Thursday, January 12, 2017

A New Year, A New Opportunity


I (Jason) have some exciting news to share at the start of this New Year.  God has given me and Laura an incredible opportunity to head up a new ministry at our local church, Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga.  We are launching a Global Medical Outreach and I am leading the first trip to Ecuador July 22-29 of this year!

First, a little bit of background.  Several years ago, Laura and I moved to Augusta for my physical therapy school.  During my time in school, I had an opportunity to go on a medical mission trip with our church to Ecuador.  Later that year, one of my pastors gave me a copy of a book called "Preach and Heal" and that book had a tremendous impact on my life.  After talking with Laura, we began to pray together for our lives to be a proverbial blank check for God to use and we began think more seriously about medical mission work.  Fast forward to just about 2 years ago, I had been practicing therapy for about 2 years and Laura and I began to research full time medical mission since this was still on our heart.  We spent about a year studying different agencies, meeting with missionaries, and learning about seminary requirements to go full time.  But towards the end of that time we did not have a good sense about the full time path and just continued to pray on how to use my medical skill and Laura's expertise to God's glory. In the meantime, our church discontinued it's medical mission trip and no longer sent any type of short term medical teams.

Well, about 10 months ago, I had a not so chance conversation (because I don't really believe in random chance.  God ordains meetings, conversations, etc) with the physician who no longer led the trip due to getting close to retirement.  In that meeting, which was at his grandson's birthday party, I asked him if he was still going to Ecuador.  He told me that unfortunately the medical mission had ended and they had not taken a trip in 5 years.  I asked why and he told me that he had not found anyone who was interested in leading trips and carrying on this ministry of the church.  I paused, grinned at him and said, "I will."  So I began to explain some of my testimony, which I related above, and I began to sense that this is where God was leading us to serve Him in a mission capacity.  We went to the Pastor, had a couple of meetings and the next thing I knew, we were launching this ministry again!  I am really excited because after 6 years, our church is going to be sending medical professionals and other volunteers on short term medical mission trips again! This is so important for our church because our church is dedicated to the advancement of the Gospel both locally and globally and because, as many of you know, Augusta has a large community of healthcare professionals and many of them are in our church. It truly is amazing how God, in his timing, brings you to certain locations, gives you passions and skills, and then gives you an incredible opportunity to serve Him where you are with those skills.

I had the opportunity to host a vision meeting for our ministry and highlight our mission statement.  I wanted to include it in this blog so that you can see and know the heart and desire of this ministry.  Our Vision statement is simple: Warren Baptist Church Global Medical Outreach exists to make Christ followers of all people by empowering local churches across the globe to proclaim the Gospel using the medical knowledge and skill which God has graciously entrusted to us as health care providers.

And really this statement can be applied across every believer with a wide range of skill sets and not just health care.  Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God and with the purpose to advance His Kingdom and make His name known.

Finally, I say all of this to say that, while this is a very exciting time, this is something that Laura and I have never done before and it is stretching our faith and my energy levels daily because there are many needs sitting in front of this ministry.  It's funny, so often I've been on the receiving end of ministries and organization soliciting for help but now I am on the front lines with them as we work toward a common goal of spreading the Gospel.  But I report these needs knowing full well that God will provide.
  • PRAY: This sounds so cliche, but honestly, being on the leadership side of ministry now, I have a greater and deeper understanding of the necessity for brothers and sisters in Christ to intercede.  God has already answered many of our prayers in cool ways and he continues to do so.  But join me in praying over this ministry.  Pray that God would bring the right team members for this trip and the trips in the future.  Pray that God would prepare the hearts of the people we will come in contact with that they would receive the Gospel message and be saved.  Pray that God would watch over all of our travel and logistics.  And finally pray for me and my family that we would continue to be obedient followers of Christ, that we would trust Him always, and that we would have unity as a married couple and family.  Be a warrior and in all things, pray.
  • GIVE: To pull these types of short term trips off requires a lot of supplies, a lot of transportation on the ground, and a lot of logistics.  And all of that takes dollars.  Again, this sounds so cliche, but as I continue to walk with Lord and grow in his grace it is becoming clearer and clearer that perhaps the reason we have been given so much wealth on a global stage is to use it to advance God's kingdom.  George Mueller says in his autobiography that you will never regret investing in the Kingdom of God.  So I ask you to consider supporting this effort.  Your donation will be used to grow this ministry, fund scholarships for participants, provide supplies, help with transportation costs on the ground etc.  You can make your donation by writing a check to Warren Baptist Church, notating Global Medical Mission in the "for" section and mailing it to 3203 Washington Rd, Augusta, Ga 30907. Or, you can go online and make a donation designating your gift to Global Medical Outreach.
  • GO:  We need folks.  We need man power.  So if you are looking for a ministry to get involved with not just financially but tangibly, we would love to have you.  Maybe you are a medical professional looking to use your skills abroad to share the Gospel.  We need you.  Maybe you are a student studying to make a career in health care but want to know if there is something more you can do.  We need you.  Maybe you have the gift of language and can interpret.  We need you.  Maybe you just have a heart for missions and God's command to make disciples of all nations and can volunteer and assist the effort.  We need you too. So if you would like more information you can email me at jason.baareman@gmail.com
This is a cool opportunity and I am looking forward to see where God takes this effort.  Lastly, I hope in your own life you reflect and ask yourself if you are leveraging your time, finances, and gifts for God's Kingdom which will never fail.  As C.T. Studd once wrote:

Only one life 'twill soon be past;
Only what's done for Christ will last.









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