Missions – An Unromantic Task of Obedience

Recently I was talking with a fellow worker about missions and God’s work around the world. It seems we have romanticized missions to make it attractive and appealing to the young and the energetic. Though we can try to attract young people to missions, there is a very unromantic part of missions which we do not talk about much. So, if you allow me to deromanticize missions for a moment, I would like to show you a bit of the reality of missions.

The reality of missions is that missionaries have many mundane tasks and responsibilities. Though we live in a foreign country, eat foreign foods, and buy foreign products, we still live, eat, buy, sell, repair, etc.

Recently my shoe repair abilities have become the joke at church. I cannot tell you how many pairs of shoes I have glued over the past four years here in Rondônia. Any shoes that have been stored for a while without use can easily come unglued because of the heat. We have saved hundreds of dollars by gluing those shoes back together, but it takes time and effort.

Last week I asked myself, “what have I done all week?” Though I know I had done some planning, praying, and preparing for certain tasks, there was nothing to show for it. My week seemed very dull and uninteresting. It must have been dull because it is hard to remember!

As missionaries, we write letters to our churches about the “interesting” things that happen. However, most of our lives are filled with routine tasks. It is not every day that I am out with wild Indians, canoeing down the river, fighting off the alligators! We only do those things on special occasions. Normally, we take care of things like mowing the grass, writing emails, paying bills, fixing the car, making visits, going to church, picking people up for church, cleaning, cooking, and many other routine events. In other words, most of our lives are “nothing to write home about”. Yet, we press on knowing that God is using us in our routine tasks.

Our unromantic missionary lives have us doing what many do in the US every week. Recently I spent several days trying to transfer the tags on my car to the city we moved to last year. I had to run to the bank several times, take the car to the DOT several times and have the car inspected. Though a bit more bureaucratic than in the US, it was nothing to write home about.

Politics play their role on the foreign field just as they do in the US. News of the presidential elections in the US has kept us just as interested as the former president being arrested here in Brazil. Both are playing a role in the value of the dollar. The dollar dropped almost forty cents due to the prospect of a new government here in Brazil. You may ask what all of this has to do with missions. It has everything to do with missions. We live in Brazil, so every day we use the Brazilian currency which we receive when we exchange dollars. We use this currency to pay church bills, support missionaries, and put gas in our car to pick people up for church.

Once in a while we have a great opportunity that comes with a unique story. However, if we think missions is all about the unique stories and experiences we can become bored with our lives. We may even think that God is not using us because our lives do not match up to Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, John and Betty Stam, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, or many of the other missionaries whose biographies we have read and who are now our heroes.

The truth is that God is interested in faithful men. So many churches are hurting for help. There are dozens of cities around us that are calling for laborers. The closest church to them that preaches the Gospel may be a hundred miles away or much more than that. The task is great. It requires faithful men to stay the test of time and be an example of the believer to those around them.

So many times people are looking for a path to fame. Missions is not a path to fame! Missions is not a road to success! Missions is simply a matter of obedience. It is taking the Gospel to those around you.

Globalization has made the task of becoming a missionary a bit easier. Yet, the task seems much harder because we are challenged with new thoughts and philosophies that threaten Christianity. We are challenged by materialism, gadgets, and entertainment. We are taught that we can be anything we want to be in this world. If you want to be a doctor, you can be a doctor. If you want to be a musician, you can be a musician. However, that thought is faulty when it comes to missions. The idea has come across that we can be William Carey, Amy Carmichael, Bruce Olson, Jonathan Goforth, David Brainerd, or even like Paul. Yet, the truth is that we need only to be what God wants us to be. We need to be faithful! We need to be obedient!

Now, returning to the original thought, missions is not always the romantic idea we may read about in the biographies. Missions is a simple obedience to the Great Commission! Prepare your Sword, put on your shield of faith, wear your work gloves, put on those steel toe boots, find your trowel, and mix up the mortar! Nehemiah 4:18 says, “For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.” We should never stop working while we wait for God to give us “something to write home about.”

I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

February 2016 – Prayer Letter

February 2016
Prayer Letter – January 2016


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Updated Pages

I have recently updated a few pages on our website to include the most current information. We hope to keep you as up-to-date as possible. Of course, we have other things to do than just update you on what we are doing, so occasionally we get behind. If you have not been on our website in a while, take a look around. Here are a few of the pages that have been updated.

Ministry Websites

Contact

Please continue to pray for the work here in the city of Vilhena. Pray that souls would come to know Christ as their Savior and others would grow in the Lord. God is working in hearts and we are praying that His will be done in all of our lives.

A Church Facebook Page

Patience and prayer are always a good thing. Sometimes we might get a bit discouraged when we do not see the fruit of our labors. This weekend I was reminded that the Lord is working in hearts and drawing people to Himself. What we do for the cause of Christ is a part of His plan and the Lord uses those opportunities as He wishes.

Even before we moved to Vilhena we were praying that our paths would be directed to meet the right people at the right time. A few weeks after being here I started a Facebook page for the church. We have posted some devotional type materials on there as well as pictures of some of the events at church. We advertised just a bit in the community as well.

Facebook Page

All the work and hours invested in the site have already paid off. We still look forward to what the Lord will do with it in the future.

About a week ago, we received a message from a young man who was looking for a job. He talked about coming to church, but did not know his way around the city. We communicated with him through messages several different times through the week. On Saturday we were able to make a visit with him. Sunday evening he came to church! He is very excited about participating in the church. We look forward to helping him settle the matter of his salvation and baptism as we have more opportunities to spend time with him.

Though I know we are just beginning to work with this young man, it is amazing to see God’s hand at work. I believe that God has been working in his family’s life for many years in order to bring him to our church. You may think that is a little far fetched, but let me explain.

  • His grandparents moved to Brazil from Japan as children in the mid 1900s.
  • Brazil is a very evangelical country. Some areas have much more of a Gospel presence than others.
  • On his mother’s side of the family, his aunts and uncles all moved to Rondônia where we now live.
  • He along with his immediate family lived about 1,250 miles south of Rondônia.
  • Through some strange circumstances including weird dreams, he was directed to an evangelical church.
  • Persecution from his Buddhist family made it very difficult for him to continue following the Lord and going to church.
  • Due to his “conversion”, they had him put in a mental hospital.
  • After a few years under this persecution, he decided to move up north to Rondônia to get away from it.
  • He moved to Vilhena to live with an aunt and help take care of his family in the area.
  • He was attending a Baptist church down south, so he searched for a Baptist church here in Vilhena. Our church was the first to show up in his search.

Now, that is just a quick version with the basic points that connected us. We could go on and explain how that God put in our heart to reach the world through Brazil. We have websites with Gospel materials in Japanese, yet God brought his family to Brazil where they learned the Portuguese language, then allowed him to come in contact with some Christians and begin seeking after Christ. Through persecution he is placed right here in our city and our church is the first he comes across.

I believe this is God’s work. He may be altering plans for hundreds of years in order for you to be in a specific place at a specific time. What an amazing God we serve! Just like he used Cesar Augustus to make a decree that every person in the world should be taxed so that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, He also does the very same thing millions of times all over this world so that people can hear His Word. Open your eyes and see what God is doing!

Prayer Letter November – December 2015


Prayer Letter – November / December 2015


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Here are four ways to keep up with the Tylers…

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Men’s Retreat in Porto Velho

The past week was an interesting week. I left last Saturday for a trip to Porto Velho, the capital of our state of Rondônia. It is quite a drive from our house considering the road conditions. The trip was about 450 miles one way. It took me around 10 hours to drive it.

On the way up, I stopped in Ouro Preto do Oeste the town in which we were previously working. It was about half way up and I was able to stay for the Sunday morning service and preach to the church people. Not only did Julie Kokenzie provide some great meals while I was there, but John also let me preach on Sunday morning. It was a huge blessing to see the church growing and to see the faithfulness of the people. We still have many friends there and enjoy every chance we get to see them.

 

Preaching in Ouro Preto
Church in Ouro Preto

Bro. Brian Lawson met me in Ouro Preto and kept me company for the remainder of my trip. We had a good time of fellowship riding together, and he had a chance to visit a few churches and meet many people.

Shortly after lunch on Sunday Bro. Brian and I headed out to Porto Velho. We arrived in time to freshen up before the service. Pastor Adonias invited me to preach on Sunday evening in church and also at the retreat they were having on Monday. We had about 50 men at the camp retreat. The morning service was great, but it was worth the drive just to sit and talk to some of the men from the church for a good part of the day. There were different activities during the day including a soccer tournament. By the end of the day we were very tired, yet refreshed by the fellowship.

By late in the afternoon, most of the men were heading home. One particular man, who is in politics, drove us around the neighborhood of the camp and told us the story of how God supplied the money for the church to have the camp. He was able to help make the access to the camp a bit easier and also helped get electricity out to the camp. This has raised the value of the property. Some neighbors who were selling their property for 20,000-30,000 are now trying to sell for 250,000. Though it might not quite be worth all of that, the church has a great camp and the property is worth much more than when they bought it less than two years ago.

We stayed out at the camp until Tuesday morning, then made our trip back home. I dropped Bro. Brian off in Ji-Paraná and arrived at home at nearly 9pm. It was a tiresome trip, but worth every bit of it to spend time with God’s people around the state. God is doing a great work here in the state of Rondônia. There is much going on for His glory. Please pray that more laborers would join the work force and more churches would be started throughout the state.

An Outdated Prayer Letter

Many times in writing a prayer letter, by the time it is ready, I am forced to rewrite the letter because the information is outdated or irrelevant. Our last prayer letter for October 2015 was outdated when it went out. I decided to go ahead and send it out even though it was lacking more information. So, let me try to get you updated on the outdated.

Update #1

The last paragraph of the prayer letter held the most information about the ministry. In it, I mentioned a couple that was forced to leave due to a medical issue that needed to be solved.

They were gone for one Sunday. Upon their return, they told us the story. She no longer has any problem whatsoever. After looking at her exams, the doctor asked who did the exams. He questioned about the lab and the doctors, then said he did not understand. The exams were hers, but he could not find any sign of a problem. He looked at the chart again and again and told her that she did not have what the exams said she had.

Just to make sure this was true, he sent her down the street for more exams. The new exams confirmed that she did not have any issues whatsoever. The doctors at the lab compared and verified the information from the past exams, but said she no longer had any issues.

Wow! Considering the fact that she had a large tumor and other easily noticeable issues, this is amazing. Upon their return, they expressed to us that, though they did not understand it, God had healed her. She will need to go back in a few months and have more exams, but as it stands right now, she is doing very well.

For us this was a great blessing because now we can continue to work with them. Their financial situation is not good, but their spiritual situation is what bothers us most of all. They have been faithful in coming to church on Sunday evening, and even on some Thursdays. Please pray for their salvation. Their names are Ivan and Sandra.

 

Update #2

The last paragraph of the prayer letter also included a quick note about a young lady who had publicly announced that she had trusted Christ as her Savior. This has not changed at all. She is very faithful to the services, is eager to learn, and is being discipled by one of the missionary wives. Amen! Please continue to pray for her. Her name is Daniela.

That same paragraph said that others were forced to consider salvation for themselves. Before I could send out the letter, we had already heard of two more who have said they have trusted Christ as Savior. Both a husband (Marcio) and wife (Fabiana) separately have told us that while alone at home they asked the Lord to forgive their sins and save them! They have expressed changes in their lives that they believe the Lord would have them make. We still have much ground to cover and much to help them understand, but there is no doubt that God is working in their lives.

One of the couples that have been attending has a background in the Seventh Day Adventists. Without knowing that, we have taught over and over again that the law cannot save you. It only shows you that you make mistakes (Romans 7:7). They agree with what is being taught. Though there is opposition from their families, they now say they are part of our church. Our main concern is their salvation! We want them to learn the truth from the Bible, but not stop at that. They need to take action in their own hearts and believe! Please pray for them. Their names are Adinaldo and Jéssica.

Prayer Letter September-October 2015


Prayer Letter – September/October 2015


E-mail sent with Prayer Letter

New Pictures

Here are four ways to keep up with the Tylers…

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3. Prayer Letters – Sign up to receive our prayer letter on the column to the right.

4. E-mail – Write to us HERE

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