‘Eternity in mind’
Missions begin at home, church members say while preparing for February trip to Africa
Craig For Jon Curtis, 25, taking orders from a higher power is nothing new.
"The daily decisions I make are based on my faith," he said.
Curtis came to Craig in August and joined New Creation Church, following what he said was a call from God.
Next month, he's following another call.
With the $4,000 he has collected from friends, family and church members, he intends to spend more than a week on a continent he's never set foot on before.
It's the realization of a dream he's had since he was 16 years old, he said.
On Feb. 1, Curtis and six other New Creation Church members, including Pastor Jason Haskell, are embarking on a 12-day trip to Burkina Faso, an African country nestled against the continent's Atlantic shore.
In Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's economic capitol, the team will help prepare for five nightly evangelistic meetings anticipated to host 15,000 to 35,000 of the country's residents. Kenney Linhart, an interdenominational evangelist, organizes the meetings, or "crusades," as Haskell calls them.
But that's only half of their mission.
During the day, Haskell will help train local pastors while the rest of the team takes to the streets, praying and spreading the Word.
"The whole trip is based on preaching and sharing the good news," Haskell said. "We find a crowd of people - on a street corner, in a neighborhood or hospital - and we share what we call the Gospel : which is what God did for the world."
For him, it's the most important gift his congregation members can give to anyone.
Haskell and Curtis also said Burkina Faso's residents have physical needs. These needs are important, they said.
But, spiritual needs come first.
"We have eternity in mind," Haskell said. "First and foremost, we try : to establish the (residents') spiritual state."
Evangelism and ministry are "extremely important" for New Creation Church members, Curtis said.
"We're much more than a group that meets on Sundays," he said. The church "is also about making a difference in the community."
Making that difference - both locally and internationally - begins at home. Church members can't make other people enthusiastic about serving God if they are not, Haskell said.
For him, the church also is a training ground, a place where congregants come to prepare for battle.
In the community and the world, there's a war on between good and evil, he said. Next month, the group is taking the battle overseas.
Still, the mission trip isn't solely about waging war against evil. It's also about compassion and gaining a new perspective.
"You catch God's heartbeat when you do his work overseas," Haskell said.
For more information about New Creation Church's Africa mission trip, call 826-0791.
Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207 or firstname.lastname@example.org