Beloved Friends & Family,
I am writing this letter to inform you on the events of this summer, the months leading up to it and where we are at now. Throughout our summer, there have been an abundance of opportunities that grew our faith and confidence in El Shaddai. We saw the power of God transform lives and change families, including our own. And as we all live among the people of this world, we observe different walks of life. We also experience things that shape what we perceive to be true, however, only genuine believers filter these experiences through God’s Holy Word and allow His Holy Word to define the methods of any ministry.
Earlier this year Rebecca and I were noticing parts of the ministry in D.C. coming to a completion. At first, we had no idea why. However, we knew that we still had to continue in our service to Washington D.C. One of the areas we noticed a significant change in was that many of the people we were ministering to on the streets were returning home to their families, relocating to different areas, or in one case, admitting themselves into a rehab program at the Salvation Army. In other areas of our ministry, including our service to the assisted living center and our church, we saw God putting our work on hold that we might learn from Him what we were to include next. For our family, the work that God was calling us to this summer started early, specifically speaking, Friday morning, March 15th.
It was a normal Friday morning, Rebecca was homeschooling Annalise and Everett, while I was preparing to go evangelize the streets in and around the National Mall in Washington D.C. as I did on most Fridays. While in prayer, I knew I was not permitted to leave by the Holy Spirit just yet, for by faith, I was waiting for something. Something that would challenge us to trust God more and grow our family deeper in our faith. With the kids schooling completed, Rebecca and I began to plan and prepare for the Spiritual battleground I was about to enter, once more. During our conversation, we noticed a black flash falling out of the corner of our eye from the outside of our sliding glass door in our living room. We greatly hoped it was only a teddy bear. But upon jumping up and rushing out to our patio, we found Everett curled up on the ground, motionless. Apparently he was leaning on a window screen inside the kids room, watching the squirrels run about all over the tree outside and fell four stories to the ground. I cannot explain the terror that came upon us both.
As Rebecca and I ran down flights of stairs, God spoke to me, saying, “Will you praise Me regardless of the outcome?” I took a deep breath and jumped down another flight of stairs and responded, “Yes, no matter the condition of my son, dead or alive, I will glorify Your Name.” Within seconds, Rebecca and I swung the front door open to our apartment building and arrived on the scene where Everett was frozen and terrified. Miraculously, he was awake, coherent and trying to get up (it has always been hard to slow Everett down). In order to not cause further damage by Everett trying to pick himself up, Rebecca very gently picked him up and carried him inside as I began to call 911. As I spoke with the dispatcher, she informed me that they were only 2 minutes away.
The paramedics that arrived asked a plethora of questions before Rebecca and Everett were immediately taken to Children’s National Hospital at the center of Washington D.C. via ambulance. Annalise and I followed shortly after in our car. Little did we know that the evangelizing wasn’t going to be done as per usual on the streets but, through the power and grace of God, our whole family preached Christ with everyone we encountered beginning with Everett.
From the doctors and the attending physicians to the different case workers assigned to us, and after all of the testing, Everett only had mild bruising and minor hairline hip fractures. Doctors kept asking him if he was scared but he continued to boldly declare; “God made me brave because I have Jesus in my heart.” Annalise kept correcting everyone when they said Everett was lucky, she said, “NO! There is no such thing as luck, only God’s power.”
We were in the hospital for only 20 hours with one rehab session and clearing every protocol before being released. For the next two months, we had to rearrange our schedule and adapt the ministry to the strengthening of our family. We were blessed to focus on our family and allow others to minister to us. With regular visits and delivered goods, we were now receiving our share of the hard work we had tilled since our first steps of faith in October 2017. This began the next phase of ministry for us. Just as Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:6, we constantly nourished each other through our studying of God’s Word. By digging deeper into the faith that God has given us through the power of His Word and through the ministering of a few of His genuine disciples, God was preparing our family for what was next.
We knew we couldn’t live in our apartment any longer, for it was obvious to us that we were restricted in our ministry living there, given our new situation. By faith we began our search for a new home that we might implement the fruition of our faith with others through a better avenue… or so we thought.
One afternoon, as I was studying for one of my sermons, I received a text that ended our search. It was from a missionary friend, who had no idea we were looking for a new home, offering for us to come and learn from them as well as help them out with a camp for Chinese believer’s for the summer. But what caught me off guard was that it was back in California. Within one week of fasting and praying, both, Rebecca and I knew this was the answer to our prayer.
By faith, and two months later, we packed up all of our belongings, and placed everything we owned in a storage unit. I put Rebecca and the kids, along with Rebecca’s mother, who came to help, on an airplane and with our dog Diego, I drove across the country, back to California in the beginning of June.
As stated earlier, the family we were going to be living with and serving alongside with is a missionary family who once served for eight years in the demonically oppressed, communist China. During their time in China, they were training, equipping and discipling numerous families and members of the underground church as well as facilitating a special needs & children’s hospital. One night, they received a short phone call to immediately vacate their home and leave the country within two hours, for their lives were in danger. This was three years ago.
Since then, God has relocated them and their missionary work to Southern California, for now. Through the grace and power of God, they continue to serve the persecuted Christian body abroad today.
The task set before us was at first overwhelming considering we felt so unprepared to serve our persecuted brethren but we knew this was the next step of faith. What we learned helped us to continue living as missionaries in America. Upon first arriving, we had to adjust to living with another family. The husband is British, his wife and daughter are Chinese and with us being American, this meant we had three different cultures and traditions we needed to put aside in order to maintain and grow a heavenly mindset and Biblical perspective throughout the summer. But it didn’t stop there, for after a few weeks time we were going to be receiving multiple groups of people from China. Some of them where people they had ministered to within those eight years in China. We had about 15-20 people living with us in the same house and it goes without saying, our summer was very lively indeed. But the fruit was beyond measure. There was fear, apprehension and brokenness all around us but we had to learn to trust each other with the mind of Christ. This transcended our traditional approaches and the influences of each culture. God was breaking the mold on what “normal” ministry looked like to us.
When you have a large group of people living together there can be a lot of needs, but for the first time, we participated in what we can only explain as the events that happened in Acts 2, specifically, verses 40-47. The same work that God did with His disciples in Acts 2 in the year 30 AD, we experienced and participated in during this summer of 2019. Radically, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we sold possessions and distributed goods as the ministry and people had need. Day after day we regularly assembled together, united in purpose, breaking bread with one another and constantly praising God for the transformation we were witnessing in one another. The times of discipleship seemed constant and because we all were in the mindset that this was indeed a community meant to cultivate every individuals gifts to serve God and edify each other. There was a desire for more… More holiness, more Godly characteristics to imitate, more of Him. This equality in the work of God bred and flourished fruits of righteousness and repentance that left us in awe of God’s power.
Needless to say, we rocked the boats and sank the ships of any unbelieving or rebellious thought that was in direct opposition to His work. We were not trying to seek and remove on our own any non-Biblical practices or influences. But it was through the convicting work and the power of the Holy Spirit that He crushed the obstacles that stood in the way of completing His ministry through us as a whole. God proved, yet again, there is nothing in ourselves we can do apart from Him.
As the summer was drawing to a close, it was time for some of our Chinese brethren to head back home (four of the Chinese teenage boys stayed behind to remain in California for the opportunity to go to school along with one going to school in Kentucky). It was now their turn to go back and share all that they had learned. To make more disciples of Christ in their hometown and families. And for us, it was time to decide. Do we go back to Washington D.C. or do we stay with our missionary friends to continue on the work they are doing for our Chinese brethren? Although we yearned to stay and continue helping our missionary friends because honestly, the fruit was so quickly seen and abundant, we knew that our place was to continue ministering to not only the people of our country, but at the heart of it. In one of the hardest places imaginable to be a missionary.
The body of Christ is worldwide, not just in one church to the next and thus we know that this is not the last opportunity we will have to work with our missionary friends. Please pray with us as there is a possibility that God might send groups from China to D.C., if the Lord wills (James 4:13-17).
In some previous letters and in this one, we have described our lives by living as missionaries in America. I would like to spend the remainder of this letter to better explain this in more detail, so you know the direction we are heading.
Normal “missionary” work usually consists of building orphanages, taking care of physical needs, whether it be food, water and clothing, or some other need that another non-profit organization says they must complete. Rarely is it simply to preach Christ and live among the sheep (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 AMPC). In the mission trips that I have been a part of, never did I get to live with and smell like the sheep that I was supposedly ministering to. In the world of missions, there are always some board of directors somewhere that are directing and dictating the ways that missions work should be accomplished. Most of the operations do not require faith but having everything planned beforehand instead, i.e. money first. The business mindset has no place in missionary work and doing good things only to create more wayside believers is not ultimately helping anyone’s faith to flourish.
We’ve been told that our faith and how we obey God in what His will is for us is ancient and outdated and, not to mention, extreme. Which it may seem true since Rebecca and I like to say that we best relate with really old, dead guys. Biographies of people like George Müller, Hudson Taylor and prophets like Jeremiah give us great encouragement. In the most recent missionary biography we have read, the author outlines what he learned while researching and listening to persecuted believers from over 45 countries. His main goal was to figure out what makes a good missionary and the missing ingredient in missions. In a country where there are many, many persecuted believers the question was asked, “What makes a good missionary?” and each of the believer’s responded the same… “We don’t know what makes a good missionary, but we can tell you the name of the man we love.” This drove the missionary author crazy because each time he asked, they didn’t give his name and again all the answers were the same. He even confesses his jealousy for this unnamed man, but states that for the life of him he couldn’t understand what would make this “man they loved” deserving of such a honorable statement. Then finally, in his own words he states: “One of the men leaned across the table toward me and said forcefully, ‘You want to know why we love him? We love him because he borrows money from us!’ I was stunned. I thought to myself, Well I can do that, if that’s what it takes to be loved by believers in persecution. His statement, however, hinted at something much deeper, and I pleaded with him to explain. What I heard felt like that horse-kick to the stomach. The words knocked the breath out of my body. The man said, ‘When this missionary’s father died, he came to us and asked for our help. We didn’t have much, but we gathered an offering of love. We bought him a plane ticket so that he could go home to America and bury his father. This man and his family give everything they have to the poor. They struggle to pay rent and school fees, and put meat on the table. And when he has a great need, what does he do? He doesn’t go to the other Westerners for money. He comes to us. He comes to the scattered and the poor, he comes to local believers, and he asks for, and gets, our help. Do you want to know why we love him? HE NEEDED US. The rest of you have never needed us.” The missionary author then confesses that he was tearfully overwhelmed. He continues on by saying, “So much of what we do is about us and about what we can provide. We travel around the world to ‘meet the needs’, not to be honest about our own, nor to become part of their body of Christ. We are the ‘haves’, and they are the ‘have-nots’.” In finishing his thoughts, the missionary author states: “If I were to start my missionary life over, I would bury my pride and unpack some humility. I would become a brother, a friend, and a peer. I would care more about the names of my brothers and sisters on the “mission field” and less about the numbers of baptisms, people discipled, churches planted and orphanages built.” He finishes his thought by saying, “I would take to heart the lesson of John the Baptist, saying about a local believer what John said about Jesus, “I must decrease so that He can increase” (John 3:30). I would invite local believers to lead in the light while I served in the shadows. I would have pressed into what it meant to really need them. The missing ingredient in missions is that we need the people we serve.”
Okay, now I know there may be many thoughts and emotions that are filling your heart and mind from this letter, but there is one clear thing we all must understand. I quote Andrew Murray in his book Absolute Surrender to give it the best possible explanation, “I desire by God’s grace to make this point unquestionably clear: God answers your prayers for spiritual blessing with this one requirement: the willingness to surrender yourself absolutely into His hands.”
Please do not misconstrue this letter as an arrogant or prideful admonishing, or even that miraculously we have achieved something great. We share this for the sake of holiness and directly participating in building God’s kingdom, not our legacy nor another organization. This world doesn’t need more church plants nor non-profit organizations. Rather what this world needs, is to see on display, genuine disciples of Christ, exercising their faith, by faith, as they smell like the sheep that they live with and let other sheep minister to them for we all desperately need each other. Live under the shadow of HIS wings as you equip, edify and evangelize everywhere you go! May God bless your journey!
Your slaves in Christ,
Mark, Rebecca, Annalise,
Everett & Diego Medeiros
Beloved Friends & Family,