SOME DANGERS FACED BY MISSIONARIES IN LATIN AMERICA

IT JUST COMES WITH THE TERRITORY

Evangelical missionaries working in Latin America, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Venezuela, encounter a complex web of risks depending on the specific location and context. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of potential dangers:

General Dangers:

  • Crime: Petty theft, mugging, assault, and even kidnapping are all possibilities, especially in areas with high poverty rates. Gang violence can be a significant threat in some urban centers.
  • Political Instability: Latin America has a history of political unrest, protests, and violence. Missionaries may get caught in the crossfire of demonstrations or targeted due to their perceived affiliation with foreign powers.
  • Health Concerns: Access to quality healthcare can be limited in many areas. Missionaries may face exposure to diseases like dengue fever, Zika, malaria, and foodborne illnesses due to inadequate sanitation or unfamiliar food sources.
  • Natural Disasters: Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods are common occurrences in many parts of Latin America. In some places, even volcanic eruptions. Missionaries need to be prepared for potential emergencies and natural disasters.
  • Cultural Clashes: Language barriers, misunderstandings due to differing social norms, beliefs and tensions arising from attempts to introduce the Gospel can create many challenges. Missionaries need to invest time in understanding the local culture and building relationships for their own protection and well-being. When you win them over, many times they are very loyal and thankful and will look out for you.

Variations in Risk by Location:

Big Cities:

  • Heightened Crime: In the bigger cities it is easier to find good schools, hospitals, more availability of medications, car parts and much better variety of food. Unfortunately, crime rates, including violent crime, tend to be significantly higher in major urban centers compared to rural areas. Missionaries should exercise extra caution in poorer neighborhoods and be aware of their surroundings.
  • Social Unrest: Large cities are often the focal point for political demonstrations and protests, which can escalate into violence. Missionaries should stay informed about potential disruptions and avoid large gatherings during volatile times.

Small Towns and Countrysides:

  • Limited Resources: Access to quality healthcare, reliable communication networks, and essential supplies may be scarce in remote areas. Missionaries need to be prepared for these limitations and have contingency plans in case of emergencies.
  • Isolation: Missionaries working in remote areas can feel isolated from support networks and experience loneliness. Building strong relationships with local people and maintaining communication with their home base is crucial for their well-being.
  • Infrastructure Issues: Poor roads, limited public transportation, and unreliable electricity can pose logistical challenges and hinder movement, especially in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Country-Specific Risks:

  • Venezuela: Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crisis creates a particularly dangerous environment. Food shortages, hyperinflation, and social unrest can significantly impact safety. Missionaries considering Venezuela should carefully assess the situation and weigh the risks before deploying.
  • Haiti: Extreme poverty, gang violence, and a vulnerability to natural disasters make Haiti a challenging environment. Missionaries need to be especially vigilant and have robust support structures in place.
  • Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic is generally considered safer than Haiti or Venezuela. However, petty theft and many other crimes still occur. So it’s best not to be naive. I have had robbers attempt many times to break into our house, they poisoned one of my dogs that protected us while we slept, the church plant in Santiago has been broken into several times, another missionary friend of mine suffered a home invasion, and they were tied up at gun point and locked in a bathroom with his pregnant wife while they stole everything. I can go on and on, but won’t. But to protect their strong tourism industry, it is likely that you won’t see much of that on the news back home.

(Unfortunately, being an American in any of these locations will automatically make you a target in one way or another by some. Missionaries should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions, especially in the barrios and even tourist areas. But if you left home to serve on the mission field, congratulations, it comes with the territory. )

Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • Missionary Training: Missionary should receive training on cultural sensitivity, safety protocols, and emergency preparedness specific to the Latin American context.
  • Security Awareness: Missionaries need to be aware of the current security situation in their area and take steps to minimize risks. This may involve avoiding certain areas, traveling with a companion, and varying routines to avoid predictability.
  • Local Support Networks: Building relationships with local people who can provide guidance and support is essential. Understanding the local culture and customs can help missionaries navigate potentially risky situations.
  • Communication Plan: Having a clear communication plan with their home base or support organization allows missionaries to raise concerns and receive assistance in case of emergencies.

By carefully researching their destination, taking preventative measures, and building strong relationships with the local community, missionaries can mitigate many of the dangers they may face in Latin America.

Yet, these are all the more reasons why in many ways it is beneficial to work through the nationals with the proper training and accountability. They know this type of life better than we do, they are usually very used to these risks and already know how to best maneuver through most of these situations.

PASTOR, YOUR WAY OF PREACHING AMOUNTS TO NOTHING

 

PASTOR, YOUR WAY OF PREACHING AMOUNTS TO NOTHING

 

For it is said, “His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing.” – 2 Corintians 10:10

 

Paul was a man of tremendous intelligence. The mysteries of God had been revealed to him, things that were hidden in times past. His letters and sermons were deep and of great theological weight.

 

However, it was said of him that, “his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing”. Even with the knowledge he had, many did not like his way of speaking or preaching. He said true things, yes, pure words of God, nothing that was not biblical. But he was not as eloquent as other preachers, or even the philosophers of his day. We must remember that when we judge our pastors, or any preacher of the Word.

 

God has given pastors and teachers to His church as gifts to build up believers. At the same time, just like the different authors of the gospels, each one has his own distinct way of communicating the same truths. Some sound better than others, some have more passion than others, some are more eloquent and academic than others, each one is an individual person. And none of them will perfectly please your standard, opinion, tradition, or preference.

 

The question is whether they are faithful in preaching the Bible. Do they love the Word and the Lord and the church? Perhaps they do not preach in the way that you prefer. Perhaps they fail in one point or miss a detail of a text. But the question is whether God is building His people through that man? Does he have his weaknesses? Does he have his struggles and sins? Of course! They will have some theological differences with what you understand from Scripture in certain aspects too, yes! Almost always, at least in something for sure. But it is okay and normal as long as they are not fundamental things of faith where they fail.

 

We must strive to have unity in what is primary, liberty in what is secondary, but love in all things. There is true beauty in that diversity. I fear it is pride that causes us to despise those who don’t do things exactly the way we think they should be done. In many cases, it is something more traditional than Scriptural that we have a problem with.

 

We have several examples in the Scriptures of men who preach or tell stories correctly, but in different ways. Apollos was praised for his eloquence… while others despised Paul. Some include details that others do not, and vice versa. But are they preaching the Word in such a way that it is clear what they are saying in the text, and the brothers in the congregation are being benefited and built up by the teaching? Are they joyful and do they express to you how God has spoken to them and taught them something that they now understand they must change in their lives, giving thanks to God for those same sermons that others despise and judge?

 

They look at the men that God has greatly used in the past and present and compare their sermons. Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitfield, Pink, Tozer, Piper, MacArthur, etc. They all preach the Word, and with excellence! Some with different methods, some with more passion. Not only in the communication of the message, but also in the way it is organized. It is a beautiful thing how God, through different men and in different ways, always does His will through His Spirit to speak to and edify His people. At times, Spurgeon’s sermons sounded more like poetry than anything else.

 

When we cling to one method, and in our futile way try to limit the Holy Spirit of God by saying that only in such a way should a sermon be, and if not, the people will not be edified, we are showing nothing more than a deep pride in our hearts and a certain level of immaturity. The most important thing in any preacher’s message is that Christ is lifted up, that God is glorified,… but there is also much wisdom in the following verse.

 

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant, favoring one person over another.   – 1 Corinthians 4:6

 

It is true that there are better and more accurate methods than others. There are ways to preach more academically and effective than others in that sense. For the record, I personally am a fan of sound exegesis similar to the method of Simeon Trust. I like to examine the Greek and seek to have the confidence that I am saying what the text is actually saying and not something else. But when we set ourselves up as the ultimate judge of these things, especially when we are not a pastor, do not know the inner struggles of each man, the unique way each of us are wired, or when we are not appreciating the time and effort that man gives to be able to preach that message to the best of his ability at that moment, we are doing what the Word says we should not do. Complaining….

 

´ “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14‬ (For the theologians out there- if I understand the immediate context of this text, however, this can easily be applied to every aspect of Christian life.)

 

How easy it is to criticize instead of loving them and receiving the good from the message that was preached. How easy it is to desire another church, another pastor, or a better specific method of preaching, Instead of loving the church we have, loving the pastor we have, and looking for the good in what was preached instead of criticizing with crossed arms like the expert we probably are not. 

 

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. Sound teaching is important. Solid biblical exposition is important for the health and growth of the church, and I certainly promote both things. But even within the camps of sound doctrine and good biblical expositors, unfortunately it has become a trend to despise local pastors and glorify the celebrities. But while the well known pastors may preach well, they are still sinful men at best. Furthermore, they don’t even know you exist, meanwhile your local pastor regularly prays for you and has probably shed tears before the Lord on your behalf. Let that sink in for a minute.

 

We should be more careful how we treat our brothers, Philippians 2 teaches us that the humility of Christ is what brings unity in His church. And the lack of humility in any member of the church, for any reason, will only bring division and the opposite of what Christ truly desires of us. The same ugly attitude that causes us to complain, the desire for a better pastor, a better church, a better spouse, a better child or a better job are all from the same ugly root of ungratefulness. In other words, without being aware of what we are actually saying, we are thinking that God has somehow not been good to us, and we foolishly think that we deserve more or something better. It reeks of that which caused the fall in the beginning. We should guard our hearts of such things. Let him who has ears, let him hear. Pray.

 

The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. – 1 Timothy 5:17

 

“Above all, let your love for one another be fervent, for love covers a multitude of sins.” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬

 

“Fools do not care to have understanding; they only want to express their own opinions.” – ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:2‬ ‭

 

“Whoever keeps his words has knowledge, And the one who is calm in spirit is a man of understanding.” –  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:27‬

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511
You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)
You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

 

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

JESUS AMIGO DE PECADORES

Jesús: Amigo de Pecadores / Marcos 2:13-17

 

“Salió otra vez junto al mar, y toda la gente venía a él, y les enseñaba.”

  • Para Cristo, la enseñanza era importante porque la Palabra de Dios es importante.

 

  • Las COSAS que eran importantes para Cristo, deben ser importantes para nosotros (enseñar, predicar el Evangelio a los perdidos).

 

(v. 14-16) “Y pasando, vio a Leví, hijo de Alfeo, sentado en el lugar del cobro de los impuestos, y le dijo: Sígueme. Y levantándose, le siguió. Y aconteció que estando Jesús sentado a la mesa en casa de Leví, muchos publicanos y pecadores estaban comiendo juntamente con Jesús y sus discípulos; porque había muchos de ellos que le seguían. Y viendo los escribas de los fariseos que comía con los publicanos y pecadores, dijeron a sus discípulos: ¿Por qué come y bebe con los publicanos y pecadores?

  • Las PERSONAS que eran importantes para Cristo, deben ser importantes para nosotros.

 

(v. 17) “Y al oírlo Jesús, les dijo: No son los sanos los que necesitan médico, sino los enfermos; no vine a llamar a justos, sino a pecadores.”

  • Como seguidores de Cristo, debemos seguir el ejemplo de Cristo.

 

Notas Adicionales:

El pasaje resalta la disposición de Jesús de relacionarse con y aceptar a aquellos considerados marginados por la sociedad, como los recaudadores de impuestos y los pecadores. Aunque esto presenta desafíos para algunos, es un patrón claro en el ministerio de Cristo, por lo tanto, debemos imitar al Maestro en su enfoque.

Las acciones de Jesús desafiaron a las autoridades religiosas de la época, quienes creían que no debía asociarse con tales personas. A veces, los evangélicos fríos y legalistas pueden ser nuestros peores críticos. Cuando lleguen las críticas, debemos estar decididos a ser servidores de Cristo, no servidores de hombres. Cristo fue criticado y calumniado a menudo. ¿Pensaste que sería diferente para nosotros?

El mensaje de Jesús es de compasión y comprensión para aquellos que están atrapados en su pecado, y un llamado al arrepentimiento y la transformación a través de la fe en Él.

Estamos llamados a seguir el ejemplo de Jesús extendiendo la compasión en expresiones tangibles del amor de Dios a los necesitados y la esperanza a través del Evangelio a los marginados de la sociedad, sin condonar su pecado y sus comportamientos destructivos.

Conclusión:

Jesús, en su ministerio, demostró un amor radical e invitó a los pecadores, extendiéndoles amistad a pesar de sus transgresiones. Este mensaje nos desafía a seguir Su ejemplo, extendiendo compasión y comprensión a los marginados de la sociedad, sin condonar sus comportamientos destructivos. La gracia y la compasión que Jesús ofreció a los más odiados y marginados de la sociedad fueron escandalosas entonces, y lo siguen siendo ahora.

Las personas que se criaron en la iglesia y en hogares cristianos toda su vida, con poco conocimiento del “mundo” o la “calle”, naturalmente temerán estos contextos hasta cierto punto. Y tal vez por buenas razones, ¡hay una guerra en curso y esto no es un juego!

Sin embargo, si no eres lo suficientemente valiente para correr riesgos por el Señor, probablemente nunca harás nada grandioso por Su causa. La autoconservación es un obstáculo para el Evangelio. Sal de las cuatro paredes de tu edificio y sal de tu zona de confort. No seas imprudente de ninguna manera, pero tampoco seas cobarde. Ora.

“Porque si predico el evangelio, no tengo por qué gloriarme, pues estoy bajo necesidad; porque ¡ay de mí si no predico el evangelio!”– 1 Corintios 9:16

JESUS A FRIEND OF SINNERS

  • Jesus: A Friend of Sinners / Mark 2:13-17
  • “And again he went out by the sea, and all the crowd came to him, and He was teaching them.”
  • For Christ, teaching was important because the Word of God is important
  • The THINGS that were important to Christ, should be important to us (teaching, preaching the Gospel to the lost)

(v. 14-16) And as he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him. And it came to pass that as Jesus was reclining at table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many of them who followed him. And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?

 

  • The PEOPLE who were important to Christ should be important to us

 

(v. 17) And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

  • As followers of Christ, we must follow Christ’s example

 

Additional Notes:

  • The passage highlights Jesus’ willingness to associate with and accept those considered outcasts by society, such as tax collectors and sinners. Although this presents its challenges for some, it is a clear pattern in the ministry of Christ, therefore we ought to imitate the Master in His approach.

 

  • Jesus’ actions challenged the religious authorities of the time, who believed that he should not associate with such people. Sometimes, cold and legalistic evangelicals can be our worst critics. When the critics come, we must be set on being servants of Christ, not servants of men. Christ was often criticized and slandered. Did you think it would be different for us?

 

  • Jesus’ message is one of compassion and understanding for those who are trapped in their sin, and a call to repentance and transformation through faith in Him.

 

  • We are called to follow Jesus’ example by extending compassion in tangible expressions of God’s love to those in need, and hope through the Gospel to those on the margins of society, without condoning their sin and destructive behaviors.

 

Conclusion:

Jesus, in his ministry, demonstrated radical love and invited sinners, extending friendship despite their transgressions. This message challenges us to follow His example, extending compassion and understanding to those on the margins of society, without condoning their destructive behaviors. The grace and compassion that Jesus offered to the most hated and outcasted of society was scandalous then, and is scandalous now.

People who were raised in church and in Christian homes all of their lives with little knowledge of the “world” or the “streets” will naturally fear these contexts to some extent. And perhaps for some good reasons, there is a war going on out there and this is not a game!

Yet, If you aren’t bold enough to take risks for the Lord, you will probably never do anything great for His sake. Self-preservation is a hindrance to the Gospel. Get out of the four walls of your building and out of your comfort zone. Don’t be foolish by any means, but don’t be cowardly either. Pray.

 

For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because I am compelled to preach—and woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
– 1 Corinthians 9:16

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511
You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)
You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

 

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 3: THE SUPPORT SYSTEM OF MISSIONS

PAUL’S POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP WITH THE PHILIPPIAN CHURCH

 

And you Philippians know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone.  

For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times.  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account. – Philippians 4:15-17

 

 

Main Theme: The book of Philippians emphasizes the importance of maintaining joy in the Lord even amidst suffering, while advancing the gospel through partnership.

 

Three key aspects of Paul’s powerful partnership with the Philippian church:

 

1. God Provides Through Partnership (Philippians 1:3-5):

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. – Philippians 1:3-5

Partnership = κοινωνία

Koinonía- partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary/involving money) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.

  • Paul expresses his gratitude for the Philippian church’s partnership (koinonia) in the gospel.
  • Koinonia is a multifaceted term encompassing participation, fellowship, and financial support.
  • This partnership signifies their shared commitment to spreading the gospel message.

 

2. Continued Care and Commitment (Philippians 4:10-11, 4:14-16):

! rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. – Philippians 4:10-11

Still, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship. And you Philippians know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone. For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times. – Philippians 4:14-16

 

  • Paul highlights the church’s continued support and commitment to the partnership, even when opportunities to express it were limited.
  • He mentions his contentment in all circumstances, emphasizing a complete trust in the Lord and the ability to refrain from complaining about material needs. Paul makes it clear that making needs known is ok, but complaining about our circumstances is not.
  • However, he acknowledges their partnership in his hardship and their unique financial support throughout his ministry, making them an exception among other churches.

 

3. Promise of Provision (Philippians 4:17-19):

Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account. But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:17-19

 

  • Though Paul is grateful for their gifts, he emphasizes that his main concern isn’t his own well-being, but rather the Philippians’ spiritual growth. His words about their generosity and unwavering support echo the language used to describe sacrifices in the Old Testament, offerings pleasing to God.
  • He acknowledges their full support for his needs and expresses his abundance thanks to their gifts.
  • Lastly, Paul links their partnership to a divine promise: God will supply for all their needs based on His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

This is just a bird’s eye view of a few wonderful truths found in Philippians. In this unique little book, we find an excellent biblical model for missions that we should strive for. The book reveals a remarkable partnership between Paul and the Philippian church. They shared a common goal of spreading the gospel, and this partnership manifested through mutual support, commitment, and financial contributions. Paul highlights God’s provision through their partnership, not just for himself but for them as well, promising that God will meet all their needs. This partnership serves as an example of the power of collaboration and generosity of God’s people in advancing the gospel message while maintaining joy and contentment in challenging circumstances.

With such wonderful promises, a clear command and a biblical pattern to follow, we must ask ourselves..

What else hinders us from doing the Lord’s work the Lord’s way? What are we waiting for?

 

“God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” – Hudson Taylor

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

 

CISTERNAS ROTAS (BROKEN CISTERNS IN SPANISH)

Han abandonado al Señor, fuente de aguas vivas, y cavaron para sí cisternas rotas que no retienen agua. – Jeremías 2:13 

 

¿Alguna vez has intentado llenar un recipiente roto? Un cubo, una taza o un tanque de cualquier tipo hecho para líquidos. Es frustrante e improductivo. Si estás viajando o tratando de transportar líquidos en él, llegarás a tu destino vacío. Lo más probable es que se vacíe mucho antes de lo esperado. En el “primer mundo” no es tan común. Pero en algunos lugares sin agua corriente y lejos de una fuente, si el agua es lo que tu familia, ganado o cultivos necesitan, puede ser una cuestión de vida o muerte. Sin embargo, a menudo hacemos esto en la vida, usando intencionalmente cisternas rotas. Simplemente no funciona. Porque tratamos de hacer las cosas a nuestra manera, usando nuestras propias cisternas rotas en lugar de la buena que ya ha sido provista.

 

Cuando nos encontremos con poca esperanza y luchando con la identidad y el propósito, debemos volver a la fuente de todo.

 

Con tanta desinformación y distracciones bombardeándonos literalmente a cada minuto, es posible olvidar temporalmente algunas cosas realmente importantes. Somos criaturas olvidadizas que necesitan ser dirigidas a una verdad trascendente y absoluta que existe.

 

  • Fuimos creados a imagen de Dios.

 

  • Creados por Él y con un propósito para Él.

 

  • Fuimos creados como adoradores.

 

  • Es quiénes y qué somos.

 

  • Pero también somos criaturas caídas en un mundo caído.

 

Si no adoramos a Dios, nos adoraremos a nosotros mismos, a algo o a alguien más. Incluso, si queremos llamarlo por otro nombre.

 

Hay muchas cosas maravillosas en este mundo que Dios nos ha dado para nuestro placer y disfrute. Pero también podemos adorar y priorizar las cosas equivocadas y menos importantes que tienden a desviarnos del camino. Podemos confundirnos o ser engañados si no nos aferramos a una verdad objetiva real que pueda ser conocida y aplique a todos.

 

La verdad es que todos lo hemos hecho en algún grado, en algún momento. Y es una de las grandes tragedias de la experiencia humana. Contrariamente, al pensamiento de la nueva era, el conocimiento de uno mismo comienza con el conocimiento de Dios. Ahí es donde encontramos las respuestas a las grandes preguntas de la vida. El fabricante de un vehículo que lo diseñó y lo produjo sabe más sobre él que alguien que simplemente posee uno.

 

Si no tenemos cuidado, en la vida podemos terminar tratando de clavar un clavo con un destornillador. O debido a un hambre real dentro de nosotros, comer una planta que es hermosa a la vista, pero que puede envenenarnos en lugar de nutrirnos, metafóricamente hablando.

 

Esto sucede cuando intentamos forzar algo impulsado por nuestro propio deseo hacia un propósito para el que nunca fue diseñado. Pero no nos puede satisfacer, y muchas veces solo nos lastima. Esto solo hace que la vida sea más dolorosa y frustrante. Imagina beber gasolina o poner agua en el tanque de gasolina de tu vehículo. No va a terminar bien.

 

Solo hasta que entendamos que todo tiene un propósito inteligentemente diseñado, y luego alineando nuestra percepción de las cosas con esa realidad última, podremos tener la posibilidad de una verdadera comprensión y gozo. Es crucial que levantemos nuestros ojos por encima de la niebla para ver el panorama general, ver nuestra gran necesidad y vivir para nuestro verdadero propósito. Cuando comprendemos eso y acudimos a Él como nuestra fuente de conocimiento, sabiduría y propósito, es cuando todo comienza a tener sentido y podemos encontrarnos a nosotros mismos. Todos haciendo lo que les plazca y lo que es correcto solo a sus propios ojos solo puede conducir a un caos total, confusión y más quebrantamiento.

 

Pero la respuesta, y la llave que abre todo, es Cristo. Todas las promesas de Dios en Él son sí y amén. Todos los que vienen a Él nunca serán echados fuera. Él es el puente que nos lleva de regreso a Dios, la luz que nos permite ver claramente y la única fuente de perdón, conocimiento y verdadera esperanza. La sanidad para nuestras almas que necesitamos desesperadamente. Es el conocimiento de Él lo que nos da una comprensión real del plan de Dios en este mundo quebrantado. Cuando las personas y las circunstancias nos decepcionan, y la vida a veces parece estar fuera de control, hay una gran esperanza al saber que Dios no es como nosotros. Más bien, Él siempre es Fiel, Inmutable y Verdadero.

 

Una pregunta que viene a la mente es esta…

 

¿Por qué un alma errante y sedienta en el calor de un desierto implacable continuaría rechazando el agua que da vida cuando se la ofrecen? Es lo único que realmente satisfará, saciará la sed y, en última instancia, salvará su vida.

 

Clama a Cristo. Lo necesitas. Todos lo necesitamos.

 

“Porque Dios muestra su amor para con nosotros, en que siendo aún pecadores, Cristo murió por nosotros.” – Romanos 5:8

 

Escrito por Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

BROKEN CISTERNS

 

“.. They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves — cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:13 CSB

 

Have you ever tried filling a vessel that was cracked? A bucket, a cup or a holding tank of any kind that was made for liquids. It’s frustrating and unproductive. If you are traveling or trying to transport any liquids in it, you will arrive at your destination empty. Most likely, it will be empty much sooner than expected. In the first world it isn’t as common, but in some places with no running water and far from a source, if it’s water that your family, livestock or crops need, it can be a matter of life or death. Yet we often do this in life, intentionally using cracked cisterns. But it just doesn’t work. Because we try doing things our own way, using our own cracked cisterns instead of the good one that has already been provided.

 

When we find ourselves with little hope and struggling with identity and purpose, we should go back to the source of everything. 

 

With so much misinformation and distractions bombarding us literally by the minute, it is possible to temporarily forget some really important things. We are forgetful creatures that need to be pointed to a transcendent and absolute truth that exists. 

 

We were created in the image of God. 

Created by Him and with a purpose for Him. 

We were created as worshipers. 

It’s who and what we are. 

But we are also fallen creatures in a fallen world. 

 

If we don’t worship God, we will worship ourselves, something(s) or someone else. Even if we may want to call it by another name. 

 

There are many wonderful things in this world that God has given to us for our pleasure and enjoyment. But we can also adore and prioritize the wrong and less important things, which tend to lead us astray. We can get confused or deceived if we don’t cling to a real, objective truth that can be known and applies to everyone. 

 

The truth is, we’ve all done it to some degree, at one time or another. And it is one of the great tragedies of the human experience. Contrary to new age thinking, knowledge of self actually begins with knowledge of God. That is where we find our answers to life’s great questions. The manufacturer of a vehicle that designed and produced it knows more about it than someone who simply owns one. 

 

If we aren’t careful, in life, we can end up trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver. Or because of a real hunger within us, eat a plant that is beautiful to look upon, but can poison us instead of nourishing us, metaphorically speaking.

 

This happens when we try forcing something driven by our own desire for a purpose that it was never intended for. But it cannot satisfy us, and oftentimes only hurts us. This only makes life more painful and frustrating. Imagine drinking gasoline, or putting water in your gas tank. It’s not going to end well.

 

Only until we understand that everything has an intelligently designed purpose, and then aligning our perception of things with that ultimate reality, can we have the possibility of true understanding and joy. It is crucial that we lift our eyes above the fog to see the bigger picture, to see our great need, and to live for our true purpose. When we grasp that and go to Him as our source of knowledge, wisdom and purpose, is when everything begins to make sense and we can truly find ourselves. Everyone doing as they please and what is right only in their own eyes can only lead to utter chaos, confusion and more brokenness. 

 

But the answer, and the key that unlocks everything, is Christ. All of God’s promises in Him are yes and amen. All who come to Him will never be cast out. He is the bridge which brings us back to God, the light that allows us to see clearly and the only source of forgiveness, knowledge and true hope. The healing for our souls that we desperately need. It is the knowledge of Him that gives us a real understanding of God’s plan in this broken world. When people and circumstances disappoint us, and life at times seems to be spiraling out of control, there is great hope in knowing that God is not like us. Rather, He is always Faithful, Unchanging and True.

 

One question that comes to mind is this…

 

Why would a wandering and thirsty soul in the heat of an unforgiving desert continue to refuse life giving water when offered? It is the only thing that will truly satisfy, quench the thirst, and ultimately, save his life. 

 

Go to Him. You need Him. We all do.

 

“..but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:8

 

Written by: Antonio Salgado

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

EL PADRE DE LAS MISERICORDIAS Y CONSOLADOR EN NUESTRAS AFLICCIONES

Seamos realistas, todos tenemos problemas con los que lidiamos. Y puede ser difícil, muy difícil. Ya sea una mala noticia sobre tu salud, un diagnóstico terminal o de alguien muy cercano a ti. Podrían ser problemas de conducta de un niño pequeño o un adolescente rebelde, conflictos maritales, pérdida de empleo o alguna otra crisis financiera que puede agravar y empeorar cualquiera de estos problemas. Ciertamente, puede suceder en los entornos aparentemente más seguros. ¿Cuánto más ocurrirá en el campo misionero, en un contexto diferente al tuyo, lejos de todo lo que una vez fue querido y familiar? Donde el estrés y los peligros se multiplican y la dificultad se convierte en un estilo de vida. Simplemente, viene con el territorio.

Estas dificultades a veces pueden tener su raíz en nuestro propio pecado, descuido o irresponsabilidad. O podríamos encontrarnos atrapados en el fuego cruzado del pecado de otra persona. O puede ser simplemente los efectos de un mundo caído sobre quienes más los amamos. Aun así puede afectarnos profundamente.

Puede ser suficiente para llevar a alguien a una espiral de depresión o algún otro estado mental perjudicial o un bajón espiritual que se siente como un oscuro e inescapable valle de desesperación. Durante esos momentos, Dios puede parecer distante y nuestras oraciones y gemidos de angustia hacia el cielo pueden incluso sentir que no son escuchadas. ¡Gracias a Dios que no es así! Pero si somos honestos, puede sentirse así a veces. Como creyentes, podemos confiar verdaderamente en el Señor durante la tormenta, pero eso no siempre lo hace más fácil, humanamente hablando. Incluso podemos encontrarnos en nuestro límite, gritando de miedo como los discípulos en el bote “¡Señor, sálvanos! ¡Nos vamos a morir!”

Aunque una temporada de paz y tranquilidad pueda llegar después (tal vez), en ese momento puede sentirse abrumador y casi demasiado difícil de soportar. Algunos sufren por una temporada, otros lidian con ello toda la vida.

“Aún cuando yo camine por el valle de sombra de muerte, No temeré mal alguno, Porque tú estás conmigo; Tu vara y tu cayado me infundirán aliento.” – Salmo 23:4

Muchas “tormentas” en la vida causan estragos y dejan un camino de destrucción a su paso, al igual que las tormentas reales. Y al igual que en una tormenta real, por lo general se necesita tiempo para “reconstruir” después de que se ha producido el daño. Algunas tormentas pueden cambiar la vida y para algunas, incluso acabar con ella. Muchos se encuentran en shock y conmocionados hasta la médula, solo pueden llorar por su situación y recoger los pedazos mientras avanzan cojeando de la experiencia traumática y dolorosa. Esto le sucede todos los días a algunas personas, durante diferentes períodos de tiempo, en algún lugar. No debemos sorprendernos. De hecho, deberíamos aprender a esperarlo eventualmente si entendemos lo que dice la Escritura sobre la naturaleza caída del mundo en el que vivimos y los efectos del pecado mientras vivamos aquí.

Dios, de hecho, nos da más de lo que podemos manejar. Por favor, no seas una de esas personas que dicen que no lo hace, o que solo lo hace porque sabe que podemos manejarlo (como si en realidad fuéramos tan fuertes por nosotros mismos). Si pudiéramos hacerlo por nuestra cuenta y con nuestras propias fuerzas, no lo necesitaríamos. La historia de Gedeón viene a la mente. (Y permíteme decir brevemente, el popular, pero a menudo mal citado versículo en 1 Corintios no significa lo que piensas que significa).

El Señor trae sufrimiento a nuestras vidas más a menudo de lo que nos gustaría. Pero Él tiene Sus razones, y debemos confiar en Él a través de ello. Debemos hacerlo. Claro, podemos conocer el plan y la voluntad de Dios en general, pero muchas veces Sus planes para nosotros como individuos en los detalles de nuestra vida diaria no son tan fáciles de ver o entender. Los planes de Dios para nosotros a menudo son muy diferentes a los nuestros.

Pero si nos encontramos realmente luchando mientras sufrimos, debemos preguntarnos esto. Cuando las cosas se ponen difíciles, ¿adónde más podemos ir realmente? ¿De dónde viene realmente nuestra ayuda? Seguro que el Señor usará a las personas como medio para consolarnos y ayudarnos, pero en última instancia, solo Él puede darnos paz. Verdadera paz. ¿Dónde encontraremos nuestra fuerza para soportar, sino en la naturaleza inmutable de nuestro Señor, las promesas fieles en Cristo y el cuidado amoroso?

El Señor es mi pastor; nada me falta. – Salmo 23:1

Él es nuestra Torre Fuerte, nuestra Roca, nuestro Escudo y Fortaleza a la que acudimos para buscar consuelo, refugio y paz. Solo en Cristo estamos verdaderamente seguros, y separados de Cristo no podemos hacer nada.

Me recuerda un himno moderno muy conocido que dice bellamente:

“Solo en Cristo está mi esperanza

Él es mi luz, mi fuerza, mi canción

Esta piedra angular, este terreno sólido

Firme a través de la sequía y la tormenta más feroces

Qué alturas de amor, qué profundidades de paz

Cuando los temores se calman, cuando los esfuerzos cesan

Mi Consolador, mi Todo en Todo

Aquí en el amor de Cristo estoy”

Hermosas palabras conmovedoras, ¿verdad? Pero la pregunta es,

¿lo creemos? ¿Realmente le creemos?

¿Realmente confiamos en Él?

¿Realmente creemos que Él es bueno?

¿Realmente creemos que Él está obrando todas las cosas para bien de los que lo aman, incluso cuando no podemos verlo?

Es importante recordar que independientemente de lo que creamos, Él será glorificado. Incluso en las circunstancias aparentemente más terribles. Pero también podemos descansar al recordar que Él es un Padre bondadoso, compasivo, inmutable y fiel, y acercarnos a Él. Debemos aprender a permanecer en Cristo. Su mano soberana y su amor por su pueblo serán la almohada sobre la que reposemos nuestras cabezas cansadas.

El Señor es mi fortaleza y mi escudo; mi corazón confía en él, y soy socorrido. Por tanto, mi corazón se regocija y le doy gracias con mi canto. – Salmo 28:7

La naturaleza inmutable de Dios es un ancla que nos mantiene aferrados a la Roca que nunca nos fallará ni nos expulsará en esos momentos difíciles, ni jamás si estás en Cristo. Mientras escribo esto, me vienen a la mente muchas personas queridas. Familiares cercanos y familia en la fe que están actualmente lidiando con algunas de las cosas que mencioné al principio, o incluso peor en este mismo momento. Oren por mí y por otros misioneros que conocen estas tormentas demasiado bien. Pero también oren por los que sufren en su iglesia. Un vecino, un amigo, o tal vez incluso alguien en su propio hogar.

Bendito sea el Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, Padre de misericordias y Dios de todo consuelo. Él nos consuela en todas nuestras tribulaciones, para que podamos consolar a los que están en cualquier tipo de tribulación, por medio del consuelo que nosotros mismos recibimos de Dios. – 2 Corintios 1:3-4

A ellos solo puedo decirles que confíen en Él, lo alaben, se queden a solas con Él y Su Palabra y oren. Él es el Padre de misericordias y el Dios de todo consuelo, que nos consuela en nuestra aflicción. El Señor es nuestro Pastor, tenemos lo que necesitamos. Si perseveramos, seremos más como Jesús cuando termine. Y aunque no lo crea, incluso estaremos agradecidos por esas tormentas difíciles pero transformadoras en nuestras vidas. Oren.

He aprendido a besar la ola que me arroja contra la Roca de los Siglos. – Charles Spurgeon

Escrito por Antonio Salgado

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE FREEDOM OF FORGIVENESS

 

“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

 

The Gospel isn’t just for unbelievers; it’s a constant reminder and source of freedom for us believers too. We tend to forget, so preaching the Gospel to ourselves is vital. We need to marvel at the cross, at the depths of God’s forgiveness for us, just as Charles Spurgeon said: 

 

“I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that I am saved at all.”

 

This pardon humbles us, but it also liberates us. The Gospel reminds us of God’s immense grace through Christ’s sacrifice and the depth of our own sin, far greater than any offense another can commit. Our sin is against a Holy, infinitely Worthy Creator. So, as we contemplate the Gospel, we are disarmed and find ourselves without an argument. It frees us from self-importance and opens our eyes to the slow but sure self poisoning of unforgiveness, often rooted in our pride. We are then humbled by the cross’s grace, which empowers us to forgive others. Struggle is natural, especially with deep hurts or loved ones involved. We might stumble, but the Holy Spirit fosters a desire for forgiveness, which should eventually lead us to true reconciliation.

 

As Christians, forgiveness is a hallmark. When we struggle, meditating on God’s grace towards us and our own sin’s depth helps us forgive. Christ’s sacrifice paid for all our sin, leaving no condemnation for those in Him, including those we struggle to forgive. We‘ve been shown such incredible grace and love.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”- Ephesians 2:4-5

 

So pray, forgive, and release the bitterness. Heal and grow from the experience. “Be imitators of God,” showing grace and forgiveness to others, just as God has done so to us in Christ. Because at the end of the day, we too should lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that any of us are saved at all.

 

We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day. – Martin Luther

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE FATHER OF MERCIES AND COMFORTER IN OUR AFFLICTIONS

Let’s face it, everyone has problems they are dealing with. And it can be hard, very hard. Whether it be some bad news about your health, a life changing or terminal diagnosis, or of someone very close to you. It could be behavioral issues of a small child or a rebellious teen, marital strife, loss of employment or some other financial crisis that can seriously compound and worsen any of these issues. To be sure, it can happen in the seemingly safest of environments. How much more will it happen on the mission field, in a different context than your own, far from all that was once dear and familiar. Where stress and dangers are multiplied and difficulty becomes a way of life. It just comes with the territory. These difficulties at times can be rooted in our own sin, neglect or irresponsibility. Or we could find ourselves caught in the crossfire of someone else’s sin. Or it may just be the effects of a fallen world on those closest to us. It can still affect us deeply.

It can be enough to send someone spiraling into depression or some other unhealthy state of mind or spiritual low that feels like an inescapable, dark valley of despair. During those moments, God can seem distant and our prayers and groans of anguish towards heaven can even feel to us as if they go unheard. Thank God that is not the case! But if we are honest, it can feel that way sometimes. As believers, we can be truly trusting the Lord through the storm, but it doesn’t always make it easier, humanly speaking. We may even find ourselves at our wits end, crying out in fear like the disciples did on the boat “Lord save us! We are going to die!”

Even though a season of peace and tranquility may be coming afterward (maybe), at the moment, it can feel crushing and almost too much to bear. Some suffer for a season, some deal with it for a lifetime.

“Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

Many “storms” in life wreak havoc and leave a path of destruction in their wake, just like real storms. And just like in a real storm, it usually takes time to “rebuild” after the damage has been done. Some storms can be life changing and for some, even life ending. Many find themselves in shock and rattled to the core, left only to mourn over their situation and pick up the pieces as they move forward limping from the traumatic and hurtful experience. This happens every day to some people, for different periods of time, somewhere. We should not be surprised. We should actually learn to expect it eventually if we understand what Scripture says about the fallen nature of the world in which we live and the effects of sin as long as we live here.

God does in fact give us more than we can handle. Please don’t be one of those people who say that He doesn’t, or that He only does so because He knows we can handle it (as if were actually so strong in and of ourselves). If we could do it on our own and in our own strength, we wouldn’t need Him. Gideon comes to mind. (And may I briefly say, the popular but often misquoted verse in 1 Corinthians does not mean what you may think it means.)

The Lord brings suffering to our lives more often than we like. But He has His reasons, and we must trust Him through it. We must. Sure, we can know God’s plan and will in general, but oftentimes His plans for us as individuals in the details of our daily lives are not so easy to see or understand. God’s plans for us are often quite different from ours.

But if we find ourselves really struggling while suffering, we should ask ourselves this.  When things get hard, where else can we really go? Where does our help really come from? Sure the Lord will use people as a means to comfort us and help us, but ultimately only He can give us peace. True peace. Where will we find our strength to endure other than in our Lord’s unchanging nature, faithful promises in Christ and loving care?

He is our Strong Tower, our Rock, our Shield and Fortress to which we run to for comfort, shelter and peace. Only in Christ are we truly safe, and apart from Christ we can do nothing.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.- Psalm 23:1

I’m reminded of a well known modern hymn that beautifully says:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Beautiful moving words right? But the question is, do we believe it?

Do we really believe Him?

Do we really trust Him?

Do we really believe that He is good?

Do we really believe that He is working out all things for good for those who love Him, even when we can’t see it?

It is important to remember that regardless of what we believe, He will be glorified. Even through the seemingly most terrible of circumstances. But we can also rest as we remember that He is a kind, compassionate, unchanging and faithful Father and draw near to Him. We must learn to abide in Christ. His Sovereign hand and love for his people will be the pillow we rest our weary heads on.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

The unchanging nature of God is an anchor that keeps us clinging to the Rock that shall never fail us or cast us out during those difficult moments, or ever for that matter if you are in Christ. As I write this, many people who are dear to me come to mind. Close family members and family in the faith who are presently dealing with some of the very things I mentioned at the beginning, or even worse at this very moment. Pray for me and for other missionaries that know of these storms all too well. But also pray for those in your church who are suffering. A neighbor, a friend, or maybe even someone in your own household.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

To them, I can only say trust Him, praise Him, get alone with Him and His Word and pray. He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction. The Lord is our Shepherd, we have what we need. If we persevere, we will be more like Jesus when it’s over. And believe it or not, we will even be thankful for those difficult but transforming storms in our lives. Pray.

I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.- Charles Spurgeon

Written by Antonio Salgado