“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” … Matthew 5:3
These first words of Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount came to life for those of us who experienced the 10th Anniversary Mission to Mexico and Guatemala in April. When you understand that the word “poor” is really another way to say “humble” then you begin to grasp the true meaning of this passage. We were truly blessed to share our time with these beautifully humble people. All of those we met were poorer in material things than those of us who live with much. But, the blessing we saw in them is that they were happy and joyfully opened up their hearts and their homes to us, serving us and giving us comfort far beyond that which we typically receive in our homeland. Having less but giving more. Being truly humble, or “poor” in spirit. Which is another way to say that they have a place in heaven because of their humbleness. While we seem to be the wealthy ones, they are more blessed than us.
Through this experience with these beautiful people, we can learn much more about what being humble really is. That in turn can make us smile more, the way that they smile. It warms our hearts to be able to spend time with them learning to grow in our spirit. Sadly, when we return to our own modern world, we also return to the ways that do not humble us or make us “poor” in spirit. We continue to collect things of this world and call them “blessings” believing that they will help us achieve a seat in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ. What would He say? I wonder. I believe that Jesus would tell us that the less we focus on the material things that create greed and stress in our lives, the more our spirits will be filled.
Another thing that we noticed on this milestone mission trip was that there were less of the laws and regulations that seem to tie us to this world. It was a delight to watch the men ride happily in the back of a pick-up truck for a one-hour trip to Benemerito, having a great conversation, while the wind pressed their faces and the old truck bounced them more than a dad bounces his baby. Peaceful freedom that cannot be bought. Like stepping back in time to a world that we have lost in our desire to be more “perfect” but falling so short of the mark.
This year we said, “Jesus, Our True Self-Defense.” While we have known this all along, the way Tae Kwon Do can be used as a tool to bring people to Christ finally materialized in these profound words. We took our mission to Mexico and Guatemala, lands that do not have strong Christian foundations but are more Gentile in nature or are people who have a distorted view of their relationship to Christ. However, because of the simple ways that they live and the love in their hearts for others they are able to accept the gospel message. Even public schools cancelled classes for us, wanting the children to experience what we had to offer.
Another amazing difference in this 10th Anniversary trip was that for the first time we went where there are no Tae Kwon Do schools, neither in Frontera Corozal nor the Guatemala villages. We have always visited with instructors and their students to teach them about the way the spirit of Tae Kwon Do and the Fruit of the Spirit, as in Galatians 5:22-23, are so much the same. I have tried to help them learn ways to bring more people to Christ through the martial art that they previously thought was only a physical kicking and punching form of self-defense. Through the World Christian Tae Kwon Do Mission, I have received requests from around the world to come teach and reach hopeless people everywhere and help them understand that Jesus Christ truly is our spiritual self-defense.
And while those of us who have been on several mission trips were comfortable with whatever conditions we would encounter, knowing it could be somewhat difficult, we were worried about the new people who came with us. We prayed for them to be able to withstand harsh climate, possible food discomforts, sleeping conditions, and schedule irregularities. It is always hard to know exactly what to expect, but we tried to prepare them as best we could. That is why we were so surprised when Pastor Park told us that the woman who owns the cabin hotel in Frontera Corozal had donated cabins for our group for the whole time we were there. That has never happened before. Miss Isabella was so generous to our group. And the reason she did this was because she had felt the hand of God touch her during a terrible illness just before we came. She wanted to thank Him for bringing her through that difficult time. Because she had been blessed, she wanted to be a blessing.
And, as if we could even pray for more, there were so many amazing blessings that we felt on this 10th Anniversary of our mission. This was the first mission trip that we actually designed and bought special t-shirts with the mission shield and our slogan “Jesus, Our True Self-Defense”. These shirts had four country’s flags on them: America, Mexico, Guatemala, and Korea. Then, through the hands of these beautiful people, God gave us a 10th Anniversary cake! We felt the Lord’s presence every day in everything as we shared and loved each other. More blessings than we could count.
Finally, I am convinced that everyone on this mission experienced spiritual growth. One of the most life-changing effects of a mission trip can happen to those who go, in addition to those to whom we go. Tremendous thanks go to all of you who support the mission with donations, with your activities, and with your prayers. Our mission is a labor of true love for people everywhere we go. My greatest hope is that we can help many more turn to Christ. Please remember, in 2nd Timothy Chapter 3 Verses 1-4 we are told the story of what is to come. Friends, it is now. Our homeland is experiencing everything foretold in 2nd Timothy and the signs are clear that the end in near. Our mission is critical for those who still have not heard and turned to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray for this mission.
May God Bless you….