Gospel Fellowship Association Missions
By Asher Vincent

Flexibility: An Essential Character Quality for Ministry

As someone who feels most productive when I am meticulously following a rigid schedule, unplanned circumstances tend to cause stress. Perhaps my stress stems from my lack of control of the situation or that I feel insufficiently prepared for the situation in which I have found myself. I’ve been so thankful to be able to travel on several medical missions teams over the past two years. A recurring lesson God has used on these trips has been to teach me that I need to develop the essential character quality of flexibility—a definite necessity in the Lord’s service! In some ways, the preparation for and completion of our ministry in Mexico last November and December could have been considered a crash-course in flexibility.


Over the months that we prepared for our ministry, we were looking forward to returning to the same region where we had ministered the year before and reuniting with friends we had made then. Some of our friends, missionaries Andrew and Egla Shields, were an immense help, especially to me, as I navigated the prospect of coordinating a missions trip for the first time. In my mind we were heading back to a familiar place with a familiar team to do familiar work. But God had other plans in store.

Two weeks prior to departure I received a call from Brother Shields detailing the need for a change in our ministry location due to safety concerns in the region. Fighting between drug cartels over control of the area had caused a great deal of instability and unrest, prompting evacuations of some of the believers there. It quickly became apparent to me that the upcoming trip would not work as I had anticipated. It was clear that the Lord was redirecting us, but many questions remained. We had been working for weeks to arrange lodging, food, and transportation—and now everything needed to be done again, but this time in the space of two weeks.


While we were disappointed to not be able to return to the previous region, the Lord quickly provided two new ministry locations that we would be able to safely reach by van while staying in the larger city of Comitán. While we had prepared to stay in tents, this change in our location meant that we would be able to stay in a hotel affordably and enjoy the convenient benefits of running water and electricity.

Our change in ministry site enabled us to fellowship even more closely with Brother Andrew, his family, and the students at their Bible school. Sister Egla kept us well-fed for breakfasts and most of our dinners, and the sisters at the churches where we ministered joyfully prepared delicious lunches for us during clinic days. We were even able to visit some local restaurants to taste authentic southern Mexican food!


I was overwhelmed by the goodness and sovereignty of God. We could not have foreseen many aspects of our trip, but no circumstance was a surprise to God. Every patient who came through the clinic heard the Gospel, and every profession of faith gave us a front row seat to witness God working His will. I often reflected on how He had been preparing these locations for us during the entire time when we had been preparing to go elsewhere.

After my first time leading a missions team, several blessings stand out to me. First, I am thankful for the joyful spirit and flexible attitude of my coworkers. Even after the initial change of our ministry location, there were many small adjustments throughout the course of the week. Plans seemed to change almost before they were made; yet, everyone served joyfully and adapted well. Second and more significantly, I am thankful that God’s plans will always come to pass and that no circumstance is ever a surprise to Him. It is truly a joy to be able to serve an all-knowing God Who works all things to the praise of His glory. I am so finite, and I am so thankful that even though there may be many plans in my mind, His purpose will always stand.