Go Where I Send Thee!

Go Where I Send Thee!

This weekend we will commission our Swaziland Team as they answer that Great Commission call to “go into all the earth.” One of the things that makes this team unique is that half of the team will be here in the Harbor and the other half will be boarding a plane to Swaziland on Thursday. Half of the team call themselves the Beacons Cove Group, a LifeGroup that’s been around since before we called LifeGroups “LifeGroups.”

Their friendship with Peter and Mary Jean Kopp at New Life Homes runs so deep that the Kopps will quickly tell you they are members of the Beacons. These are the people who prayed with the Kopps as they sought the Lord’s leading on how to respond to the HIV/AIDS orphan crisis in Swaziland. These are the people who prayed for each house that was built and the children and house moms who would make each house a home. These are the people who worked to get a whole church excited about buying chickens and piglets for the farm that now supports the homes and school. This group has shown me the global impact one LifeGroup can have and the power of long-term friendship. 

The Beacons have participated in the trainings. They have gathered the items requested by the Kopps for the school. They have prepared a special tea to honor the House Moms. And they will be covering the traveling team in prayer as we go. They are very much a part of the team.

The other half of the team goes under the mantle of friendship between the Beacons and New Life Homes. Although we wish the whole team could make the journey, the traveling team feels honored to be ambassadors for both Chapel Hill and the Beacons. While we sing songs with the kids and work alongside the Kopps on the farm, we will have the Beacons at the forefront of our minds and close to our hearts. And we are thrilled to have one couple from the group making the trek with us!

As I considered the uniqueness of this team straddling two sides of the globe, both Rachel Toone and Pastor Larry’s recent sermons came to mind. As we barrel down towards our departure date, it would be easy to get caught up in the minutes ticking away and the mounting urgency of the to-do list. However, the cadence of this team has caused us to slow down and consider each moment as a whole team as God appointed. Each training attended and each activity planned feels ripe with anticipation of what the Lord is doing in our own hearts as we prepare to go and we prepare to send.

Rachel’s sermon on Acts 1:8 challenged me to reflect on the local and global calling we each have on our lives. We are all called to be a witness to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. As Rachel preached, the word that struck me in that list was not a location but a conjunction, the word “and.” I realized that in my own head I subconsciously substitute “and” for “or.” But with a year of New Testament Greek on my seminary transcript, I can tell you Acts 1:8 clearly calls the disciples to be a witness to “Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

In the past I took the verse as a challenge to be where the Lord called me, not grasping that I was called to be a witness to my neighbor, and my city, and my enemy, and the kid living at New Life Homes. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I must be deliberate and intentional about sharing the good news that our God loves and saves us. I must seek out ways to share that news with my neighbor, my city, my enemy, and the kid living in Swaziland. Our home team has shown me that it is possible to be two places at once. The tea lovingly planned for the house moms, the video of encouragement made for the Kopps, the prayers surrounding the traveling team; these are all testimonies of a God who loves the children at New Life Homes, the Kopps, the moms, and Chapel Hill.

I hope you all will join the home team and pray for us as we go. Tell the story of New Life Homes to the people God has placed in your life. Help us be a team that has local and global impact.

 Here we go!

Julie Hawkins
Director of Missions