The Least Likely Missionary

Our mid-October LifeNote was pretty thorough about the need for support for my first trip to Costa Rica. Because of the family and housing situations of the team, at present, I need to find separate housing. And, since they’re living on support, I need to get my own food. It wouldn’t be right expecting them to cover that. So, there’s more to share.

My goal in everything I write is to glorify God. Having said that, let’s get started today by plopping ourselves down next to my favorite verse and see what that does to get us going on, as Paul Harvey used to put it, “the rest of the story”.

Matthew 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I live by that verse. But getting there was a process. And the late renowned jazz pianist, Hank Jones, was a part of it. In that recent LifeNote, I mentioned that he had shared the Gospel with me while tracks from his latest album were playing on the air on my jazz show. When I left that job, it was because of the fact my attitudes and behavior clearly displayed the reality that I wasn’t walking with God. I was fired.

Several years later, sober and beginning to seek God again, I got a gift in the mail It was a CD called “Steal Away” from Hank Jones. It was by him with Charlie Haden on bass. The two did an instrumental duo album of Gospel tunes. Receiving that might not seem like much, at first glance. But I worked in radio using a variety of air names. So Hank had no way of knowing my real name. And the station where we met didn’t have the address where I was living. Yet, here came this beautiful album pointing me in the direction of God in a way I could accept. It got played a lot.

A few years after that, when God had gotten past my stubbornness, a couple of vinyl albums showed up. Once again from Hank and by Hank. This time in trio and quartet settings, with musicians whose names I recognized easily. At this point, I don’t recall who they were. But I recall one thing. The second track on one of the albums was titled “How Great It Is To Be A Christian”. And I just knew that was a message to me, through Hank, from God.  That’s where our verse comes in.

Seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness isn’t a command in Matthew 6:33.  It’s direction to get everything else in our lives into a better state.  What the unbeliever misses is that walking with God creates a mindset that allows for better handling of everything else in our lives.  It’s something I missed for a large chunk of my life.  Which pretty well made much of my life a disaster.  But then, I’ve never been known to do things half way.  And that goes for after the shift in my thinking.

When I changed, I changed big time.  Many of the things that attracted me in my old life now had lost their lustre, replaced by more wholesome and beneficial things.  I soon had a hunger for Bible college.  Which led to both required and voluntary outreaches.  And, as I’ve said before, it led me to helping in the Pastoral Care department of our church.

I was born with some physical handicaps and my BC (before Christ) “fun” led to a combination of COPD and emphysema. All putting a crimp in my outreach activities, particularly for part of the year when temperatures drop.  I’m blessed with a ton of fellowship during the warmer parts of the year.  But when service times are surrounded by outside temperatures in the forties and below, I’m really happy we stream all of our services.  But God can restore anything.

1 Peter 5:10  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.

That’s from the Amplified Bible.  And all of that is why I joke that I’m, as the title says, “the least likely missionary”.  But it makes parts of the missionfield more attractive than where I am at homebase for our ministry.  At this point, Costa Rica is looking good.  we have a church there, in the capitol.  The church team are all friends of mine and I also have friends ministering in the adjacent country of Nicaragua.  Either one has a climate where I can be more active, again.  Before we say more, here’s a video about the work in San Jose, Costa Rica:

Both are growing ministries, in a climate that seems ideal for my COPD/emphysema, and I’d be ministering with people I know and love.  BUT!  There’s always one of those, isn’t there?  Where I live is supposed to be 220 feet above sea level, Managua is about 2300 feet up, San Jose is in a valley but the valley is at 3700 feet.  So, I need to find out if longer than a few hours at higher altitude will be OK or too “interesting”.  And I need to see how I’d fit in with the ministry needs of either team.  Which calls for a trip there.

Right now, I have the plane tickets and they’re scheduled for two weeks, the last part of January.  But, because both teams are limited on space and live on support, I still need to cover my housing, food, and travel between the two places.  So, I’m hoping you’re willing to help.  I have several ways you can do that.

  1. There’s a GoFundMe page, Send Bill to Costa Rica .
  2. Afar Off, my Kindle ebook about Palm Sunday through the Resurrection, emphasizing how we can apprehend Resurrection life, now.
  3. Breastplate Gems (Kindle edition) and Breastplate Gems (Paperback), our one year devotional book.  And, as an added bonus, buying the hardcopy will give a discount on the Kindle version.  You could keep one for yourself and give one as a gift.
  4. EDIT: I forgot one more.  Bill’s Musings has Amazon banner ads at the top.  That doesn’t pay much.  But, if all our readers who use Amazon, go there through those banners, it generates another small amount for the mission effort.

Any and all of those will help fund the trip, especially since I think I underestimated how much I need for everything I need to do.  And, of course, prayers are always welcome.  Slightly physically challenged, with COPD and emphysema (neither as bad as they should be for the number of years I was a smoker), and thinking of the missionfield at 72 are all reasons to think of me as the least likely missionary.  But, to me, that’s ideal — any success I have can only be God.  I get to live in  John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  It’s the only way to live.  And I’m excited!

How are you going to help make that possible?

About the author : Bill Kraski

Bill Kraski

I'm a Christian, friend, counselor, blogger, author, phone addict, music lover, reader. I'm an active part of the Pastoral Care Department of Greater Grace World Outreach Church in Baltimore, MD. And I'm one of the moderators of the Google+ Christian Bloggers community.

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