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Impact of Mission

Laura Marshall

How do I even begin to describe the impact that missions at Cedar Springs has had on my life, our family, and my faith? My spiritual journey would not have been as rich or meaningful if we had not entered into missions!

When my husband and I joined CSPC almost 30 years ago, we quickly discovered that mission is at the heart of this church. It was easy to become involved with the Mission Conference, attending and hosting missionaries through the years. Little did we know that as guests stayed in our home or we shared experiences over a meal, some of those missionaries would become life-long friends! Through our mission partners, we have become aware of how God is working in so many parts of the world. We have learned so much that we would never hear through normal news channels. What an eye-opening blessing!
Life-changing? Absolutely! Through a little blurb in our bulletin, and a one-time meeting at our church, we learned that China was open to international adoption. The Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts through that little announcement and led us through the adoption of our daughter. I have a much deeper understanding of the Father’s great love for us and what it means to be adopted into the Kingdom of God, and, of course, a daughter who continues to capture my heart… all because CSPC was on mission with adoption.
As we parented, the church opened our family’s eyes to the world. Our church kids have a unique opportunity to hear stories and meet people from around the world who are working for God. Our world of experience grows bigger, and our globe seems smaller, as we get to know others who are on mission for God. What an opportunity to pray for those we meet.
As we became intentional in our own mission work, we started small at home (mission conference, packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, shopping for Thanksgiving baskets, helping at Lonsdale, etc.) and then ventured forth into the world.
The opportunity for a family mission trip to a creative access country came in our daughter’s preteen years. What an answer to prayer, and what an impact on our family! My husband and I were able to deeply connect with other parents, and we watched in awe as God even used our adoption story as part of that connection. We were all three able to love on kids, and our daughter came to a deep understanding of her identity in Christ. We were able to visit over two summers. I was in tears that second year hearing my daughter give her testimony to searching families, knowing that much of her testimony had been cemented the year before in that very space. And now our hearts hurt for our partners and other Christians in that country as they face incredible persecution. What an opportunity to pray!
And then there was Mozambique. We had followed CSPC’s work in Mozambique for years and had the privilege of supporting several of Sybil’s kids. Then we had the opportunity to join a trip to Mozambique. A mother-daughter trip this time, and wow, what work is being done for Christ! We interacted at the school, played with kids, met teachers, visited families, gathered updates on our sponsored children, and helped with a day at the beach. And, again, my daughter was able to give her testimony – this time to young people. We heard testimonies of Chokwe kids! We saw how believers with very little materially are living big lives spiritually! God is growing young people in Chokwe who love Him and are learning to live for Him. What a privilege to be involved in that!
And now, at home, I am having such fun helping teach ESL. So many wonderful students from all over the world, many who do not know Jesus. I am building friendships and enjoying time together. My favorite class is the “book club” I am leading, which provides time for some interesting conversation. I am having fun showing the love of Jesus to others and hopefully compelling them to want to learn more about the God who loves them. I am stumbling as I try to plant seeds but gradually learning how to tell others about God.
Thank you CSPC for drawing me into mission for God. So many opportunities, so much need, so much fun! I fall so short, but God somehow uses a willing heart. My family is richer, and our horizons are bigger because of all we have learned and been exposed to at CSPC. The opportunities are endless, and the need is great. Let God’s Spirit show you where to put your foot in!

Watch stories of people living deeper on mission:

Read stories of people living deeper on mission: