a personal letter from Josh

Dear Friends and supporters:

I’m sorry to let you know that Lindsey and I have decided to return home to Texas. During our time here in Ukraine, God has made it clear to me that I am not called to full time mission work. However, we understand the importance of missions and will continue to participate and support them. I know that this is disappointing for many of you and hard to understand, but know that I love the Lord and want to follow his leading and not my own.

Having been here just over 3 months, I’ve had a lot of time for self evaluation and meditation on my motives for coming here. First, it is clear to me that it wasn’t because I have a calling for full time mission work, but rather I was trying to please Lindsey and the love she has for the Ukrainian people. Secondly, I let the money be a large deciding factor in us coming here. When we first began pursuing our mission work, the funds quickly started to accumulate. During this time, I still felt unsure about coming to Ukraine, but I saw the growing funds and let it lead me. However, just because the funds are available doesn’t mean you start building a building without first establishing its foundation.

On coming to this conclusion I have had to ask a lot of hard questions and make some hard decisions. I honestly believe that God brought me here to reveal these things to me that I may better serve him. Had I known what I know now I would have not pursued this path as hard as I have, but sometimes this is how we learn. I hope you will forgive me in my unplanned misleading when I told you that I was called to be a missionary. Lindsey and I both strongly love the Lord and want to serve him wherever we are, we’re just trying to figure out exactly where and how to serve him.

Upon our return home on August 13, I will return to my career as an electrician. Lindsey will continue full-time mission work with Sons of Salvation in their administrative and communications department. She will also help lead and facilitate short-term mission trips worldwide as needed; her first assignment being in the Bahamas in October. We both will serve in church ministries as well.

As far as our funds are concerned, we will no longer need any more continuing support sent for our work in Ukraine. The funds we have already received will continue to be used in Lindsey’s ongoing mission work with Sons of Salvation.

Thank you for your understanding and prayers as we are making this transition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email, as we do not yet have a USA phone number.

With my deepest gratitude,

Josh Parks

Leaving Soon!

We are leaving for Ukraine 2-22-08 till 3-2-08.

This trip is for us to make preparations to move there in a couple of months.

Please pray that we find a place to live, a tutor, and that we will make a lot of connections for future ministry opportunities.

There are several things we need to figure out such as phone, transportation, and more.

Pray for favor and that we will meet other Christians already there willing to help us in our transition.

Thanks and God bless

Back from the Bamboo Curtain…

As many of you know, I just returned from China where we were preparing for an upcoming mission trip during the Olympics. First of all, let me say thank you to all of you supporting our mission’s endeavors and for all the prayer for our work.

We accomplished a lot of our goals and now have a better understanding of the culture having actually been there. Please pardon the vagueness and for the lack of details as I describe some of the things we will be doing. I don’t want to reveal who we will be working with or where for the security of those already in the fight for China’s salvation.

China is very aware of the Christian’s attempts to spread the gospel and they’re quite intolerant. It is illegal to proclaim the gospel publicly in China, but if someone asks you about your faith you may share it with them.

We will be working with the Chinese in practicing their conversational English. One way we do this is talking about our culture and some of the holidays that we celebrate. Having a conversation in English with a Chinese person about the real meaning of Christmas, is one subtle approach to evangelizing this country. Also, by comparing a traditional Chinese wedding vs. a traditional Christian wedding is another. You can read more about evangelizing through English Here.

During our trip we made arrangements that will provide the kind of atmosphere where we will be able to do just that. We will also be doing some public outreach that we pray will open up the doors to sharing Christ. There is the possibility that those who go on this trip will actually get to stay in the homes of the Chinese people we will be ministering to.

Aside from all the preparations being made on this trip, I got to see just about all the amazing sites Beijing has to offer. This is truly a beautiful city. Amidst the huge buildings and flourishing businesses are the landmarks that define this country. There are temples all over the city and tons of sites to see.

Here is the list of places I saw: The Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, the Capital Museum, Tiananmen Square, and the Olympic Village and all the Olympic Facilities being built. Not to mention the Beijing Opera and a Kung Fu and Acrobat show.

I know… I know…it doesn’t sound like mission work but it really was all for the cause. We are going to be leading some groups in August and there will be some site seeing involved, so we needed to determine what the best ones to see were. This is a hard decision because they were all amazing.

If you are interested in going please contact us soon. We need to know how many people are going so we can facilitate everybody. Please let us know before the end of the year.

For photos from Beijing, click Here.

 

Going to China

On November 8, I will be flying to Chicago to meet up with my fellow SOS missionary, Jerauld. We will be flying to Beijing, China, on November 9. We will return on the 16th to Chicago, and I will return to Dallas on the 17th.

The purpose of our trip is to make preparations for our 2008 Olympic Missionary Tour. We will be scouting out the sleeping arrangements, housing, and finding different places for them to do outreach and ministry.

This will be my first time going to make preparations for a short term mission trip. It will be an awesome opportunity and learning experience as we are preparing to lead short term trips in the Ukraine.

Just in case you didn’t know, China is a communist country. They don’t allow Christianity to be practiced in the majority of the country. Bible smuggling is illegal and there is great persecution for believers.

During the 2008 Olympics, China will be opening it’s doors to all the nations of the world and therefor is subject to all sorts of spiritual infiltration. We are seizing this opportunity to go to China and share the hope of Jesus Christ. Not only will there be opportunities to minister to the Chinese people, but also to all of the people of the world that will be there for the Olympics. If Christ is preached to all of the nations during this event imagine the possibilities. Picture in your mind for a moment converted believers going back to their countries and sharing the GOOD NEWS.

If your interested in being a part of this event there is a place for you. Please contact me if you are interested.

Please pray for our safe travels and success in finding the right places to do evangelism.

the replacements

Currently, I lead our youth group in worship on Sundays. I have been involved in worship teams for several years. However, my wife and I are making preparations to be full time missionaries to Ukraine next year and I am about to have to step down from the worship team.

Today I had the privilege of coming up with the replacement teams. It’s always hard to let go of something you’ve been working on for so long and put countless hours into.

As I hammered out the details for the new teams I started to have some doubts. But by the grace of God I did it. It’s gonna be different than before but I know that this group is very talented and God has big plans for them.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love…

1 John 4:20 (New International Version)20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

 

Jesus gave us a new command that said we should love one another. This is very hard. Often I complain and talk about others with whom I am frustrated. In these times I need to remember Christ’s words above. Andrew Murray wrote in his book “Absolute Surrender”, “You can deceive yourself with beautiful thoughts about loving God. ” He goes on to say, “You must prove your love to God by your love for your brothers, that is the standard by which God will judge your love to Him.”

When I read the words from 1 John, I am forced to look at how I treat others. I can’t physically see God the way I see those who I come in contact with on a day to day basis. Those whom I can see I don’t always care to be around and often find hard to love. Christ says that if we can’t love those around us then we can’t love God. Which then again, forces me to treat others better than I feel they deserve.

I do love God very much and therefore I must set aside all differences with others and love them, even my enemies. Lord, give me a heart that loves like you do. Even when I am far from you, you still love me. Even when I reject you, you are always there for me. Help me to reach out to others the way you reach out to me.

Meditating on the Word

Joshua 1:8-9 (New International Version)8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 1:2-3 (New International Version) 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

James 1:25 (New International Version)25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

The Creator of the universe has interest in us and desires to reveal Himself to us. He has given us the words of life through the pages of the Bible. Not only do we have this great treasure but also the promises in it are for us. The Father loves us so much that through Christ we can have hope for the future. God promises that those who earnestly seek Him in His word will be blessed. Oh what a privilege to have this book in so many translations and styles today.

I want to be the tree planted by the water that is yielding fruit. Clearly to do this I must read the Word and do what it says. By soaking my mind in the scriptures His thoughts become mine and I begin to decrease. To truly live we must die to self and let Christ reign on the throne of our lives.