Ministry is a Result of Intimacy

 In Short-Term Volunteer

Jessica Onnembo | Member of Times Square Church Missions Team

Living at the feet of Jesus is the most beautiful place to be. I was sitting in the Medellin airport waiting to board our flight back to the United States this past November, along with a missions team of six women and two men from Times Square Church (TSC) when that statement took root so deeply in my heart.

To have been a part of all that God is doing in and through Ciudad de Refugio (City of Refuge) for just a few short days had been a gift from the Lord that showed me the eternal value of seeking to build His kingdom here on earth. To know of how Ciudad Refugio began as a ministry; birthed through a heart of obedience to Jesus’s command to fulfill the Gospel’s Great Commission in the city of Medellin, and then to stand in the present moment and look to the future with a confidence in God, knowing He truly has so much more in store for His people and His Church was truly amazing.

In being part of a TSC missions team, I can say from the beginning of our time at Ciudad Refugio, that our hearts were filled with gratitude in being able to witness the powerful work God is doing there. Redemptive, restorative, and eternal work is what we could all see in the development of God’s plan in this place.  To stand in the midst of the miraculous, where former drug addicts and alcoholics are being delivered and broken families are being restored is witnessing the Gospel alive and in action. During our time, we had the privilege to join in with a Child Cry feeding program and experience physically and spiritually standing alongside those who lived in impoverished villages located just outside the foundation. I recall this being the first reminder of what it means to live at the feet of Jesus. Living at His feet is the place where we as the Church can find common ground and it is the place where we understand our value according to Christ’s love for us. As the team served the children that first morning after arriving, teaching them Bible verses, singing songs, playing games and providing them with lunch, we truly witnessed God’s heart for these people and this place. Through allowing God to use us to share His heart and love, the concept of living at Jesus’s feet became not just an idea but an essential need. We need the presence of God in our lives, and our hearts desire to remain in Him, the true vine, this is our greatest longing. I think I can speak on behalf of the team and myself when I say that there comes a time in serving Christ and His Church you realize you are truly nothing without Him. But, His Word promises that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13). In order to find our significance while also making an impact for the kingdom of God we must respond to the call to rely on His presence, power and purposes. Our ability to do what God desires and has in store comes not from our ourselves, our creativity or spirituality, but from His enabling power. It is God  who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can imagine in our lives and in the lives of others (Ephesians 3:20).  Only by living a life of surrender and humility are we able to take a posture of strength at His feet, seeing in full view the true beauty of living for the glory of His name.

There were several other moments during our time in Medellin that the women on our team were able to powerfully witness God’s love through the women in the program. On one of the mornings, our missions team along with some of the women of the foundation were completing tasks for the day – peeling, cutting and chopping fruits and vegetables in preparation for the meals that day. I think honestly that was the place I was least expecting to experience the mighty power of God. But as we were completing the “tasks” I began talking with one of the women in the program and getting to know her. As we continued to share testimonies of what God has done in our lives and prayer needs, it was then I was flooded with the understanding once again that we weren’t just completing “to-do’s” for the day or even doing a good work for the approval of others, but more than that we were offering worship to our God as everything we were doing was for the purpose to glorify Him. As I sat there with fruit and a knife in my hand talking to one of the women, we began to shed tears over the goodness of our God and share how living for Jesus and His purpose comes from a heart to offer thanks and delight in God alone. By living at His feet, we were able to love one another as Christ loved us. As the week progressed and we were able to worship our Lord in a time of Bible study and prayer and then enjoying a time of fellowship at the botanical garden, that reminder of living at Jesus’s continued to be so evident. Living surrendered to the cause of Christ is where we find our desire to serve. “Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many people” (Matthew 20:28).

In God’s presence, we are able to be an extension of His love, beauty and grace to people as the Lord leads us to, in the places He takes us to, and in the acts of service He calls us to.  Our challenge during our time serving at Ciudad de Refugio, surrounded by a worldly metropolis was that in the midst of it all that we would keep our eyes fixed on the “Lord of the works,” and not the “works of the Lord.”  The examples established by the leaders and community members of Ciudad de Refugio showed us the value of who we are as members of the body of Christ. We were able to understand the supply and anointing to freely love, serve, obey, and live for the benefit of others, is given to us only by spending quality time with Jesus – at His feet. In His presence we exchange our motives, desires, and abilities for the will and desires of our God as led by His spirit.  During our mid week service at the foundation, we had the privilege of singing one of my favorite worship songs, “No Hay Lugar.” That was confirmation that the message from the Lord to live surrendered to Him was what He desired our team to take hold of just as He desires for all members of the family of Christ. “No hay lugar más alto, más grande que estar a tus pies // there is no place that’s higher, that’s greater, than to be at Your feet.” 

The work taking place at Ciudad Refugio is miraculous and eternal, not temporal. The demographics of Medellin may be lacking material things, the people may be surrounded by the world’s plague of hopelessness, but the people of Medellin are God’s children and the testimonies of men and women who are called and walk through the ministry of Ciudad Refugio truly exemplify what it means love Jesus with all of their hearts because they know in His where they find refuge and strength. God is moving and this is just the beginning. My prayer is for His Church and all of Ciudad is to witness, know and value a life surrendered at the feet of Jesus.

 

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