประกาศได้อย่างไร? ตามที่มีคำเขียนไว้ในพระคัมภีร์ว่า “เท้าของคนเหล่านั้นที่นำข่าวดีมา ช่างงามจริงๆ หนอ”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
His children hold dual citizenship. “That’s cool, but what’s more cool is that many Thai people came to know the Lord as Savior.” His wife shared Christianity with her family, and all of the family came to know Christ as Lord. Just this week, beloved relatives prayed to receive Christ. The blessings of God come from one person to another.
Mr. Sandlin wondered whether someone in this room might become a missionary.
Pastor Colin had asked three students to share testimonies of their work as missionaries.
Zoe Verostek, a senior, spoke about her experiences with four mission trips to Cuba, Mexico, and the Czech Republic twice. She had taught English in a local school, helping local missionaries to connect with students. Her parents were initially unsure about the experience, due to the international travel [understandably for a first-time experience]. She said the trip completely changed her life. She wants to be a doctor who shows God’s love with everyone around her. She enjoys the relationships with fellow missionaries and those to whom she ministers. She still stays in contact with people from her mission trips. Change can occur even in one day or one week. People appreciate that missionaries come from around the world to spend time with them. She said mission trips have shaped who she is as a person and who she will become in the future.
Zoe Cross, a junior, was born onto the mission field. She grew up in Belgium. Her parents were missionaries to refugees from the 10/40 Window, where people are not hearing about Jesus. Some people don’t see themselves as missionaries. Her Dad was like that. He went to Belgium at 33 years of age. He broke down, weeping with a passion to reach unreached people. The Crosses moved back to the United States, where they are now ministering to Burmese people. Missions are international and here. Jesus commissioned us to go out into the world and minister to others with the truth and joy of the Gospel. Zoe’s heart has broken for people who need Jesus. She knows she wants to be a missionary, preferably overseas.
Mary Elizabeth Baumgarten, a senior, defined missions as “taking the joy of relationship with Christ and sharing it with other people through words and action, inviting them to join in that same joy with her.” She didn’t see that she has a life calling to be a missionary, but her involvement with mission trips have taught her a lot about God and herself. She has performed a lot of different kinds of work. Freedom School in the Dominican Republic changed her. The people there are poor. The missionaries prayed with the people, and the Gospel brought the people joy and freedom. Christ was worth everything to them. We must never take our relationship with Jesus for granted. Someone once told Mary Elizabeth during a mission trip that “what divides us on earth will one day unite us in heaven.” She hoped everyone would have an opportunity as missionaries in the future.