“My First Time”- by Stephen Shelton

February 24, 2010

Do you remember some of your firsts? I remember my first day to play football as a child. I remember my first day in elementary school. I remember my first time I stood up and spoke in my church as a child. I remember my first time to sing a solo at church (yes Craig there were a few times). I remember my first time to drive a car without one of my parents with me. I remember my first Sunday at Liberty Park Baptist speaking to the youth.  If I think about it, I have had a lot of memorable firsts and could go on and on.

Two weeks ago I experienced a few more firsts that I would like to share with you.  One was the first time for me to travel to Ecuador.  A first in Ecuador came in a soup bowl.  Yes, I ate my first chicken neck, chicken foot, and chicken heart.  Amazingly, they all tasted like chicken.  For some reason as “el Pastor” it was an honor to receive and eat these items.  On  January 15th-23rd Anne Lucas, Alice Cunningham, Lora and I traveled to the South American country of Ecuador to do medical missions and to help plant new churches in the northern region of the country.  It was my first time to preach at a church with a translator, and I felt your prayers because God gave me a confidence in speaking His Word that I have never felt before.

It was my first time to personally see God work in this way.

I have always heard stories about, and wanted to be a part of, the harvest of people for God.  In total our team consisted of 33 North Americans plus translators. We spent 5 days in 2 medical clinics and our 4 evangelistic teams went door to door sharing the gospel.  In the medical clinic doctors, nurses, pharmacists, eye team, students and other team members saw people that were hurting physically and spiritually.  Each clinic worker prayed with and shared the gospel with most of the people that went through the clinic.  God healed many physical hurts while also healing spiritual needs.  Even as God was moving in the lives of the people of Ecuador, I know he was also moving tremendously in the lives of our team.  

I had the privilege of working with the evangelistic team.  It was my first time to spend 5 days going door to door in three towns sharing the gospel.  It was my first time to see so many people willing to give their life to Christ.  These firsts will be in my mind forever.  One thing I will commit is that these firsts will not be my last. (OK, except maybe the chicken parts). What I mean is I will be more deliberate in sharing the gospel with others.  It won’t be the last time I see God work in this way.  God has won the victory over the enemy. The fields of the harvest are still ripe, and the workers are still few.  Join me in working, and I hope you will have some of these experiences as “firsts” as well. 

What God did by the number’s – 1798 people were seen in the medical clinic, 1463 people were seen in eye clinic and 1626 gave their life to Christ for the first time.

To see a visual representation of our trip go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWvEmAWmPAw

This medical mission trip was organized and sponsored by e3 Partners Ministry. 

—Stephen Shelton, Minister of Education, Liberty Park Baptist Church, www.libertypark.org 

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