By Timothy – TN
I was recently thinking about how the Lord used Agua Viva in my family’s lives to draw all of us closer to Him and His work. I first went to Agua Viva as part of a father/daughter mission trip from Kirby Woods Baptist Church in Memphis during the summer of 2000. The trip was led by Chris Gault, and we had a team of eighteen. I had the honor of taking two of my daughters, Amanda and Caitlyn (my youngest daughter Rebecca would join us a few years later). Chris and I were asked to join the GCM board the following year, and we both felt led by the Lord to become part of this special ministry. Over the years, I have been honored to work with all the men and women who have served on the GCM board.
The year prior to becoming acquainted with Agua Viva, my eldest daughter Amanda had gone with me on our first international mission trip to Zimbabwe, Africa. On that amazing trip, the Lord opened my eyes to His world and His kingdom work. I remember praying in the African bush, committing to the Lord to go on at least one international mission trip each year, and taking my daughters and wife when they desired. That commitment resulted in an awesome time for the next 23 years as our family engaged in living on a mission for our Lord in Memphis, our nation, and the uttermost parts of the world. The Lord allowed us to go on at least one international trip annually, and sometimes we were able to participate in several trips. The trip to Agua Viva became an annual family event for several years.
My family’s desire to serve the Lord at Agua Viva helped develop our lives and increased our desire to be used by the Lord by focusing on kingdom work, sharing our faith with the lost, and engaging with internationals in our community through teaching ESL. We love sharing our faith as we go through life as 2 Timothy 4:2 instructs us: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. Our introduction to living as a family on mission started at our little home in Guatemala.
Agua Viva helped me to understand what I think are three major blessings when a family from the United States participates in international mission trips. First, your eyes are opened to God’s amazing world and work. Salvation is for people from every nation and to experience that is life changing. To engage a different culture than your own as well as to share Jesus Christ and to worship Him are very powerful. Second, you learn to appreciate wherever God has placed you in the world to become part of His kingdom work. We do not get to choose the country where we are born, the family in which we are reared, or whether or not we are born into a Christ-centered home. We should appreciate whatever nation God has placed us in and get engaged with our culture for Christ’s kingdom! Lastly, you get to see the power of the dollar in kingdom work. When you are born into a nation with a strong economy, the power of that currency can be greatly multiplied in less prosperous nations. An excellent example of this is the Agua Viva school which opened in 2006. A large part of that initial expenditure was from an anonymous donation of $100,000. I still do not know who the giver was, but the Lord blessed Agua Viva greatly through his/her generosity. I have a cousin who raises funds for nonprofits and when I told him what the Lord did through the anonymous donor, he thought it was impossible to build a school with such little funding. Oh, the power of the exchange rate when blessed by God! Adults and children need to understand the blessing the Lord has accomplished just by placing us where He desired us to grow up. Don’t overlook that blessing!