Friday, March 4, 2011

Extensive Use of STL Vehicles

STL vehicles are usually used for 8-10 years (at least two missionary 4-year terms) and then sold…with the sale funds then applied to other STL projects.

However, sometimes a missionary is able to use his/her STL vehicle for much longer. In one recent case, the Madagascar Field used a 1996 Kia 3 ½ ton truck extensively throughout the island in building churches, doing work and construction projects, etc. It was recently traded in on a newer vehicle…but not before it passed 1.1 million kilometers on it!

Surely God loves and blesses these vehicles and sustains them (and our missionaries!) throughout their many years of service.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sensitive and Restricted Countries

There is so much that STL does that I can’t even write about in any public forum. There are many workers in unsafe countries…where it is a crime to believe in God. In one such Asia Pacific country, there is a brave, young, single girl who has been able to find creative access. She has a STL vehicle that she named after a Bible character. She did so because the vehicle is "so strong and indestructible."

For my part, I’ve always been a “news junkie.” But even more so now! I know people in countries that are in turmoil. I’ve bought STL vehicles for Convoy of Hope’s work in Haiti. I’ve been a part of getting a missionary in Chile a vehicle shortly after their big earthquake and tsunami. World events are so much more real and riveting when people you know are affected.

May God help us to remember those who daily risk their lives in other countries. And may God help us to never take for granted the freedoms we have here in the U.S.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Partners in Ministry

I don’t think it’s common knowledge, but STL provides our missionaries with the tools that they need to print evangelism and training materials. We call it "Creative Communication." Whether it be a Bible school in Tanzania, a Christian school in the Philippines, or an ICI facility in Spain, your STL dollars are enabling missionaries to evangelize, train, and disciple new and young believers.

If you were to think about the reach of one missionary, then imagine that missionary’s exponential impact when combined with the resources of STL! In fact, many missionaries have reported that they can reach 75% more people with the gospel message because of Speed the Light.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spiritual Heritage

I have long pondered the concept of spiritual heritage. Looking at my own life, I feel that my steps and plans have been inexorably blessed. God has led me down better paths than I would have paved for myself and He has provided me with opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed on my own. But why? Although I have always endeavored to do right by Him and pursue justice, courage, and mercy, I have fallen short more times than I care to admit. What then is the reason for God’s unending generosity and blessing?

Frankly, I think a lot of it has to do with my parents. I am a second-generation Christian. My parents got saved in their early twenties and my dad then went to Bible school to become a pastor. He went to school during the day, worked at a psychiatric hospital at night, and led worship at church on weekends. Even so, he always made time to play with my brother and me every single day. Only God knows when the poor man was able to sleep! In the meantime, my mom homeschooled us since we lived in a rough neighborhood in Minneapolis. She was always (and still is!) a very patient, wise, and creative teacher.

We were so poor in those days that I can remember eating cream of wheat or oatmeal for every meal for a whole week. My parents sacrificed so much just to follow God’s call on their lives. After my dad finished Bible school, we accepted a pastorate at a very small church in northern Minnesota. I don’t know how much his salary was, but it wasn’t a lot. We didn’t have much during those 7 years, but we were always happy and loved.

I know that no sacrifice made for Jesus is ever forgotten or ever not paid back a thousand fold. Who can ever out-give God? And, in fitting the pieces and patterns of my life together, I think I am benefiting even now from the spiritual heritage, the spiritual legacy, I inherited from my parents.

So, I would like to take this brief moment to once again thank them for their sacrifices and faithfulness. Heritage is an amazing thing, and I am both grateful and blessed.

I can only imagine the heritage our missionaries leave to the generations that follow them. I can only imagine the sacrifices that God will someday repay a thousand fold for everything they give up now.

What kind of spiritual heritage are you leaving behind?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Thank You, Speed the Light!

As missionaries, we have so much to be thankful for…but one of the first things that comes to mind when we count our blessings is our STL vehicle. We would probably be forced to spend a whole additional year itinerating if we had to raise the funds for our vehicle on the field. Our old STL vehicle that we used in Mexico was passed along to another missionary when we left. Now here in Costa Rica, where there is a 100% luxury tax, importing that vehicle was just not cost effective.

So, after considering our needs and researching the options, we settled on a Hyundai H-1 12-passenger van. So far, we have transported students to and from school, packed friends in like sardines, hauled furniture, made a few road trips, and accomplished many other things with our new van. We are so thankful for a vehicle big enough to be a blessing to others. It helps our ministry and outreach to the communities we serve!

All that we have in this life comes from God, and we love blessing others with the things God has blessed us with.

So, to all the youth who have washed cars for a STL fund-raiser, to every youth pastor who has made a crazy faith promise requiring him to eat something gross or shave his head, to the parents who have seen their hard-earned cash going into the offering plate in front of their teen…we say THANK YOU! Because you blessed us, we are able to bless others here in Costa Rica. And THANK YOU to Speed the Light. We will do our best to spread the love of Jesus with the resources entrusted to us.

Josh Amiot and family
- missionaries to Costa Rica

Saturday, February 5, 2011

District Youth Directors (DYDs) - raising funds AND future leaders

Have you ever wondered how it’s possible that students…kids, really…provide so many vehicles to missionaries all over the world? Not to brag, but I’ve heard that our missionaries are the most well-equipped out there. Why is that? What makes the difference? How are students inspired to give so sacrificially? Aren’t today’s teens supposed to be self-focused? Isn't this an awful lot of questions to ask all in a row?

Well, today begins our annual District Youth Directors Conference. It is our District Youth Directors (DYDs) who have shouldered the responsibility of leading, training, and inspiring kids to give. It is a high calling to raise up tomorrow’s leaders, tomorrow’s pastors, tomorrow’s missionaries. For most students, the first time they are really exposed to missions is through giving…first to BGMC as little kids and then to Speed the Light as teenagers.

And let me tell you…these DYDs are some of the best (and most fun) leaders you’ll ever meet.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Is Speed the Light?

Let’s start with the basics: What is Speed the Light?

Speed the Light (STL) is a missions program in which students, individuals, churches, and organizations can provide vehicles and equipment to missionaries all over the world. It began in 1944, when Ralph W. Harris, then national Christ’s Ambassadors secretary (now known as National Youth Ministries director), prayed for a way to channel youth into worthwhile activities. The end of WWII was the answer to his prayer as it became apparent that there would be an abundance of military vehicles and equipment that could be purchased and used for missions work. As of December 2010, over $250 million has been given to STL.

I am the STL Projects Coordinator. What this means is that I have the privilege of being the one to actually purchase all the STL vehicles and equipment here in the U.S. and around the world. STL currently assists missionaries in over 180 countries! STL funds can also be approved to assist new churches, Teen Challenge centers, The Seven Project (school assemblies), and Convoy of Hope.

The purpose of this blog is to give you a glimpse into the workings of Speed the Light…and how every dollar you give makes a difference in eternity. I see it firsthand. I hear the testimonies from grateful missionaries. I know the sacrifices our missionaries make on the field and our students make here at home.

And I hope to share some of what I know with you.