Did you ever stop and think about your legacy, what impact you have on your family, your friends, and acquaintances? I have wonderful memories of my husband, Chuck and the great influence he had on my life, the life of our sons, and many others. He has been gone for 26 years now and most of my friends never knew him. With that in mind, I wrote his biography because I feel his impact on thousands of people needs to be remembered.
These days I am speaking in some retirement communities and challenging them to write their stories. What was their life like during World War 11 or the Korean or Vietnam war? Where did they focus their daily life? What kind of work did they do? What impact did they have on their family, their friends, and their community?
Their responses are challenging. Some want to tell their stories and others want to forget them. That is the way life goes. Some people like new ideas and some don’t. My job isn’t to make them do anything but simply to give them ideas they might like to tackle. And I will help them if they want my help.
So this is one of the things that I am doing these days. I really believe this is what the Lord wants me to do in these communities. Of course it will change as everything changes but for today, this is what I am doing to help as many as I can.
I was in a state of delightful shock from the question that my 19-year-old granddaughter had just asked. “Grandma, how can I pray for you?” Erin and I had been talking on the phone for a long time about college life–its struggles and its challenges. Many times at the close of our conversations over the years I had ended our phone time by saying, “Erin, I am praying for you.” Now Erin was asking me to share my life struggles with her, and she was doing it using the question I had so often used with her. How did we get here? I wondered. Was there a neat “formula” that I could derive from her growing up experiences to point to as “the way” to raise a child who understood the value of prayer?
“Zeno? Who ever heard the name Zeno?” Michael, my ten-year-old grandson, was looking over a folder about our family tree. “That’s the funniest name I ever heard!” Our plan to make this family reunion more than food and the usual talk about jobs, school, and sports was working. This reunion had a unique focus: to zoom in on personal histories and generational blessings. My grandson was catching on. As each of the families tumbled in, loaded down with gear, I greeted them with a warm welcome and an announcement, “We’ll have a game tomorrow, and you can be the big winner. All the answers to the game questions are in this folder.” Predictably the older kids groaned, but not wanting to be disrespectful, each managed a smile for me. “It will be like the popular TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Of course you won’t get quite that rich, but it will be just as fun and will have lots of prizes.”
Donna S. Thomas I smiled as I looked at my well-used picnic basket. It had seen a lot of family fun times, lots of great memories. We used it when the kids were little, going to the small creek nearby. Later, when they were in high school, we pulled it out more for excursions to the state parks and amusement parks. Looking it over, I wondered if it had lost its usefulness and should be discarded. Could it still have a purpose? My grandchildren love picnics. Perhaps I should keep it and hope for times with them. Then a thought struck me. I’ll use it for a different kind of fun time. It can have a purpose with those wonderful grandchildren of mine. My three sons and their wives have blessed me with some wonderful grandchildren. Here I thought, was a great opportunity to plant some seeds of the gospel in those little minds.
Donna S. Thomas She came stumbling down the aisle with her bags. Her seat was next to mine. As I moved out of her way, she started a conversation. She was from New York, and was going to visit some people she didn’t know in Costa Rica. A friend had arranged the visit so she could spend a week in that country. Now that she was on the final leg of her trip, her anxiety was growing. As the plane taxied down the runway she started asking me about the plane, about Costa Rica, about how to go through immigration, and what everything would be like. This was easy. I was sure the Lord had put us together so I could help her. I had been to Costa Rica several times. After I answered her questions and calmed her fears, she asked what I do.
Ready to go on a missions trip? This is a time to listen to God as you pack your bags and travel. To be a disciple of Jesus in a foreign culture is a challenge and as you use each day for the Lord, the events and the messages the Lord gives you need to be recorded in a journal. This journal will help you understand the path the Lord has ahead for you. Included are challenges to help you be different and to do different since you have been with the Lord on this trip. It will also help you to challenge others to want to know how the Lord is leading and changing you. This journal is a must for anyone going on a missions trip. It changes your time from a trip to an experience with the Lord. There are ten days of preparation which opens your heart and mind to allow you to be a tool to witness and help others. There are the days on location in your country of service. All through the journal you will find scripture verses essential in helping make your trip more meaningful – each scripture reference is especially meaningful and effective for each day before, during, and after the trip. There are ten days after your trip plus the debriefing. This is a critical part of your experience as you analysis what the Lord has been telling you and seek his guidance as you reenter your life at home.
What’s the “mission”, the purpose of CHRISTIAN VISION Ministries?
It’s simple: we want to provide Christians with a greater vision, a wider vision for the ministry God has called them to undertake.
Donna Thomas and her team knows first-hand that the Lord’s kingdom is not limited by geographic borders or ethnic divisions. Donna has invested her life in this ministry and she is continually amazed at the phenomenal growth of God’s church around the world.
Churches in the United States seem to understand the concept of Christ’s Great Commission-the concept-but all too often they are stumped as to how to fulfill the directive, how to get hold of it and accomplish what Jesus wants them to accomplish.
CHRISTIAN VISION Ministries is committed to helping any person, any group, any church find ways to be obedient to God and help get His message out to a needy world.
Donna Thomas co-founded one of the most creative and cutting-edge ministries in missions. Beginning at a time when equipping national pastors and church workers was almost unheard of. The Thomas family listened to the Lord’s call to develop a lasting legacy among the developing church around the world. Now she is challenging the rest of us to glimpse a bit of the excitement of hearing and following God into the far reaches of the earth.
Dr. Gary Sweeten, Founder and President
Lifeway Ministries Inc. International
Donna Thomas’ life is an inspiration for us in our choices of following and obeying God. Her message emphasizes the importance that God is with us in every situation. As a motivational speaker she will challenge you to new heights.
Doug and Laura Lee Oldham
Oldham Music Ministries
Donna Thomas is a veteran of many campaigns with the Great Commission Army. As such, she’s experienced both victories and defeats. Four decades enlisted on the “winning side” of global missions has given Donna deep insights of the Commander-in-Chief at work and eyewitness accounts of miracles in His Kingdom Cause.
Larry W. Poland, Ph.D.
Chairman and CEO
Mastermedia International, Inc.