I was asking myself why I was dressed in a “Braveheart” costume with a full black wig and a kilt standing in front of the entire Amor team on our Team Retreat. For a moment I was beginning to question why I was going through all this drama to make a point. Then, I symbolically smashed five empty wine bottles with a sledge hammer one at a time as I explained how it was time to look at things differently. It was time to use new wineskins as Jesus said in Matthew 9.
If this wasn’t enough concern for me as I struggled with the long hair of the wig poking me in the eyes and blocking my view- sharing my biggest concern for my role in ministry was. So, I continued, “I am most concerned that I would somehow become an obstacle to the plans and dreams that God has for Amor because I was holding on to the old ways, the old things - the old wineskins.” I shared how I dreaded the possibility that I could someday face God and He might say, “I had so much planned for you, for Amor, you just didn’t look for it, you just didn’t see it.” Not only do I not want to be a part of leading Amor through the wilderness in the wrong direction like Moses did with the Israelites, I really do not want to spend a moment in the belly of a whale like Jonah did because he didn’t obey God. “If I end up in the inside of a whale, it wouldn’t be because of my lack of faith, but yours,” I said half jesting. “It’s simply time to bring on the new wineskins,” I said.
So after a whole lot prayer and a tremendous amount of consideration, here is what I shared as the new wineskins of Amor:
1. Human Trafficking
We sent Gayla to India recently to investigate how Amor could help eliminate human trafficking. Once people are extracted from a life of being a slave they have no place to call home. We are looking into how we could provide shelter for people being snatched out of trafficking and literally building homes for then so we can “bring them home.”
2. First Camp of a Reservation
Building Amor’s first camp on a Native American reservation so we can build 1,800 homes and eliminate homelessness on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Introduce sustainable technology by developing an Ecocun satellite at this camp to test and introduce technology that creates jobs and more sustainable life styles.
3. Locals Building in South Africa
For the first time we are making inroads in building in an international location with local and international teams working from the community, from local churches, and from local businesses. In South Africa we are intentionally recruiting South African teams to sponsor and build half the homes we build as we have them working in concert with our mission trip teams from the US, UK, Australia, and beyond.
4. Double the Foam
We are working with an international team of architects to build the first two story buildings Amor has ever built including using our newest building technology- Panel W- steel reinforce foam panels- which we have never used on a two story building. All of this will be constructed at the 12 acre Cienega campus in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
5. Bring on the International Interns
The challenging international security issues have made it extremely difficult to get Visa for volunteers and interns for Amor, especially for our work in Mexico. We are working diligently to find a way for our interns from around the world to secure Mexican Visas, another first for Amor.
Pastor Mike McClenahan from Solana Beach Presbyterian Church recently talked about new wineskins and shared my greatest concern, “Can we see what God is doing and be a part of what God doing? Or are we too busy or too distracted to pay attention to the new thing God is doing?”
I want to be a part of what God is doing. I hope you do too!