Ken & Kat's Big Jacoby Adventure
By Ken Watson
My wife and I would like to do something different for our vacation this year. Maybe something that would help others and not just be a time of rest and relaxation” I told Dr. Douglas Jacoby, Bible scholar and teacher extraordinaire. “Why don’t you go with me on one of my mission trips overseas?” Doug suggested. “What could we do to help?” I asked. I didn’t get a completely concrete answer. Doug is sometimes like that. He suggests possibilities based on facts in such a way as to allow the student to draw his own conclusions. Isn’t that what the really great teachers do so well?
As it turns out, my wife (Kat) and I decided to go with Doug on the majority of his trip through the Baltic and Nordic regions to include Estonia, Finland, and Sweden. Unfortunately we would have to miss the Norway leg due to time available. Why did we choose this area? I would like to say that we are incredibly spiritual people who spent many hours praying and fasting about the decision (and we certainly did pray about it), but it really came down to three things: it fit in with my work schedule, the English language was commonly spoken, and we’d never been to any of those places. Also, I imagined that even if Kat and I were able to serve in no other way than to help Doug tote bags of his very worthwhile books, it would be a great opportunity to see the churches in that part of the world. A bonus was that Doug’s lovely wife Vicki would be with us for part of the trip.
If you don’t know anything about Dr. Jacoby’s ministry, please have a look at www.douglasjacoby.com. Of course, I’ve heard Doug make presentations or participate in debates several times, but to see him “in action” as he speaks to both Christians and non-Christians in other parts of the world is a treat - and quite challenging at the same time. Doug is extremely capable and prepared in his talks, but his conversation is “seasoned with salt” and much grace - whether he is debating atheist opponents, or counseling Christians in various spiritual matters. It is a pleasure to see the brothers and sisters welcome Doug and Vicki. The excitement that they show at having the Jacobys around, and the effort they put into bringing their friends to the events testifies to the respect and love felt for Doug and Vicki.
We were looking forward to meeting fellow Christians, but I think not completely prepared for how much we would really enjoy it: swapping conversion stories, having chances to encourage and be encouraged, listening to how they sing praises to God (and trying to sing along), staying with them in their homes and seeing such great hearts to love the Master and serve Him in a great way. So much more could be said about this. Our lives were changed, we have new life-long friends and many new people/situations to pray about, as well as having new friends praying for us and our ministry. Not to mention the great exercise we got toting books!
We were able to see that Doug’s teaching ministry is really a kind of spiritual glue that helps to strengthen and unify the churches. It's certainly not all breezy jet-setting and seeing exotic places. It can be grueling work to prepare classes, try and show appreciation to people who have sacrificed their time to help you, encourage others, and deal with jet lag all at the same time. Two things became very clear to us as we traveled: 1) Doug and Vicki are hard-working people and 2) they love the brotherhood. Kat and I count ourselves very fortunate to have been able to participate in this with them. We intended and expected to serve; we did not expect to end up having the most wonderful "vacation" we could have possibly imagined, coming back very tired, very humbled and very fulfilled. The Lord willing, finding these kinds of opportunities will be our new way of taking vacations. In Acts 20:35, Paul says: "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Sometimes we are the "weak" being helped, and sometimes we are helping others who are "weak" in certain ways. In every case, though, we can affirm the truth of Jesus words "It is more blessed to give than to receive!"
Thanks for the opportunity to share this with you.
Ken and Kat Watson
The Auburn Tuskegee Christian Church