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One of the adjectives I always use to describe our congregation is “mission-minded.” From the very beginning of this church’s history, we have been committed to ministry with the poor, the sick, the forgotten and the disenfranchised. We visit the prisons, we feed and house the homeless, we tutor children, we visit the sick, we build houses, we give away clothing and food. There are just so many ways that Christ UMC is living out or commitment to be in relationship with God’s hurting world.

While most of our outreach ministry has taken place right here in Middle Tennessee, we are embarking on some new efforts that will reach around the globe. In the past week you may have heard about three upcoming international missions.

On Saturday night our youth hosted a dinner to raise support and funds for their summer trip to Sierra Leone. Paul’s newsletter article last week outlined their plans for the trip that will take ten youth and several adults into the heart of rural Africa. The youth are working hard to raise funds for this life-changing trip, and I hope many of us will become shareholders by buying a “share” of $50.

Our communion rail offering on November 4 went to support The Nicaragua Project, an international mission effort that our congregation has been part of for many years. We have rehabilitated a school and an orphanage, among many other projects in that impoverished country. A team led by Gene Cotton goes down every year between Christmas and New Year’s, and this year will be no exception.

Finally, on Tuesday evening we are holding a meeting for those planning to go to Uganda this summer with David Ssebulime. He will be leading a group from our church and Blakemore UMC, and our plans are to offer a medical clinic, run a camp for children, construct a classroom and build relationships. We are hoping to take a large team (including me!) and we ask for your prayers. (The funds for this great effort will be raised primarily outside of the congregation, through the team members’ individual efforts.)

As I ponder all that Christ UMC is planning to do in 2013, I am amazed. And a little nervous. Three international mission trips? Is it too much? Can we do it all? Are we over-extending ourselves? But then I remember who we are and, much more importantly, who God is. I truly believe that this is happening in God’s timing, and that God will provide everything we need and more.

We are one congregation, deployed in many different places. Every day we are deployed in the schools, businesses, hospitals and homes of our community. We’re sent to serve in Franklin, Spring Hill, Brentwood, Nolensville, Nashville and beyond. And we are being sent now to meet Christ in the people of Nicaragua, Sierra Leone and Uganda. God has certainly given this congregation a big heart. Please join me in praying for all of these missions, as lives are changed and love is shared all across the world!