It’s a word we tend to associate with the negative. Because our culture tends to tell all (or at least a stylized version of “all”), we somehow think that when something remains unspoken, it’s too horrible to speak aloud. Too serious to share. Too radical to reveal.
But sometimes, unspoken is just that: unspoken. Not put into words. Shared only for the spirit, the “thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Somehow, the phrase “unspoken prayer request” doesn’t come up too often anymore. Back in the days of the old-fashioned church prayer meeting, the leader (generally the pastor) would always pause at the end of a time of sharing prayer requests: “Who has an unspoken?”
Here and there across the sanctuary, hands would go up. One might represent problems in a marriage. Another, a suspected illness. Still another, a personal struggle with sin.
But those hands might also represent a still-new pregnancy. A promising job offer. A future and hope.
Sometimes the “unspoken” came because the person sharing it did not have permission to go beyond the general. Sometimes it came because of a desire, good or bad, to remain private. And sometimes the request remained unspoken because of other people and situations who would be wounded by more open sharing.
On the field and at home, Awe Star has unspoken requests too. Yes, we share plenty of prayer needs both here and on the field. But there are always those needs that must, for various reasons, remain unspoken.
It may be an issue of timing. Sometimes it’s because we need to keep our missionaries safe and secure. Or there may be health concerns that don’t warrant broadcasting. Perhaps a gift has been promised but not received, an application started but not finished, a team opened but not filled.
And so many more.
Today, as you pray for Awe Star, would you pray for our unspoken? We have some big ones right now, and we’re pretty sure you do, too. Please know that we’re praying for you and all your unspoken, too.
Last week, in part 1, you read about how our rite of passage process makes Awe Star unique. We are not only a mission-sending organization, but we work to take our students through a rite of passage that moves them from childhood through adulthood. On the field, we give them significant tasks that build adult skills and adult responsibilities into their lives. (For more on this topic, check out Walker Moore’s book Rite of Passage Parenting along with the Rite of Passage Parenting Workbook).
But of course, Awe Star is not just a student mission-sending organization. And the next “Awe Star difference” applies to everyone on our trips, from youngest to oldest, from newbie missionary to seasoned veteran. That difference is discipleship.
Yes, we know other missions organizations also provide for discipleship. But Awe Star’s multiple ways of getting the Word into our missionaries means the entire trip is a discipleship experience. We begin our mornings with discipleship in the form of our guided quiet times. During the day, we may also allow for times of teaching by our small group leaders (POPs and MOMs) or our team directors. And often, our country coordinators take time at a meal or in the evening to pour still more discipleship into our students. We cover certain teachings on every trip so that no matter where the missionary serves, he or she returns home with a solid foundation that equips them to live the lifestyle of a missionary long after they have left the field.
Awe Star has also become known for its ManUp and ReignOn groups for men and women, respectively. In an era where gender lines have become blurred and the general rule for sexuality is “anything goes,” Awe Star unpacks the concept of a biblical worldview and allows groups to tackle tough topics in a safe, protected environment.
Awe Star discipleship also occurs while the mission teams are in action. When you look at the Gospels, you rarely see Jesus alone. Instead, you see Him taking a small group (or sometimes a larger one) with him as He ministered. Instead of giving a point-by-point lesson in healing, for example, He showed His disciples how to pray for a desperate woman in a desperate situation. All sorts of hands-on discipleship takes place on an Awe Star mission trip as leaders walk out their faith while other students watch and, if appropriate, join in.
So, celebrate the difference—and consider Awe Star for your next mission trip.
Could it be now? Could it be soon?
You’ve seen it on our website and read it in our brochures: “The Awe Star difference.” But what do we mean by that?
There are lots of student missions-sending organizations, and yes, we’re one of those. In the past year-plus, you may have noticed we’ve added a medical component to some of our trips. We’ve also become more family-focused, so if you’re interested in serving as a family, feel free to call our office and discuss that possibility.
But one of the main Awe Star differences has been there right from the beginning. In fact, it played a part in the founding of Awe Star more than 25 years ago.
Dr. Walker Moore was a youth pastor who had a problem bigger than the normal youth-pastor problems (Did I order enough pizza? Why does the middle-school boys’ Sunday school room smell so bad? What are those girls talking about?). He noticed that the problems his seniors had as they graduated were the same problems they had when they entered his youth program. Despite years of teaching, discipleship and ministry, their lives showed little change. And many of them, as they went away to college, also went away from church.
So Walker started to talk to his students, present and past. And he realized something: The one thing he did that had a real and lasting impact wasn’t youth camp. It wasn’t game night. It wasn’t even DiscipleNow or weekly small group. It was mission trips.
You see, Walker had begun taking students across the border to Mexico and allowing them to minister alongside Primera Iglesia Bautista Nuevo Laredo. These students had a firsthand look at the lostness of humanity from a completely different culture only miles away from their own. They stepped away from what can often be the selfishness of the teenage years and into a world where their service and sharing made a real difference. They took on adult tasks and adult responsibilities because Walker called them into their adulthood, refusing to take “teenagers” with adolescent-type behavior on his trips.
He expected the best. And he got it—in more ways than he anticipated. Not only did the students take the gospel to the people of Mexico, but the gospel got into their own hearts in a lasting way.
No, they didn’t all become pastors or missionaries. But many, so many, became fully devoted followers of Christ who lived the lifestyle of a missionary from that trip on.
Yes, some of those Awe Star alumni are famous now. Heather Mercer. Bart Millard. B.J. Higgins. Peggy Nunley—to name a few. But there are thousands more whose lives bear the impact of one or multiple Awe Star trips.
Is it time you or someone you know experienced the Awe Star difference? Pray and ask God how you should respond.
Maybe you need to submit an application (or urge someone else to do so).
Maybe you need to sponsor someone’s trip.
Maybe you need to become one of our giving partners.
Certainly you need to pray (see this post).
The Awe Star difference. It’s real. It's life-changing. And you can read more about it next week in part 2.
In our several months of writing this blog, we haven’t hesitated to share our needs with you. We’ve asked for (among other things):
—regular financial partners.
—money for a new van.
—commitments to attend various events, including our iGO Missions Conference and ManUp/ReignOn weekends.
But there’s one thing we almost always ask for along with these other requests: prayer. That’s because prayer is what we need more than anything else.
Prayer moves our hearts toward the lost.
Prayer sends us to the mission field.
Prayer brings us the funds to get there.
Prayer protects us from the evil one.
Prayer prepares the way for us to share the gospel.
Prayer opens the doors wide and brings us opportunities we never expected.
Prayer overcomes government red tape, travel restrictions and all the other problems overseas travel (especially group travel) brings with it.
Prayer brings healing.
Prayer produces miracles.
Prayer changes the world.
Prayer changes us.
So when you see our needs listed here or elsewhere, please know it’s never just the money or the van or the personnel we need. It’s prayer. Because prayer brings us into intimate connection with the Father, whose ways are the answer to every one of our needs and each one of our requests.
And please know that as you pray for us, we’re praying for you, too. Feel free to share your needs and know we will lift them before the Father.
Because prayer matters. And so do you.
Missions mobilization can take many different forms. Sometimes, it means we pray. Sometimes, it means we give. Sometimes, it means we go.
Luke gives us a clue about this topic in the ninth chapter of his Gospel, when he tells us the following story of the Savior: “But when He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they fainted and were scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:36-38).
Why do we mobilize for missions? Because people need a Savior. What better way to describe our world today than “harassed and helpless”? When we travel to the mission field, whether next door or across the sea, we meet people who are “harassed and helpless.” They need the peace and joy a relationship with Jesus brings. They need to know Him.
Why do we mobilize for missions? Because workers are few. Many people will talk about missions. Many will say they support missions. But few will surrender to the Lord and go or give as He desires.
Why do we mobilize for missions? Because we want to partner with God in prayer. No matter what else we can or can’t do, we can ask Him to send workers. Some of us cannot go for physical or other reasons. But we can have a “go” mind- and heart-set and support those who can. This is where we can fulfill the true intent of this passage.
Right now, Awe Star wants to mobilize for missions through the purchase of another 15-passenger van. We are traveling by van not only south of the border this year (Mexico) but also north (Canada). We need a reliable van to transport students not only across the border but to the various ministry sites in both these countries as we take the gospel wherever God empowers us to go. We need to keep them safe. We need to be wise stewards. We need to reach more people in more places.
If God moves your heart with compassion and you feel led to help us, please click this lick to set up your one-time or recurring gift. Know that you are not just partnering with Awe Star—you are partnering with the Lord of the harvest as together, we mobilize for missions.
Thank you so much for praying for #TeamMexicoSpringBreak! Many of you read and shared this post as well as those from the field (if you didn’t see them, scroll back in this blog and see the great things God has done!). We are so grateful for your prayerful support.
But what about after the mission trip? Of course, the prayers don’t stop anymore than our relationship with God stops. Today, we want to offer five ways to pray once the mission trip has ended.
1. Follow-Up (on the field): Awe Star does the best we can to capture new believers’ or seekers’ contact information to share with the pastors we work with. In the case of an often-mobile population (Nuevo Laredo, like many places in Mexico, is a city of migrants), this can be difficult. Ask that the Holy Spirit will follow up with each one and move them to seek out Christian fellowship and teaching. Many received a copy of the Scriptures; pray that the Lord will compel them to read and obey His holy Word.
2. Follow-Up (at home): Awe Star teaches students to live the lifestyle of a missionary, so when we leave our international setting, we are not leaving the mission field at all. Pray that each student and adult who went will view their current setting as a mission field. Ask God to give them divine encounters and enable them to be willing witnesses to any seeking souls He brings their way.
3. Protection from the Enemy: You can be certain Satan will try to kill, steal and destroy the good work God did during the trip, in the lives of the new and prebelievers as well as in those of the missionaries. Pray for recognition of and protection from these attacks and that God will fill each one so full that no room remains for the enemy or his wicked weapons.
4. Future Service: Both the Christmas and Spring Break Mexico trips often become the launching point for future missionary service. Some of our summer teams remain unfilled, so please pray for clarity for those who are still praying about these summer opportunities. Ask also for God’s provision of prayer and funding to support those who do sense the Lord’s calling.
5. Continuing Impact: The students who served on this trip experienced a huge amount of teaching as well as missionary service in a short amount of time. Please pray that in the midst of school, work and other responsibilities, they will be faithful to process everything God has brought into their lives and walk it out in the way He desires. Head knowledge must become heart knowledge, and this happens as we walk it out by faith in our Lord and Savior.
Thank you again for your faithful prayers. We couldn’t do this missions thing without them—and you.
“As our translator shared about his past and how God delivered him, other men began to share how Jesus delivered them too! One man shared that he keeps falling and falling but now he knows he is no longer a slave to his sin because of Jesus.“
We entered through a secure gate and were led down a narrow, but bright outdoor path to a courtyard. Awaiting us were about 18 men who had spent anywhere from the last five days to the last three months searching and seeking. Their backgrounds were as various as ours, but the direction of our decisions had led us all to that place today. The Team had an amazing and unique experience in our opportunity to visit a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Nuevo Laredo.
Our students knew from the beginning that this dynamic was a bit different from the plaza we had visited the day before. Within this courtyard there was a unique atmosphere. The men we were about to encounter had been broken, crushed by their sin, but a great work had already started in many of their lives. We had several men communicate their need to commit their lives to Christ. One man, Hector, needed the healing guidance a little bit more than some of the others. His roller coaster lifestyle had led him to this facility for the third time after he had received his third DUI.
Hector said, “I saw the story in your drama that you talked about that you see with your eyes, but I really saw that second story. The one with your heart, and it was so emotional it brought me to tears.”
As we left the facility, our students knew that in the midst of being called by God to go and encourage these men, God turned the needle of the compass as we found a new breath of exhilaration to share the gospel.
God moved in incredible ways at the Rehab center as well as the Maximum security prison. Please pray for us today as we have our final day of ministry!
“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name— he is holy.” Psalm 99:1-3
This morning #TeamMexicoSpringBreak presented the Freedom drama in a local plaza. When they were done, a student talked to a man who had actually seen the drama performed near this same plaza the day before. The man began telling the ministry team, "Yesterday I was on the way to the bar and when I came upon the team doing the drama I stopped and watched it. I did not talk to anyone, but I was so moved that I left and never went to the bar! I could not stop thinking about what I saw.” The student continued to share the Gospel with this man and he prayed to accept Christ!!!
#TeamMexicoSpringBreak has been captivated by the presence of God. As they continue to move from plazas, markets, orphanages, and homeless centers, God is moving in their midst! Each night stories of divine encounters fill the air as students share how God is moving each day. Please continue to pray for the Lord to display His wonders and draw many people to Himself.
A few captions from the day:
“For me the most impactful thing is being able to watch how God moves people to the right place at the right time for an encounter, and also how God is transforming students.” ~ Jamal Sterling
“It has been really awesome seeing so many people come to Jesus!” ~ Logan Elkins
“I love seeing the eagerness in the students! They fill their ministry packs and prepare for the next ministry opportunity because they are so excited about sharing the gospel at the next ministry site!” – Caitlyn Green, Team Director/Country Coordinator
“So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!” Joshua 10:13-14
The day began with one team going to a maximum security prison. The team was told that the odds of their getting in was small, but to pray and see if God would give them favor. The team fiercely prayed sun stopping prayers, asking God to do the impossible.
You see, the local contact who was working to get us into the prison had been trying to get access since December. He had gone more than 25 times asking for permission, and had been denied every time. It was a long shot for this team, but that didn’t stop them. They had already seen God stop rain, bring divine encounters, and open doors at other ministry sites that no man could make happen. So trusting God with access to the prison was natural.
Awe Star teaches that we are to have a heartbeat of obedience. We are God’s willing witnesses, ready to move and go where ever that He directs us, to be moved toward a divine encounter. So this team knew no man could keep them out of the prison, and no man could give them access. It was God who was directing their steps!
The team showed up and without missing a beat had access to the prison. God did it! He put the right person in the right place at the right time, so the team could collide with the encounter He had already arranged! How cool is that?!! Four inmates gave their lives to Jesus today!
A few captions from today:
“I couldn’t believe it! I got to lead four men to Jesus in the maximum security prison! It was awesome!”-Gavin Jackson
“Today was amazing! I saw a lady on the bench and I felt like I was suppose to go talk to her. So I went and she prayed to receive Jesus! “-Taylor Bedore
"I shared 'the net"'after the drama. It was the first time for me to share the gospel at the end of the drama. God gave me the words to say and it was really powerful!" -Megan Gilbert
“Our first drama I kept seeing this guy across from us on a truck. I kept thinking 'this is the guy I’m suppose to talk to.' I went to him and God gave me the words to say and he came to know Christ! It was incredible!” -Kylar Thornton
#TeamMexicoSpringBreak headed out yesterday for an intense day of ministry. Awe Star teaches about walking in the Awe of God. It is referenced in Acts 2:43, “Everyone kept feeling a sense of AWE and many signs and wonders were taking place through the apostles.”
As teams entered markets, parks, and Refugee centers, each team filled the air with prayer. The atmosphere was thick. First time student missionaries were nervous and maybe a little scared, but prayed with intensity that God would do in them what they knew they could not do themselves.
They had been prepared to share their story on the street, but after they performed the street drama - a chronology of the gospel in the local language - they were told that they were to prayerfully engage the people. Stepping out in faith, they looked for The One that God was leading them to talk to.
Most of these student missionaries have never engaged in this type of intense ministry. Obstacles of language, self-doubt, and a little fear accompanied them as they stepped-out with as much faith as they could muster.
Then it happened: Student after student began seeing God break out of eternity and invade time to fill their mouths with words as they boldly shared the gospel. Families, children, displaced peoples, and even the homeless were being transformed as students talked with them about Jesus. It was beautiful. It was the Awe….
A few captions of the day:
“I saw a boy, and I knew God wanted me to share the gospel with him. I asked the leadership if I could go talk to him. We had stopped for lunch but God had more in store. I asked the boy if he knew who Jesus was. He said no. I then shared all the way from creation to resurrection and the boy wanted to receive Jesus. It was awesome!”– Jedi Edwards
“We were in the refugee center and we had just done the drama. I saw a couple of little girls and began to share the gospel with them. Then a few more showed up; before I knew it, ten kids had come over and I was able to share the gospel and lead all ten to Jesus!" -Madison Swopes
“I was most surprised today that when we prayed, God really answered! It was raining and we began to pray so people could see the drama and hear the gospel. Then all of a sudden, the rain stopped. We did the drama and as soon as we were done, the rain started back! God stopped the rain so we could share the gospel!” –McKenna Barnes