Scripture Focus: Acts 20.1-2
1 When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of encouragement to the people…

Reflection: Embrace Your Mission
By Carolyn Soto Jackson

After seventeen scorching days in Italy last month, the music ministry in which I serve came back with hundreds of testimonies, many of them my own. 
This was my first mission trip, and one on which I had much to learn. My prayer was two-fold. Lord, change as many lives as possible with the gospel, including my own. God answered my prayers beautifully.
This mission frequently brought Apostle Paul to mind. 
Paul is one of the most pivotal and influential leaders in Christian history. Paul’s frequent missionary journeys seemed to have similar goals to my own. In his letters, we read on many occasions how Jesus changed his life. Of course, his purpose was to share the gospel with as many people as possible. 
Other disciples often joined Paul in his adventures. His mission was rarely accomplished alone. Paul’s mission brought others together and molded diverse people into unified disciples. But how? 
One way was by making himself available for others. 
Often Paul “embraced” and “encouraged” others while ministering to them. Part of his journey involved enjoying others and their company, and offering encouragement when things turned bleak. 
Let me be candid, on a mission when you are hot, exhausted, and hungry, life becomes real. Emotions arise, complaints begin to surface, and you realize serving with others puts you in vulnerable places. So, after a long trip, even amidst frustrations and complex emotions, embracing and encouraging others is an example of serving others well. This spirit of hospitality shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is crucial to embrace others in love, especially when we do not want to. 
How imperative is it to encourage others with our words and prayers? Read through Paul’s incredible travels, and notice how often he traveled with others and broke bread with those he encountered. 
We are all on a mission. 
On this mission, we must bring love wherever we go. Whether we go overseas or across the street, let us bring light to every place of darkness.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for I put my trust in you; show me the road that I must walk, for I lift up my soul to you, — Psalm 143.8

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 62 (Listen -2:09)
Acts 20 (Listen – 5:22)

Read more about Humble, Welcoming Servants
Help us to serve all and humbly welcome those whom you place in the center of our gatherings.