What are braces? There are about 20 different definitions or uses for braces in Spanish. The best one for now and this blog would be un aparato ortoprdico – an orthopedic apparatus. A brace might be a pair of birds, something to hold up a pair of pants, a support beam in a building or an orthopedic device. For a week, I have been dealing with a knee brace which is designed to give support and strength to my knee during recovery from Knee replacement surgery. While the brace provided support at the same time, it was restricting in terms of movement and uncomfortable when swelling took place.
In Acts 27:17, Paul and his shipmates put ropes around or under the boat they were in because of a fierce storm. The ropes were acting as braces clamping or holding together the ship. After three or four days, the ship ran aground and was destroyed. Although the ship was destroyed, the braces had held the ship together to the point that all aboard were saved from the storm and made it to shore as God had promised.
What do braces have to do with a missionary trip or experience? Again there are many possibilities. When the roof went on the enramada at Damajagua, columns had to be built to support or brace the roof. Secondly, a team needs to be held together and work together for the common goal of sharing God’s message of salvation. Team members need to support each other and build on the individual gifts or strengths of each member. A mission venture needs to be based on braces or supports such as the scripture and prayer and following God’s will.