We send people on short term missions to awaken their gifts and to set their hearts on mission.
What if we didn’t need to buy a plane ticket?
What if instead of getting a passport, we infiltrated the darkest parts of the city that we live next to?
That was the question I asked when I first returned home from Wales and planted a church in inner city Long Beach.
After handing over to a team leadership, I gradually created distance and eventually allowed them to lead by themselves. The Lord has continued to reach so many souls over the years.
Just this week I met Miguel.
He is a former MS13 gang member who has been in prison, shot, and has lost an arm as a result of being involved in some bad situations.
Miguel is Salvadorian, and probably the hardest guy I’ve ever met. For one, after being locked up, deported, shot, and losing an arm, he still says that he didn’t feel that bad. He says he was having a good time. How hard do you have to be before you consider losing body parts a part of having a good time? Miguel is an example of somebody who truly had nothing, and therefore nothing to lose. Like so many at Refuge, he was simply grateful to be alive.
He’s like a child now, and has been clean for 8 months. We boast a big prison ministry in Refuge Long Beach (although, they usually turn themselves in after coming to faith). God help those on the other side of the bars.
One of our members was on parole when he went through a bad time. His name is Jesse, and Jesse used to run drugs for the cartel. After God changed his life around, Jesse went back inside for a time and met Miguel. The stories of change can be like a chain reaction, and walking back through the doors of Refuge reminded me that when a churches DNA is right, it makes all the difference.
If you go to my facebook page dated March 25th, you’ll see that I posted the following:
So good to be back in Refuge Long Beach today after a long absence! Church is still cranking, saving souls and overflowing with testimonies. There were tears flowing multiple times as people testified of Gods grace in their lives and how he restored brokenness and gave people hope. We’ve lost many over the years due to overdose, shootings, and illness, but as I sat with the twice alive, and witnessed free people praising God, I rejoiced for all those who get to live another day. I asked one man, “how are you?” His response, “I’m alive”. And those of us at Refuge know that that’s saying something.
I’ll be at Refuge Long Beach for the next two months while my house is being restored after the flooding. Providentially, during that time, I’ll be continuing to reach the unreached with the team at what I consider one of the best churches on the planet. We’re not polished. We’re not running a show.
We’re the church where addicts can stand up and celebrate sobriety. We’re the church that sits in circles. We’re the church that calls itself ‘The last stop before hell’.
If you want to go on mission with us and join me over the next few months, I promise you, your gifts will awaken, God will use you, and you will see some amazing things.
And you will probably be wrecked for just sitting in church ever again…
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.