Here’s a great story from an I am Second Expedition.
“Our team gathered in a home in rural India. We first shared about Malaria using the MalariaCube, and then split the group to do Second groups. One went to the back of the house and the people that remained in my group were four old women, none of whom could read. One of the young girls that could read translated and also participated.
“As I looked around the room, I thought to myself that maybe we should just find another house and a younger audience, as obviously these four “old women” wouldn’t understand. Because they were hard working women, we read the story of Martha and Mary. The four chatted among themselves and didn’t seem to be paying attention. I began feeling this effort was in vain. Each time as we asked follow-up questions about the story, the women chatted with each other – and chatted – and chatted. Oh boy – why bother?
“Despite my expectations, when we asked the old women how they would share what they’d learned, they responded that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with others while working in the field. Because they couldn’t read, I figured they’d only be able to tell part of story, and probably only once. That’s where I had it all wrong.
“The group hushed as one woman,(I call her and “Indian Martha,”) recounted the Bible story in great detail, adapting for their culture where appropriate and applying the story to their real lives. They may not read, but they had amazing listening and memory skills! It turns out all the chatter was simply them having discussions about the scripture, and there was no need to include me. WOW!
“God once again was glorified as He showed our team that the same Holy Spirit that lives in us, lives in each of these old women. I learned (again) to never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!” – Mary W.
“Pastor Gireesh was skeptical. Since he had never used I am Second methods before our team arrived, he wondered if it would work in the the villages there in India. But soon his doubt turned to delight!
“Each morning, our e3 Partners Expedition members, local believers, and interpreters met Pastor Pastor Gireesh and his wife, Shobha, along with their two sons, Aaron (14) and Asher (10), to participate in a Second group before we headed out for the day. I was on a team with 10-year old Asher. One day, when it came time for “Live and Tell,” Asher spoke up confidently announcing, “I am going to tell my friend about Jesus. I will use my mom’s phone and call him tonight.”
“The next morning, 10 year-old Asher led our I am Second group. After everyone finished sharing how they had lived out the commitments made the previous day, I asked Asher if he had called his friend. He boldy answered, “Yes! I called my friend and told him about Jesus.” Afterwards, the friend’s father got on the phone and thanked Asher for telling his son about Jesus – and asked for directions to their church. That Sunday, Asher’s friend came to church with his father and mother. All three prayed to receive Jesus that day! The father told Pastor Gireesh that he had long wanted to come to a church, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Asher was obedient and kept his commitment. God was gracious and gave Pastor Gireesh a new family of believers to shepherd!
“Pastor Gireesh gushed about the spiritual growth of his own family as well, during the e3 expeditions and I am Second group meetings. He quoted Joshua 24:15 several times, ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
“May we all be as faithful and bold as young Asher!”
OK, admit it. As you read the title to this post, you were wondering if this is an “R” rated post? Right?
Well, it does have an “R” rating… but “R” in this case stands for “Redemption.”
Jake, a high school student from Texas, spent his Spring Break on an I am Second Expedition to Lima, Peru. Half a world away, Jake teamed up with local church members in a middle class neighborhood in Lima to talk to people about Him who is First.
A glance down the street hinted at fear–there were iron bars covering just about every door and window in sight. Like her neighbors, Hester relied on those bars to separate her and her casita (little home) from those she feared.
But Jake was not deterred. His translator told Hester that Jake had come from the U.S. to share some good news. That led to chit chat, which developed into a spiritual conversation. As she showed interest, that progressed to an explanation, using the EvangeCube, of how to put Jesus first in her life. Hester decided to receive Jesus as her Savior.
Along with his translator and local church members, Jake returned to Hester’s casita to help her learn how to follow Jesus. Jake and his team used an I am Second group to do this. It was exciting to see Hester discuss the Bible the church members, breaking a pattern of isolation that had separated her from the local church.
Equipped with his pre-trip training and preparation, Jake overcame language, culture, age, gender, socio-economic, and even iron barriers. Perhaps one of the few stories about “Spring Break, women and bars” that has a happy and healthy ending.
Newlyweds Sarah and Hugo attended Bible college together in Argentina. There, they learned of God’s love and character, growing closer to Him and to each other. With passion for the Lord and reaching others for Christ, the Liborio family became missionaries abroad in the Dominican Republic.
Hugo found the I am Second movement to be a powerful tool for sharing his faith and wore the wristband everyday. Though a young and healthy man, while home on leave he suffered an aneurysm during a pickup basketball game.
Unconscious and in critical condition, his wife fished out a simple black bracelet beneath the many hospital bands on Hugo’s wrist. In white writing was his lasting statement: “I am Second.” Wrought with grief Sarah thought,“maybe it was God speaking to me in a voice that I could be comforted by.” As her husband’s earthly body slipped away, she felt him reassure her, “If God needs my life… it’s O.K. because I am Second.”
The inside of Hugo’s wedding band is engraved with “I am Second.” Today Sarah shares what she calls “the I am Second night I had with Hugo.” Her loss becomes a legacy of gain as Jesus Christ is glorified and others are inspired to share, to connect – to become Second.
As she says, “No matter what the cost, I will serve God.”
In life, the One who is First gives purpose. In death, the One who is First gives comfort.
Sarah and Hugo’s story and his legacy of Second is celebrated in her book and website.
I am Second’s simple and powerful ministry is spreading like wildfire all over the world. Sam, an I am Second Expedition leader, takes us to Ruminahui, Ecuador, where he saw a shopkeeper’s life change right before his eyes:
“I went out with the medical missions team our first day of ministry. After caring daylong for people’s physical needs, dozens returned in the evening for a Yo Soy Segundo (I am Second) group. We circled up and began with the Bible story about Zacchaeus. The audience listened intently and responded well to the six discussion questions in the I am Second materials. When we inquired, ‘how will you apply what you have learned?’ one lady timidly raised her hand. This is her story.
‘I have a small store in my house. I sell eggs, rice, beans and things like that. Some people I don’t like. I am embarrassed to admit this but I sometimes put my finger on the scale. That way they don’t get a full measure. I am so ashamed. I am no better than the man in this story, Zacchaeus. I want God to forgive me and I want to go and find these people to tell them what I have done. The next time they come I will give them more than they pay for.’
She cried through her testimony, as did we. This new sister in Christ truly understood this simple biblical example of Jesus’ love and forgiveness and understood how to apply it in her life.”
Want to see life change in your friends and family like this? No matter what part of the country (or the world) you are in, we’re here to help you! Check out our online training and learn how easy it is to lead a Second group. Click here for more info.
One of the lesser known parts of I Am Second is our awesome parent organization, e3 Partners- an organization dedicated to sending everyday people into the world to share the story of Jesus. They make it easy to say “yes, I’ll go.” If you’re looking for a way to make a huge impact for Christ and have a blast doing it, come with I Am Second on an Expedition. It will truly change your life. Take a minute to watch this short film and find out just what an Expedition is.
I get the joy of spending today in prayer instead of on the mission field, so I´d ask that you join me! I was supposed to be going out to my site this morning, but unfortunately, I got sick this morning. So instead, I not only get to intercede in prayer, I also get to ask YOU to help me do the same. Yesterday, it took my team 3 hours to get to our site… so it´s obvious that Satan is scared by something that is happening in Sipe Sipe! I´m going to type out my prayer, with instructions for you as you pray with me. At e3 (and I am Second), we are HUGE believers int he Lord´s prayer. Nothing is magical about the words of the Lord´s prayer, but the model is valuable in getting our hearts right before Christ as we ask for His provision. Let´s pray for my brothers and sisters on the field!
RELATIONSHIP – ¨Our Father in heaven…¨ God we thank you that you have adopted us as your children. We thank you that you provide for us only as a Perfect Father could, and we trust you because you have graciously spared nothing good from us–including the death of Your Son, Jesus Christ. (Now acknowledge our relationship to Him–that He is our Father)
WORSHIP – ¨…hallowed be your name…¨ Father your are the Holy one. You are the famous one. Nothing compares to You. There is no one like You. You are our provider. You are the Creative one. You are perfectly merciful and just. You are incredible. Your lovingkindness surpasses understanding. Your wisdom is beyond measure. (Now worship Him for who He is.)
SURRENDER – ¨Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.¨ Lord we hand this mission over to You. Lord our service is not because these people need Christ (although they do), but because you have instructed us to do so and have provided a way. Let everything that happens this week be Your will and not our own. Guide our steps with your precious Holy Spirit. Father I pray the celebrations that will come this week because of those who will believe in you will be a glimpse of Heaven. Father we surrender our plans, egos, pride, way of doing things, and our mission to You. We only desire to do Your will. (Is there something in your life that you need to surrender to the Lord? Surrender it now.)
ASK – ¨Give us this day our daily bread…¨ Father we ask You to provide opportunities to share your name on these sites. Specifically Lord, I pray that each site will find a person of peace who is both receptive to the gospel, and influential in their community, so that this work can continue when we´ve left. Father I pray specifically for Jared right now. Both of his team members are sick today and at the hotel. This means he is leading and with the Bolivians by himself today. Give him the words to say and guide his leadership. Father, I pray for all of the Bolivians who work with the churches already, that they will be growing in You this week so that they will be well equipped to share the gospel and to lead when we leave. Father I pray for the American leaders, that you will give them Your wisdom and discernment. Father I pray for quick healing for both myself and Kenny, that we may be able to do Your work tomorrow. (Anything else you can think of that needs prayer on this trip, ask now.)
FORGIVE – ¨…forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.¨ Father I ask that we can show your forgiveness to those who we need to forgive. (Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive but haven´t? Surrender that to Him, because ¨… if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.¨)
PROTECTION – ¨And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.¨ Father, Satan is clearly attacking, but we know that even He is subject to You. Protect your children from Satan´s schemes and lies. He tries to put stumbling blocks in our way, but You can protect us. If Satan tries to tempt anyone on our teams to sin, make the way out clear. Father You are bigger and stronger than Satan or his demons, so we trust you and ask you to protect us. (Pray for protection from the evil one)
WORSHIP – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Thank you for praying with me over the team in Bolivia. We´ve completely surrendered to the Lord and it´s obvious that Satan is scared. All of you that have been praying, have the blessing of taking part in the incredible work being done here by the Lord. I can´t wait until Christ´s return when we can all learn the impact of our prayers and actions. Praise God that He allows us to be part of His plan!
After 16 years, this is what I have to show for my efforts.
The following excerpts come from my 16 year who wrote the follow for a school assignment. I have to admit, I’m glad she “get’s” what I am Second is all about. Now, the mission is to get the word out to those who have not met Jesus Christ. From my daughter, Elizabeth:
“When you think of a symbol, what comes to your mind? Is it the Nike Swoosh? Maybe it is the AT&T mobile networking globe? A symbol can be more than just a picture; it usually has a deeper meaning. Some symbols that are more that just a logo like the cross, the Ichthys, or a purity ring. These are recognizable symbols of a Christian lifestyle. A new symbol has emerged.
In December of 2008, the North Texas campaign of I Am Second was launched. The symbol of the I am Second campaign is a chair. The chair is where everything happens: the tears, the laughter, and the memories all unfold there. The meaning behind the campaign is to put God first, and if we are putting God first we become second, therefore getting the name, I Am Second.
They use relevant influences to capture the attention of people visiting the site. This is exactly what this generation needs, famous Christian figures giving testimony about how Christ changed their life! At the end of each video they give an invitation to accept Christ. The impact on the nation does not happen because of the chair. The impact from the stories inspire new believers to become second and existing believers into Kingdom action. Since I am Second is an evangelical tool to reach the lost and hurting, I think very highly of it! My family has gotten very involved with this campaign. In fact, my dad is getting ready to go into the full-time ministry with e3 Partners, the ministry behind the web site. It’s ironic, but it seems that everybody wants to go out of the country to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. My question is this: What about the people right here in our own back yard? Do they not need to know Jesus Christ just as much as others do? They do need to know. I honestly believe, that the impact that I am Second is having on people is amazing! Through this campaign thousands of people are coming to know Christ and they are being plugged into churches that can help them grow in God’s word.
My name is Elizabeth McElyea and I am second. Are you?”
Needless to say, I am proud of my daughter and more importantly I know there are thousands of others just like her. People all around the globe that are using the web site and materials to help fulfill the Great Commission; sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and making disciples. You know, Jesus never made a distinction between domestic and foreign missions, we’re all instructed to reach the lost and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Why not step out and join the revolution of “Second”?
As project manager of the I am Second movement for e3 Partners I have been known to keep some late nights. Sometimes it’s prepping for a presentation or a day of video interviews. At other times it’s sending e-mails to folks going over the checklist of tasks to accomplish the next day.
Or it could be reviewing the latest rough cut of a feature conducted by our outstanding video partners Scott Mayo and Sam Ditore. It could be perusing the latest photographs by Trey Hill and Stanley Tongai; reading a blog entry by Shannon Culpepper or Victoria Childress: getting a peak at the latest creativity from Adam Leydig and Kristin Baxter; going over notes from meetings with our visionaries and strategists Nathan Sheets and Mike Jorgensen, organizing an event with Kristin DeRight and Bobbie Arnett; going over web applications with Rod Bayron and Josh Widener; hearing any number of ideas with curriculum writer Doug Bender; deciding on Google adwords with Rebekah Russom; or interfacing with our numerous outside vendors and are incoming staff Andrew McAlyea and Chris Plekenpol.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my I am Second colleagues and the great work they are doing. But last Friday night I was up late thinking about someone else. In fact I was praying for him.
I was praying for Ralph Brown because of his latest blog post on the Crosstheatlantic.com website. You see, Ralph and his brother Bob embarked at the end of July on an incredible journey—sailing a 21-foot flats boat (designed to run in very shallow water) from Florida, up the coats of the US and Canada and then across the Atlantic via Greenland, Iceland and other islands in between. He left on June 24. Now about two months later, over two thirds of the way there, Ralph’s blog asked me to pray for them.
They were almost to the Faroe Islands (in between Iceland and Ireland), racing ahead of some monster storms. They were battling 10 foot high waves in their little boat and 12 hours earlier were 104 miles away from their next stop. I was eagerly waiting for their next blog post to inform us that they had arrived safely. So in the meantime I prayed for their safety so they can accomplish their mission of sailing across the Atlantic in this vessel and eventually on to Germany. And as things turned out, they needed my prayers, as 10 miles from docking they become lost in some of the most dangerous waters anywhere. Only by God’s grace and help did they survive.
Yes, they are setting new world records with this trip. But there is much more significance to it. I urge you to go to the website and read about their story. You’ll read about a man passionate about honoring three fellow soldiers who were killed attempting to rescue Americans being held by Iran 30 years ago. This trip is to remember their valor, and to raise money for wounded heroes who similarly have put their lives on the line.
I am Second and our friends at Interstate Batteries were impressed enough by Ralph’s perseverance and passion to help sponsor the boat for this crazy adventure. We felt that doing so could help raise awareness of the mission to the point that others could get involved as well. Some companies, including Panasonic’s Toughbook computers have done so in small ways. And there have been individuals who have donated for gas and other expenses. But to really be successful in raising money for wounded heroes they need to have grassroots support of many people to buy a t-shirt and have the proceeds go to the wounded heroes.
Ralph’s slogan for the trip is “Do more than just say thanks.” What an I am Second attitude that is! When conviction comes into our lives, is our response to be just the bare minimum? When Christ wants to unleash us in ministry or outreach, are we to be lazy in our approach?When we are compelled or blessed by the Lord, we are to do more than just be grateful. We are to be obedient to His involvement in our lives and follow it to the fullest
I urge you to join in praying for their mission. They need it!! Also, please go to cross theatlantic.com, check it out, read their blogs and buy a t-shirt. Do more than just hear about the trip. Please support it.
I have a really interesting job working for I am Second. When we first launched in December 2008, our team was quite a bit smaller than today, and if you would have asked me then what I do for I am Second, my answer would have been, “what do I not do?” Wow, those were the days. We were a hard-working team, trying to be a well-oiled machine, but really just begging the Holy Spirit to give us enough grace to get through each day. Each day was a miracle in itself and each day was absolutely beautiful – a smallish team in a section of our not so smallish office just waiting to see what God was going to do each day with I am Second.
Today is no different. Our team has grown, our roles have changed, but the miracles have not. I get the blessed opportunity to witness some of the most fun and the most random as I wear a few hats now.
Coordinating the volunteers is quite an adventure. EVERYONE just wants to do SOMETHING. But we don’t have places for EVERYONE here in our smallish office as noted before. I have been amazed at the willingness of people who just want to serve, want to love, want to do…to see the hands and the feet come together and serve sacrificially as the body is a beautiful thing. But let me tell you where there’s a place for you to volunteer. Where are you reading this? Your home? Starbucks? Library? Panera? Wherever you are, I bet it’s somewhere that someone else could be reading with you. As our volunteer coordinator, let me encourage you to invite someone to come talk about I am Second with you – we even have a little guide that you could follow. It’s pretty amazing – I even started a group in our office of I am Second staff. We like to put our money where our mouth is, and God has blown us away with the ways he likes to show up in our little get-togethers.
Ya know what else is part of my job? I get to see the behind-the-scenes of behind-the-scenes, and I am assistant to the I am Second Executive Director. As the one who does the managing, the scheduling, the phone calling, the emailing, the updating, the booking, the you-name-it for all of our boss over here at I am Second…it’s a blessing. From the top down, everyone who works here is prayerful and passionate, and it starts with our leadership, and I am so honored that we work with the best (“second” best…haha) leadership team around. From starting all of our meetings in prayer to praying over phone calls and emails before they go to celebrities, working at I am Second is a blessing because we have leaders who LIVE Second for us, and that’s where it starts. I watch it every day, and if we didn’t have that leadership, I don’t know where our team would be.
That’s just a day in my life…I love my job. From Executive Director to volunteers, I get to have a relationship with them all, and I can’t think of a better group of people who truly live up to their cause. My coworkers inspire me every day to check myself and make sure I am living Second – even the summer intern quickly reminds me when I’ve gotten out of line. It’s a beautiful place made up of people being elbows and hips and knees and ears and wrists and pinky toes and ankles and shins and noses and heads and feet and…well, you understand. It’s the body of Christ working together, and I’m just glad I can be a part of it.
I think I’ll be the pinky toe and keep everyone balanced. Isn’t that what they’re for?