The Purpose of Mission

On our 16-hour flight to India, we had a lot of time on our hands — more time than others even — since our “lucky” seats were located in a small section of the plane that happened to have defective media systems (that little screen on the seat-back in front of you). What that meant for us, was that we were unable to pass the time by watching movies or listening to music stations like the happy passengers across the aisle. Another unfortunate byproduct of the broken media system was that the overhead lights would not turn on. This further limited our available options, since we couldn’t read, write or even locate our passports, at times. Furthermore, we wanted to push through our EST internal clocks, so even though we only had three hours of sleep the night before we left, we fought our desire to crash in an attempt to transition ourselves to India time. Constrained to our airplane seats in complete darkness, we resorted to listening to the only available entertainment on Cassie’s iPhone — a Tim Keller podcast downloaded right before boarding our flight, based on a recommendation by Cassie’s brother-in-law (thanks Brad!). What at first seemed like a serious inconvenience, we soon realized was a divine appointment.

“Missions” was the title of the podcast and it unpacked the whole idea of being missional, reaffirming our motivations for this year and encouraging us. “If there is lack of joy, there is lack of mission,” Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Church in Manhattan explains. We really liked how he made the connection to being missional in an everyday sense though, not just in terms of Christianity. How a child when asked what they want to do when they grow up, almost always answers with world-changing desires — they don’t ever say, “I want to sit at a desk in an office and work on a computer pushing papers around.” When does this childlike sense of mission burn out? Why do we start placing our own selfish desires above life-changing mission and then question why we don’t have joy in our lives? “There are some causes that are greater than your personal fulfillment, and mission must burn in us because of truth and love.” Keller goes on to talk about the Christian responsibility to live on mission, because God never calls you in just to bless you without calling you to be a blessing to others. “Come in and get, so you can go out and give.”

We were feeling more encouraged with our crazy decision and even reassured about our choice of name (Agape Visuals), but the third point is what presented a challenge to us personally — How do we have effective mission? We knew we were called to serve in mission around the world that would benefit countless people, but we had not considered how to measure our effectiveness personally. This also tied in closely with a conversation we had with Cassie’s parents while driving to the airport before our first departure. They asked us what our expectations were for this year, but with the hustle and bustle of planning, packing, and tying up loose ends, this was a question we had not asked ourselves until that moment. Sure, we knew we wanted to produce quality work for every organization where we are serving and to bless them 10-fold in raising support for their causes, but we hadn’t come up with a personal goal until this podcast. In order to have effective mission, we need to work on our personal holiness. Keller explains that most people who are skeptical of Christianity haven’t ever met a holy person. Jesus sent out his disciples with holiness and they changed the world. Now we know that is our mission for this year.

When media systems fail or you feel like you are sitting in darkness, get your heart right and it will change your entire focus, from inward to outward.

If you want to listen to the Tim Keller podcast that inspired and challenged us: you can listen to it here.

Four Indian meals later (not counting the help-yourself sandwich buffet by the bathrooms), we arrived in India. Back2Back Ministries greeted us at the Hyderabad airport with flower garlands that they put over our necks, an Indian tradition. They let us call home on their cell phones, which made for some very happy (and surprised) parents! Cassie’s dad’s first words when he answered were “holy crap!” It was about 8:30pm when we headed to our hotel, so the drive was dark but the warm air was welcoming, balanced by a nice breeze. We are exhausted but thrilled and look forward to beginning our work here.

21 thoughts on “The Purpose of Mission

  1. Glad to hear you made it safe and sound. Looking forward to reading more about your journey.
    You are both in our thoughts and prayers every day.
    Love,
    Uncle Dick and Aunt Gloria

  2. Wow you guys are an inspiration! Glad you made it these safely. It’s amazing how
    Small the world can be these days,after your flight around the world I’m sure maybe you don’t feel the same way, but here I am in a freezing NJ sharing your journey. And you in a warm India
    God bless you,
    Paul

  3. I am so glad that Brad was inspired to send that out to you! He had just listened to it while running at the beach and found it very personally challenging for us too! I am thankful you are giving your life away this year and know that in that mission you will find joy and hopefully more personal holiness. Love you guys.

  4. Whew, Step One accomplished! You should be extra glad to be there instead of here right now: It never got out of the teens today (Smoke wore her snow booties out at the barn), and we’re expecting a substantial snow tomorrow night.

    1. Hey Jordan & Cassie, It seems that you have started your trip exactly the right way….hearing from the Lord through that message. I can hardly wait to hear how He calls each of you and especially how He will transform you in so many ways in the coming months. I’m so thankful that you have stepped out in faith and I can guarantee that your lives will never be the same!!! Your brother, Wes

  5. Cassie, my heart is so filled with joy to be able to follow you and your husband on this amazing voyage. I can’t help but think back on all the wonderful, silly and crazy times you and Chels had and I got to share with you two as well….brings tears to my eyes! God bless you and keep you thru out this journey. Again, I am SO excited to follow it with you two! All my love, Kim.

  6. Many think of the notion of Grace as some sort of state in which we are magically and completely transformed from being fallen to being reborn cleansed and perfect. It has been my personal experience, however, that Grace is more a choice to listen to the notion that we have been given the chance to rise, step by step, up the mountain of our existence. In this sense, the holy water of our life is the sweat we break as we climb in the act of service to the kingdom without borders, only good roads – the kingdom in which we are always exactly where we need to be, traveling the paths one step at a time, one breath at a time.

    Grace is a choice to think of Heaven as a journey rather than a destination.

    I this now because, as I read your words, I ponder that perhaps Mission is similar. Is it, I wonder, a state of mindfulness rather than a sense of purpose?

    You two are always so good at turning the gears within my head and get me to thinking. I would seem that today would be no different. May your travels be ever breathless.

    Much luv,
    ‘S

  7. Cassie and Jordan, thank you for the wonderful updates! I love Tim Keller and can’t wait to download the podcast 🙂 I will be praying Hebrews 12:14 for you–may many see Jesus through your holiness! Love you, Carey

  8. You and Jordan are an inspiration and reminder to me of how much Jesus loves each of us. You are answering His calling and changing lives, as He did, as you go on your journey. Trusting and listening intently has become a trade mark for your lives and now you are doing what He is saying to you daily. Your example and leadership is reaching the people He has called you to. Travel in His Grace and Peace.

  9. Cassie and Jordan,

    Well, you’re “off to see the wizard”. Hope you’re balloon gets back safely…and you have a fun ride. We will certainly follow your travels and keep you in our daily prayers. God bless!!

    Love,
    Uncle Ron

  10. Moore County is covered in white!
    As I look out the windows,
    It’s quite a sight!

    As you travel on your journey
    So much of God’s creation you will see,
    From the mountains and valleys
    to the lakes and the seas.

    Can’t wait to see pictures
    As you travel afar.
    You two will “shine” brightly
    As you’re Heaven’s brightest Stars!

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