About Work & Witness
Work & Witness began in the 1970s with a group of concerned laymen who wanted to do something to meet the needs they saw around them. Although they did not claim to have a call to traditional career missionary service, they weren't content to remain home praying and giving to the work that missionaries were doing. They also wanted to offer the expertise and skills they possessed to contribute to the mission work in personal, hands-on ways.
In 1984, this grassroots movement became an official short-term mission opportunity called Work & Witness.
Self-funded teams of as few as two people travel to a site to help with construction, medical, technical, and evangelistic needs for up to 21 days. Churches from many different nations participate each year.
Learn more: workandwitness.org.
I have heard the voice of the Lord, not as a heavens splitting thunder or in some dramatic way, but as that still small voice which cannot be doubted. (John 10:1-21, verse 4 “and his sheep follow him because they know his voice…”)
I was standing in Valparaiso, Chile along with the other 24 members of the Chicago Heights-sponsored Work & Witness team. We were waiting to take a boat tour out into the bay. As we waited an unshaven man dressed in worn clothes approached the group. He began asking for pesos. The Lord spoke one word to me. “GIVE,” He said. Immediately I said, “I can’t. I have no money to spare on this trip. In fact, I am only here at all because someone else sent me in their place. You know my situation, Lord, I can’t give.” “Indeed, I do know,” He said. “GIVE.” (Just so you know I wasn’t standing on the sidewalk talking to myself. It wasn’t like that.) I kept side-stepping the issue by avoiding the man as he made his way through the group. Some did give food or money, but I didn’t.
Finally, we were allowed into the dock area and I left the man behind me, but my heart was heavy. I tried to explain it to the Lord. It was still early in the trip. I needed to be frugal with my funds. We still had a few meals to cover and such. The pain in my heart wouldn’t go away because I had disobeyed my Lord.
We walked a little further and we passed a street musician. I thought to myself, OK, I’ll give” and I put some pesos in his hat and walked away. That only made it worse though cause now not only had I disobeyed, but I tried to make it right in my own way or ideas. I hadn’t sought forgiveness or even direction from the Lord since He’d first spoken.
We went on an amazing boat ride. As we left the dock area a different man came straight up to me and asked me for money or help. Again the Lord said, “GIVE.” This was my second chance, right? Surely I would give and all would be well, but I hardened my heart and in broken Spanish I told the beggar I had nothing. The Lord quit speaking and my heart broke.
The rest of the evening went on as planned. No one else knew what had happened in my heart that afternoon. Finally, I got alone with the Lord in prayer. This time I was the beggar. I poured out my heart to Him who still loves me best. I confessed my sin, asked for and received forgiveness for not believing that the Lord had it all under control. My heart was renewed and forgiveness made a way to continue to learn the Lord’s way.
So why share this experience? I want to be faithful and truthful in the great things like taking a work and Witness trip, but also in the daily things of simple loving obedience to His dear voice and call. I had more than enough pesos for the rest of the trip and even had some helado, or ice cream. The Lord even made a way for me to give a little beyond according to His leading and provision, not with fanfare or glory but with a loving heart wanting only to be in the center of His will through obedience.
Matthew 25:40 says whatever you do for the least of these you have done for Jesus himself. I pray that the next He speaks I will not only listen, but obey and maybe do so without all the excuses.