For the past two weeks, the Willetts have been with the 2021-2022 Guatemala Global Year Team, encouraging, equipping and empowering these amazing followers of Jesus in simple steps of obedience to Christ through a 2nd Touch Training. It has been awesome watching these growing disciple-makers receive and reproduce the lessons and tools of healthy disciple-making from the training sessions we have had with them. But even more, it has been so exciting and rewarding to go out into the harvest fields of Guatemala beside these disciple-makers, prayer-walking, gospeling, and discipling new followers of Christ in the simple principles and practices they have been taught in what it means to be a multiplying disciple. They are no longer those who are just learning how to follow Jesus and make more disciples, they have become the followers of Christ who are training others to do the same!
Times like these (where we are blessed to labor beside growing and reproducing disciple-makers) is what we long for and labor towards each day. When it happens, we can't help but praise the One who saved us and commissioned us to this amazing ministry of reconcilation that demands simple, yet, intentional steps of obedience that sees the making of disciples of Christ multiply. This is why we do what we do as His followers...we simply help others follow Him!
Believe it or not, any person who really follows Christ can experience this (be a disciple who helps make more disciples)...if they will surrender to King Jesus, and let Him use them as a disciple who makes more disciples. And as more and more of us discover the simplicity of following Jesus, more and more people, everywhere, have the opportunity to follow Jesus and see His Word and His Spirit use them as multiplying disciple-makers.
Who's ready to follow Jesus and become the next multiplying disciple-maker? Together, we can and will make more healthy, reproducing disciples that will proclaim the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth!
P.S. It is hard to convey in words how amazing these two weeks have been. So to help share some of this with you, take a look at some of our most memorable moments captured in pictures (scroll down to see pictures). Glory to God! And thanks to each of you who pray for us, financially partner with us, and help send us to the nations to make more disciples.
Many times, Jesus reaches into the brokenness of peoples' lives when they least expect it. We spent our day yesterday (February 2, 2022) at the Land of Hope. It is a very small compound adjacent to the city dump in Escuintla, Guatemala. The people who live by the dump are the poorest of the poor here. The people who live in this small compound called "Land of Hope," have been rescued by Jesus and given a hope that most of us cannot even comprehend.
One man we met yesterday is a former gang member. In his destitute and desperate life circumstances, he just happened to be walking past the Land of Hope last April, as their pastor/leader was preaching. He stopped to listen. When the service was over, the pastor went and introduced himself to the man, who's name is Juan Carlos. He loved what the Pastor was saying about God and love and forgiveness, but he didn't believe that he could ever be forgiven for all of his sins, because he had lived a hard and crime-filled life of hate as a hitman. But the Holy Spirit was even then, wooing this man to Himself, and Juan Carlos became a follower of Jesus.
Fast forward to yesterday, when we met Juan Carlos for the first time. He had a huge smile and a sweet spirit -- and he participated in our training, taking notes, telling his story, and sharing the Gospel as we all practiced together. THEN, he went out with others into this community to share the hope that he had found. He is like a modern-day Saul/Paul!
We were moved as we watched Juan Carlos walk out of the gates at Land of Hope and into a community that needs Jesus. Juan Carlos gets it! He wants to be a disciple that makes more disciples -- and we are thrilled that we get to see it happen!
Jesus is changing lives in this place and we are grateful to be a part of it. Please keep praying for individuals like Juan Carlos. Their examples of what God can do when someone accepts His mercy and grace are truly changing the world.
Sitting around the table is a favorite memory for many of us. We sit around the table and share meals with family and friends. Sometimes we even sit at our table to celebrate a loved one's birthday, or anniversary, with cake and presents. We also share more challenging times around the table, as we remember a loved one we have just laid to rest, or have hard conversations with a friend about a difficult subject that needs to be addressed.
Recently, we had a gathering around the table in our home, but not for any of these reasons. We gathered around our dining table to talk about making disciples.
We gathered to talk about how simple it is to make disciples, even though it is not easy. We gathered to encourage a few others to make "disciple-making" a priority. We spent about 3 hours looking at scripture, training in simple, biblical, reproducible tools, and practicing these tools together. And it was such a blessing to sit with those seeking ways to better make disciples in our everyday lives.
What a blessing it is to use our table to grow as followers of Christ.
If you would like to experience this for yourself, let us know, and we will be sure to contact you about the next "Around the Table Training". Or if you are not able to come to our table, we can make plans to come to your table and do the same. There is nothing better than using the table to grow as His followers.
Over the last two months, we have been able to send two teams to work with our longest standing field ministry partner, School For Life in Gary, West Virgina. The first team worked primarily to be the “Hands & Feet of Jesus” by delivering a truckload of donated goods to the community. While they worked to meet physical needs, they were also intentional to share the truth of Jesus as the true answer to our spiritual need.
This led to the second team that went down for an intentional first touch of training multiplying disciple-makers. They were able to train a group of people (9 people) eager to share the gospel and make disciples in a community that is desperate for Jesus!
The start of a new year is always a good time to evaluate how things are going in your life (physically, relationally, mentally, financially, and certainly spiritually). Some use resolutions to help change areas that need improvement, others use goals to push them towards growth for the coming year, while others simply stick to the grind, seeking to redeem the time regardless of the change in a calendar year.
I think followers of Christ should use whatever means are necessary (throughout the year) to answer a key question concerning their lives – WHAT IS THE BIG PICTURE? Asking, and answering, such a question reminds us not only of things that we desire to accomplish in life, but the WHY behind those things!
Philippians 3 has always been helpful to me for evaluating this. It says, "13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you." ~ Philippians 3:13-15 (HCSB)
So, what is YOUR BIG PICTURE? Why do you follow Jesus? Why do you pursue healthy relationships with your family members and friends? Why do you seek to be physically fit? Why do you try to be financially secure? Why do you give so much attention to excel in your job? Why do you work to make more disciples? Why do you do what you do each day?
Let us know what drives you to do what you are doing in this season of life (your big picture). We will be sure to pray for you and encourage you in living out YOUR BIG PICTURE. Together, we can walk by faith and not by sight with our Savior throughout 2022 and beyond.
Thank you so much for joining us in prayer for the backyard disciple-making training! Unfortunately, due to sickness, a number of families couldn't make it so we were much smaller in number than we had hoped. However, God never seems to care about how MANY. He is always ready to work in and through whoever is available and surrendered. Everyone who was able to attend the training was encouraged by the simple tools and then joined us on the streets of our neighborhood in downtown Martinsburg for some "on-the-job" training.
This training is one that I (Ryan) will not soon forget. During our "on-the-job" training time, I was able to take my teenaged daughter (Hannah) out into the harvest one-on-one. If you've ever had the privilege of meeting Hannah, you know that she wants to know everything about everybody and she CANNOT walk by a person without saying hello. This is a rather useful character trait when you're trying to engage someone with the good news. In less than an hour, we engaged 6 people and shared the gospel with 3. Hannah shared the gospel using the two kingdoms tool with an older gentleman just a few blocks from our house. He was brought to tears as she shared and we are incredibly hopeful that we will be able to build a real relationship with him and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Thank you for partnering with us in the making of more disciples of Jesus Christ. Because of your partnership, 18 Global Year Students, Interns, Staff, and/or Alumni were trained (retrained) in the making of more healthy disciples here, there and everywhere. What an honor, joy and incredible blessing it is to be supported, prayed for and partnered with in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
This was an amazing group who were eager to learn, quick to process, and committed to putting simple, biblical tools into action to help make more disciples. Now we prayerfully watch how each trainee does in following Him in the countries that they will be serving in (Guatemala and Honduras), believing their success will be defined through simple obedience to King Jesus.
Lord willing, we will be doing a 2nd Touch Training with these teams near the beginning of 2022. Until then, join us in praying for these potential world-changers as they put into practice the simple tools that help others follow Him.