God Is In Control!

It is hard to believe that I came to the Dominican Republic as a Missionary Intern SEVEN months ago! The year has been flying! Since the summer ended I have been busy. I started teaching English in a local private school and it has been a challenge. So many say that the classes in the USA are difficult but here I feel it is even worse. I have walked out of class completely discouraged and not knowing if I want to continue. Only to receive encouragement and prayers from so many! Teaching English is more difficult than I ever expected!! But the joys come from seeing the children outside of class and them running up to me yelling “TEACHER!” and I receive group hugs and smiles. It makes the difficult days’ worth it! I am still learning how to teach them, and I must be extremely firm with one of my classes. One of the classes I didn’t think was understanding anything and I was discouraged. I didn’t know how to get down to their level.

However, there is this one boy, Oscar, who has showed me that they are learning! One day I asked them if anyone in the class could sing the ABC’s song that I had taught them. Oscar raised his hand and proudly sang the song. His pronunciation of the letters was clear, and he didn’t miss a single letter! Even his teacher said WOW! I was so excited that day! Because it was kind of like God was saying to me, “I have you! They are learning!” God is so good! The school didn’t have the resources to purchase English Books. And with your help He has provided books for all these children, and they were so excited to receive them! I even heard the words, “We get a book??” from many of them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible!

God has been teaching me so much while I have been here. Some days He sends others to speak into my life, some days it is through His Word, and some days it is BOTH. You know that when God hits you across the head multiple ways that you really need to sit up and listen! One thing that He has been teaching me is to truly depend on Him. I won’t lie, this has me nervous at times. I sit here and look at my finances and don’t know how I am going to make ends meet. But God provides! Please join me in prayers regarding my finances. Currently I am sitting at 70% funded for the year and there are living expenses that must be paid.  I am trusting that God will provide, He has brought me here, so I know that He will provide!

Another thing that He has been teaching me is that it isn’t all about Becca. This I feel is a HUGE lesson to learn. In the States we have come to expect what we want when we want it. We just go do whatever we want to do. But here it’s not always the case. We must put others before ourselves and this can be a hard and difficult thing to do at times. God has really been humbling me in the aspect that I have to depend on others and they can’t always stop what they are doing to help me.

Something else that God has been showing me is that to be a missionary it’s not easy! When I came I am honestly not sure what I thought it would be like. Part of me thought oh it will be easy!! We are doing God’s work. But, I have no idea why I thought this. Because when you are living the way God desires you to there are always road blocks thrown up. Because Satan doesn’t want us to succeed in God’s calling. He will do anything possible to stop the work! I have seen this many time since I have been here. With myself and with others. As missionaries and missionary interns, we don’t always agree with everything that is going on. But the thing that at the end of the day we all remember is GOD IS IN CONTROL! He will guide our footsteps every step of the way. We need to just trust and rely on Him.



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


Why should I serve in Monterrey, Mexico, with TIME Ministries?


My name is Aaron and I am a youth pastor from the Chicagoland area. I love TIME Ministries. My students love TIME Ministries. Our church loves TIME Ministries. For twenty years now our church has been sending groups to Monterrey with TIME Ministries. From its old location at the Elim church to its new location at the TIME Center in El Alamo, the mission of reaching the lost with the Gospel has remained the same. TIME works tirelessly to see young and old respond to the Gospel and get connected to the local church.

Connecting people to the local church is what I love most about TIME Ministries in Monterrey. Too often we see people come to Christ through the efforts of short-term groups but the organization fails to connect these people to a local church. The staff in Monterrey have connected with a vibrant and growing church called Nuevo Pacto. They are consistently connecting families with this church through their partnership. As a youth pastor I am responsible for leading many trips throughout the year. Partnering with TIME Ministries helps ease the burden of our summer mission trip. With TIME, all I have to do is choose my dates and purchase my airline tickets.

The rest of the logistics are taken care of by the TIME staff on the field in Monterrey. I have lead trips with other organizations which do not make the logistic planning nearly as easy. Since I do not have to take care of any other logistics like transportation, housing, or meals it frees me up to really prepare my students for the ministry we will be part of while on the field. This is a much better use of my time while preparing for the trip. With all of the logistics taken care of for me by the TIME staff, as a trip leader I have plenty of time and space to listen and respond to what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me. I don’t just love TIME Ministries because they are connecting people to the local church or because they take care of all the logistics for me.

I also love TIME Ministries because of what God has done in my life through this organization. I have now been on twelve short-term trips with TIME Ministries in Monterrey. Each time I travel to Monterrey God does a tremendous work in my own life. When I was a junior in high school God used the work in Monterrey to call me to full-time vocational ministry. During our March 2017 trip God had some important lessons to teach me. I had the time and the space to be able to listen.

That specific trip has turned out to be the most influential short-term trip in my life because of the fruit it has produced. If short-term missions is new for you and your church, TIME Ministries is a great place to start. I personally guarantee that you will have a great experience. Not only will God use you to bring about eternal fruit for His Kingdom in others, he will also bring about eternal fruit in your life. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at aaron@growdeepreachwide.org. God bless!



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}


Understanding Grace

My dad was a proud man, not arrogant but never wanting to not seem be in control. When in his mid-70’s, I persuaded him to attended Bible Study Fellowship along with me. As my elderly mother’s caregiver and reluctant to leave her alone, my daughters stepped up to stay with her on his evenings away, effectively eliminating any reason not to attend. To my knowledge this was his first ever organized bible study, other than a mandatory class in college years before.

At BSF, if unable to complete the lesson beforehand you were not allowed to talk within your group. Fearing the guys might know he was new to studying the bible, he worked hard on the lessons, answering every question as best he could. As the oldest guy in the group, he felt he knew the least. I assured him nobody looked at him that way and enjoyed having him there. Still, he was careful with his words and rarely asked questions for fear of looking like the new guy.

One night, several weeks into the study while driving home, Dad asked me; “I keep hearing the word “Grace” used and don’t know what it means.”Wow- what a great question to ask me! I explained it was like having your debts paid by someone else for free- like unearned favor. In my father’s typical fashion, he stated he understood, then changed the topic. Having to ask me in the first place was embarrassing for him but I know he pondered my answer.

The reality that salvation is a gift does not go well with some people, especially if you’ve attempted to earn it all your life. It seems the older we get, the more set in our ways we become. To be told the good works you’ve been piling up over the years won’t count when you stand before the Lord can be a hard pill to swallow, and to learn they are as filthy rags almost insulting. We have the natural desire to earn it ourselves and take credit in doing so. But God’s plan is different than ours- to place our faith in the grace of Christ’s death in our place to be saved.

As a salesman years ago, I met an elderly man at his simple rural home. We sat together at his kitchen table while he told me of his terminal illness, not having long to live. He told me of his life, his work done for God, his church affiliation and being a good person. Laying out his resume for acceptance to heaven, he would trust in his good works. I explained the gospel, that by placing his trust in Christ’s death for his sins and receiving Him as Savior, he could know for certain of his eternity. His reply was sobering but honest- he believed God would be fare and he would accept whatever God gave him. When his widow called to tell me of his death a few months later, I was sad but knew God was fare, but finds no pleasure in the death of a man who has not placed his trust in Christ.

When Christ was crucified, two condemned men hung on either side. While one mocked and cursed Him, the other asked Christ to remember him when He came into to His kingdom. Jesus’ reply was straightforward: “Truly truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”As a convicted man, guilty and accepting of punishment, he acknowledged the innocence of Christ and trusted Him for his salvation. Jesus paid the price for his sins, and the reward of eternal life for believing on Him. That very day the thief saw paradise with Christ.

So, did my dad place his trust in Christ? After 20 years of prayer and sometimes frustration, I had pretty much decided to quit asking and to just give it to God. Then one morning while eating breakfast together at McDonalds, out of the blue dad confesses his understanding of grace, that we are save by unearned favor, and that our works play no part in our salvation. He got it, and in God’s perfect timing.

We are called to tell of Christ’s love to a lost world, while it is the Holy Spirit who changes their hearts. Don’t stop praying for those people in your lives. Pride may get in the way, but the Lord can soften the heart. God is patient, not wishing for any to perish apart from His son. Be patient, God has it handled.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  

Scott Longstreet




{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}