Thursday, May 22, 2014

Giving away or giving up?

One of my dear missionary friends, Cas, wrote a blog post that got me thinking. She really put into words what I've been trying to say for a while. I've written a follow up to Cas' post. You can read hers: click HERE
Thanks for writing this Cas! If you don't have time to read her whole post, the following paragraph is especially powerful:

"Friends, if sacrifice feels easy, it’s not really sacrifice. Real, true sacrifice costs you something that you have to give up, not just give away. The giving away is easy. The giving up is hard."

In her post, Cas talked about cheerfully giving away many of her things but cringing at the thought of giving away her sewing treasures. With her daughter's help she chose to give up some of her treasures and send them to a village where the Bible workers are offering sewing classes. These classes are one way that the Bible workers can gain rapport with the villagers and build friendships that have the potential to extend into eternity.

A few months ago I packed and shipped a couple "Christmas" barrels with gifts and other needed items for the missionaries in Guyana. In those barrels were two older but good quality sewing machines that had been given to GMI through a donation that I had organized. I asked the missionaries in Guyana to "hold" the machines for me until DJ and I got back there, with hopes of using them at the mission school where we were staying. I'll admit that I was a little upset when I heard that the sewing machines had been sent out to Bible workers in remote villages without even asking me!

As I read Cas' blog post, I quickly resounded with the difference between giving something away and giving something up. I sent down all sorts of things in the barrels that I "gave away" cheerfully. But I didn't want to give away those machines because the sacrifice seemed so great. ...they were so nice, they would have been so handy to have, I could have kept at least one of them... such selfish thoughts! Over time, God reminded me that I had freely received those sewing machines and that I should freely give them too. He helped me "give up" those machines. It was hard, but I knew the Bible workers really needed them.

You know, God gives things away all the time - things like life, air, health, strength, good food, clean water, and the list goes on... But there is one thing that God gave up. That one thing was Jesus. Jesus gave up his home in heaven to life here in this dirty, sin-sick world. He gave up His place in heaven for a short while to show us what a life connected to the Father could be like. And then He gave up His life as a sacrifice to take the place of man's sins. That sacrifice wasn't just for Adam; it was for you and me. It cost God something. God gave up Himself so that you and I could simply have the option of eternal life. Jesus' death didn't even secure our decision to take that free gift, it just gave us the option.

When we go through experiences that allow us the opportunity to give up things, let's rejoice with the apostle Paul who said in his letter to the Philippians:

"Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own..., but that which comes through faith in Christ. ...
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ...
[For] our citizenship is in heaven."
Philippians 3, ESV

To quote Cas again,
"Friends, if sacrifice feels easy, it’s not really sacrifice. Real, true sacrifice costs you something that you have to give up, not just give away. The giving away is easy. The giving up is hard."

God has given us the ultimate Gift in Jesus Christ. Will we accept His sacrifice and choose eternal life? It's truly the only thing worth living for; and it's surely the one thing worth giving up everything for.

Friday, May 16, 2014

In Bolivia once again!




The road on the TV Station/Aviation property.

A typical Bolivian clothes/meat line and yard.

The "urbanizacion" that is springing up on the other side
of the runway.

Our neighbors on the other side of the runway.

DJ watching a burrowing owl's nest, waiting for the chickies.

Sunset on the runway/wellhouse. Hangar is shiny roof in back.

Working on the turbo-charged C182.

Steve with his moto-truck, taking tools out to the airport
to work on the third airplane hangared there.

...hmmm, I guess it needs a bit of work...


DJ, Herman, Steve, and Baby Timothy tackle the organization
of the "aviation" tool/parts container.

After it's all done :) Nice and organized,
makes work more efficient!

Parts storage at the front of the container.

Dear friends,

A cool breeze drifts through the open window, making me thankful for my jacket. It’s the beginning of the cold season south of the equator. It was so nice to see the spring flowers and new leaves emerging and feel the reassuring warmth of sunshine in Tennessee before arriving all too quickly again in “winter.”

Two weeks ago, we arrived in Santa Cruz, Bolivia early Friday morning. We saw God’s hand clearly moving in our behalf during those final hours of packing and during the trip itself: being reminded to take important documents, finishing projects just in time, and receiving abundant traveling mercies.

The most exciting adventure from the trip happened Thursday night as we passed through the airport in Lima, Peru. In our luggage we had a few airplane parts, one of which was a new fuel pump. You can imagine how the airport security screening didn’t like the looks of it in their machine, only to pull it out and find out that it was a “bomba combustible” (bomba meaning both pump and bomb…). After much discussion and the threat of throwing this $900 part in their plexiglas showcase with the other pocket knives and scissors, the Lord mercifully prompted us to ask the right questions: Can you show me the list where it says that a never-been-used fuel pump is hazardous material? and, Can I speak with your boss? I finally spoke with a very nice airline agent who understood our situation, the value of the item, and how it had never had fuel in it. She spent a long time on the phone, convincing the person on the other end that it would be safe to take it on the plane. Shortly before midnight we boarded the plane with the part in hand, grateful that God worked everything out for good!

***

We came to Bolivia with two goals in mind: to help work on the three mission airplanes in Santa Cruz and to take a survey trip to the highlands of Bolivia where we would like to extend the mission work. An advanced jungle flying course and a few prior commitments will have us back in the States for August/September. After that we look forward to God’s plans for us, be they in Bolivia, Guyana, the States, or elsewhere.

Our first goal of getting the airplanes to an airworthy condition is well on its way. All three planes need a good deal of work done to them after sitting for over three years in a customs/importation paperwork lock. I am excited to say that I’m sitting inside a house (that we helped build three years ago), looking out at a newly constructed hangar with two of the three mission planes under its roof. It’s nice that “work” is only 200 ft. from “home!” And, of course everything takes longer here – shopping for food, cooking food, doing laundry, taking public transportation… you know, the things that make up basic survival… but, besides those things we’ve been busy working with the other missionary pilot/mechanics to get the first airplane, a turbo-charged Cessna 182, through its annual inspection.

We have aspirations that this Cessna 182, with its special turbo-charged engine, will be an extension of our second goal: opening mission work again in the high country of Bolivia. It has been decades since an Adventist church missionary (or any other missionary) has worked in that part of the country and we are excited that God has put it on our hearts. So why use an airplane? you may ask. In a nutshell, an airplane is simply a means of reaching people in places that would be otherwise closed or inaccessible to the gospel through free emergency medical transport. We hope to see clinics, schools, and Bible workers continue the work begun with the medical evacuation services, a method that has worked very well in our sister projects around the world.

***

Thank you for your interest in God’s mission work around the world. May God bless each of you as you seek to work for Him wherever He has planted you. May you grow in grace and may God’s peace fill you.

We are happy to include you on future email updates. Please send us an email: djandjodi@gmail.com, if you would like to receive e-copies of these updates.

Blessings,

DJ and Jodi Knott