Last year, a group of about 40 Porch volunteers went to Haiti on a short-term-discipleship trip. It was an excellent experience that stretched us beyond our comfort zones.
In Haiti, we would go in groups to different villages to share the gospel. We did this through an interpreter, who was shared between several individuals. Having to share an interpreter could be a frustrating experience: you have to speak with long pauses while they translate, and 5 or 6 of your peers watch you because they can’t be doing much else.
In one particular village, with one particular translator who I knew was a Christian, I just said “tell them.” “You know the gospel; I don’t need to tell it to you in English so that you can repeat it in their language. Just tell them.” Later that night, as we debriefed the day, I realized what I was asking. These were his neighbors and he was going door to door sharing the gospel. We were his “excuse” for the conversation, and so I was just asking him to “tell them.” However, I don’t do that myself with my neighbors in Dallas. I’ll confess, I’ve never just gone door to door down my street armed only with the Good News.
This past weekend a couple, now married, who were in Haiti with me, said they would do just that. They prayed about it and asked friends to join them for a two-day in-town mission trip, dubbed “Unashamed.” 72 showed up, which is ironic if you know your Bible (see Luke 10:1-2).
What happened next was incredible. Some of the stories they later shared with me:
Many of the 72 had never shared their faith with anyone before two weeks ago, but they went all over Uptown doing exactly that with their peers. One of the girls on our team said, “Walking down the streets past the bars I used to bartend at, I know these streets, but this was the first time I was sharing my faith here.”
In South Dallas, several team members shared the gospel with one girl, who responded, “It is normally someone trying to turn a trick, or a drug dealer approaching me. This time it was you telling me God loves me. Your story has helped to set me free.”
A Jewish gang leader who had just gotten out of prison accepted Christ.
In West Dallas, while serving with 2ndSaturday, a girl on the team got to lead a little boy to Christ while he held the hand of one of the guys.
We also had a scavenger hunt that included acts of kindness to help our crew engage with others, including carrying groceries, pumping gas, and picking up people's dog's poop. Hilarious and amazing stories of hope and life change came from this, even from a guy named French Fry!
At 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, when most of us used to be out drinking beers, hundreds of young adults were gathered in Klyde Warren Park to worship our great God. We thought we were going to get kicked out of the park before it even started, since Bud Light was scheduled to have a massive scavenger hunt and promo party for Justin Timberlake. However, less than 10 people showed up for that event, and they shut it down an hour early.
Plus hundreds of other stories.
When I take groups overseas on short-term discipleship trips, two things always happen.
We have an AMAZING time.
People return frustrated, wishing that they knew the language and understood the culture.
They raised thousands of dollars to go there to share the gospel, only to return with the frustration of wishing they spoke the language and understood the culture. Don’t you see the irony?
Look around you. Engage with your next-door neighbor. Stare a lost coworker in the eyes. You know the language and you understand the culture, so tell them the Good News of God’s grace.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. – Romans 1:16
Do you have a story of being "unashamed"? Share it in the comments below.