Never too young & never too old… To be On Mission

Noah Doyle and Virginia Graves were the youngest and oldest members on our Honduran mission team this year. For the fourteen-year-old Noah, it was his third trip to the Central American country in as many years.  Ms. Virginia, at 83, returned to Honduras for the second straight year.  If you think about it, neither one of them sound like good candidates for a mission trip to Central America. However, young Noah and Ms. Virginia were exactly where God wanted them to be, and made a huge impact on both the Honduran people we went to serve, and the other members of the team. The courage, sacrifice and dedication they displayed all week inspired everyone.

In order to make the trip, both had to overcome significant challenges, not the least of which was raising the funds to pay for the trip. Their greatest challenge however, was the language barrier.  Even though serving people of a different culture was clearly out of their comfort zone, they did not allow their lack of Spanish to keep them from loving and serving the Honduran people.

Noah and Virginia were like magnets all week.  Wherever they went, they drew a crowd of children! It was obvious to everyone how much they loved the children, and how much the children loved them back!

Noah not only played with the children, he took the initiative to pray with them.  He also shared his testimony and prayed with adults, while prayer walking the neighborhoods of Naranjal and Sabanita.  Although he was the youngest member of the VBS team, he was always ready to do his part to make the team’s ministry successful.  He took to heart what Paul said in 1Timothy 4:12  Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.  Noah lived out that scripture the entire week, and I am grateful for his testimony to the Honduran people.  Noah is my grandson, which might explain why I was so impressed by his contributions to our mission work.

Even though she walked with a cane, Ms. Virginia did not slow down the medical team, and she never complained about the rough paths, uneven walkways, and dirt roads. Her job that week was to make sure everyone coming through the clinic got the correct dosage of parasite medicine. You might think her years of training, and her experience as a nurse in the Korean War might have over-qualified her for a job of handing out pills, but not according to her.  She loved what she did, and did it with joy. She wanted everyone to know Jesus loved them, and in her limited Spanish, she communicated that message as she handed out the balloons and toys she brought to give the children.

Ms. Virginia was a living example of what the Psalmist said in Psalms 92:12-14a The righteous man (or woman) will flourish like a palm tree; He (she) will grow like a cedar.  Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield fruit in old age.

I cannot tell you how much these two team members inspired me. Their ministry during the week reminded me you are never too young, or too old to be on mission.  Mission is not just what we do in a foreign country; rather it is a lifestyle we choose.  It is living out God’s love, and sharing His Gospel every day, right where we live.

Where are you serving as a missionary?  How effective is your service?  You cannot use age as an excuse because being a missionary has nothing to do with how old, or how young you are.  God has a plan and purpose for us at every stage in our life, and every day He brings divine encounters into our lives so His glory can be made known and His love experienced.

You are never too old or too young to make a difference, especially when it concerns being on a mission to advance the Kingdom of God.

Published by Larry Doyle

Dr. Larry Doyle served as the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association from September 1, 2003, to May 31, 2016. Since retiring from the Piedmont Baptist Association in 2016, Dr. Doyle has served as interim pastor and pulpit supply for several churches in the Piedmont Triad area. He served the Pinecroft Baptist Church from August 2018 to October 2020. His ministry began in the pastorate in Kentucky, his native state. He served as pastor of three churches while completing his undergraduate, graduate and post graduate degrees. (1968–1979) He and his wife Becky, a native of Greensboro, served as missionaries with the International Mission Board in Ecuador from 1980 to 1992. They returned to North Carolina where Larry pastored the Union Cross Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville from 1992 to 2000. In January 2001 he and Becky moved Honduras where they served as the On-site Coordinator for Disaster Relief with the North Carolina Baptist Men, coordinating volunteer teams in rebuilding houses and churches after the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Upon returning from Honduras in January 2002, Larry served as the International Ministries Director for Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC, a position he held until answering the call to become the Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, NC in September 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Kentucky University, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Today Larry enjoys “Strengths Coaching” and mentoring pastors and church leaders. He also enjoys finding, refinishing and repurposing old, discarded furniture. Larry and Becky have two sons, Steve and Tim, and are the proud grandparents of five.

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