The city sits in a valley. The valley sits in the cradle of three mountain peaks, two of which are extinct volcanoes; one is still active. The valley is more than 7,500 feet in its lowest point. These are high mountains. Most days of the year the skies are clear, a vivid blue that lifts the spirits of most who see it. The air was once fresh; pollution from the seemingly endless lines of buses taxis has changed that. Now, if one looks off into the horizon, a brown cloud serves as a shroud for the outskirts of the city.
I was there for business. There would be time for pleasure--the pleasure of seeing old friends, of eating in my favorite haunts, of strolling along the picturesque streets with a Colonial Spanish flavor. The sounds and sights were mostly familiar to me. Some stores had replaced others. "Progress" had closed one main street to traffic, making it a lovely alameda for a leisurely walk.
Night fell. It seems to fall so suddenly that if one listens, he may hear the sun crash into the bottom of the horizon. There is not much of a horizon to see, of course; it is hidden by a massive, brown, barren mountain. Brown and barren because this is an oasis in the middle of a desert.
I found myself standing before a cluster of men, women, and young people that I had not seen in several months. As I looked, I thought, "These are my friends. These are my brothers and sisters." We have stood side by side in so many opportunities. We are brothers in Christ.
Together, we have battled the one true enemy, the one who wants to keep all mankind imprisoned: Satan.
Before long, some forty believers from 4 or 5 churches had gathered. It was to be unlike any gathering they had been involved in. I was there to call out the called. Because of the nature of my purpose, I decided to take my time and carefully lay out our plans and God's challenge. Tonight I would not do more than end our time together with prayer. The pastor was in agreement. At the end of the first night, he announced that we would receive a missions offering the next night. That was on a Monday....
On Tuesday, the scene looked much the same. We sang. We hugged in Christian fellowship and love. We smiled and praised God for his abundant blessings. Then I shared how God could use them with their own careers and professions to enter other countries and cultures with the intent of preaching Christ as Lord. Their eyes told it all. It was a night to call out the called. Only about forty were there. I thought if one or two responded we could call that a great success. My faith was too small. Eleven responded. Eleven. Not one or two. Eleven men and women stood with tears saying, "Here am I, send me."
Before the week's end, most had confirmed the seriousness of their response. And before the week was over we had collected the first international missions offering ever received by this particular denomination. It was not especially large, just passing $165; but it was certainly significant.
These men and women make a pittance, when compared with most who will read this. I only hope you will respond with the same excitement and conviction as these men and women, all made good by the blood of the Lamb. I only hope if you are among the called, you will allow God to call you to go out and get busy.