Have you ever wanted to go on a short term mission trip? Until 2003, I never thought about the mission field. I remember attending a Christian fellowship in college one night looking at pictures of children from Africa as a fellow student shared about her trip. Tears streamed down my face as I learned of their conditions. I looked at my friend beside me and said, “I’m so glad there are people like her who want to go to Africa. I could never do that.” Oh, but God has a sense of humor. Next Tuesday I leave for my fourth trip to Africa to serve the people of Ghana and it can’t come fast enough.
This morning I was reading in Nehemiah 4, I couldn’t help but think of our trip to Ghana. The people of Jerusalem were repairing the walls of the city and building new gates. Their enemy plotted to attack them while they were at work. The goal was to catch them when they least expected it. Fortunately, Nehemiah was astute. He understood 1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Because Nehemiah knew his enemy wanted to destroy his work, he put a plan into action.
Nehemiah established a new way of building the walls. We read in Nehemiah 4:16-21 “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me. Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!’ So we continued the work with half the men holding spears, from the first light of dawn till the stars came out.”
Those working always had someone covering them, ready to war on their behalf. As our team travels to Ghana in a few days, you are all serving as the warriors covering our backs as we work. We know the enemy is out there and he isn’t happy about our work. We know he will be plotting to destroy what we do just as Nehemiah’s enemies plotted against him. However, we know your prayers will thwart the plans of the enemy. You will prepare the ground as we go and cover us while we work and by doing so you are a huge part of this mission team. We all get to participate in scripture coming to life. That’s exciting to me. I hope it is for you also.