In July of 2001, I and seven other members of Crosscreek joined with our Presbyterian friends to build a house in Piedras Negras, Mexico. It was not Crosscreek’s first mission trip, but it was our most ambitious. Most of us had never left the country before. None of us performed manual labor by occupation. There were genuine concerns about how we would cover the cost. And still we went. Through all the sweat and dust, the beauty of God’s Kingdom was on full display. It wasn’t the beauty of the cacti or the horned frogs. It wasn’t even the brand-new home we dedicated. The beauty that sticks with me still is the community that was built between individuals from different families, churches, and cultures through authentic, Christ-filled love.
It is only natural that missions would be one of the core values of our congregation. After all, Crosscreek began as a mission. Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be surprising that we would go on to spend 10 years sending teams to Mexico, their number swelling from 8 to 22, or that the missional spirit would spread to other teams that would work in places like Arkansas, Haiti, and Slovakia. You can see reminders of some of those trips on the wall above the table that holds the coffee and donuts on Sunday mornings.
Every day is a chance to enact God’s love upon the world.
But Crosscreek’s commitment to missions isn’t limited to big trips to faraway places. We believe “Every day is a chance to enact God’s love upon the world.” It is why we’ve responded to hurricanes and tornadoes that have struck Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, including right here in the Crosscreek neighborhood. It is why we partner with organizations like Shelby Emergency Assistance and Vineyard Family Services to meet the daily needs of our local community. It is why we send our children and youth to Passport Camps, so they can learn to see the world through missional eyes. And it is why a group of Crosscreek women formed Women on Mission to meet monthly and perform acts of service.
Even as we begin new work in Macon and Perry Counties this year, we can do more. First, we can do a better job of bringing the experience of the mission teams home to the congregation. We proclaim that “Our entire fellowship is shaped by our exposure to God’s presence in people who do not look, act, or think like us.” That is only true when we effectively tell those stories when we return. Second, we can do a better job of engaging the whole congregation in missions. That will require exploring a wider variety of mission trips and projects. Third, we can strive to better see and respond to the needs in our midst that we may “reflect God’s love outside our walls, in our daily interactions with those around us.”