I'm posting at Exemplify Online today where you can read this entire devotional.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)
Missionaries. For most of my life I pictured them toiling away in the deepest, darkest jungles of the Amazon basin converting savages. They’d spend their days in hostile environments, eat bugs and monkey brains, sleep in huts, dodge piranhas and risk their lives to spread God’s word. Honestly, I wondered why anyone would say “yes” to such a job.
Then I became a Christian and started looking at life differently. Phrases like “finding your purpose” and “following God’s will” suddenly crept into my reality. I wanted to live a life that pleased God and wondered how I might serve Him. Then one day a shiver of dread put the brakes on my enthusiasm as my greatest fear sprang to mind, “What if God calls me to be a missionary?!”
For a while I packed my schedule so full that I made sure if God called, I’d be too busy to answer. Yet, the more my faith grew, the more missionary experiences intrigued me. For one thing, I found out they don’t just work in the jungles; but serve all over the globe (even in the United States!). And the ones I’ve met fascinate and impress me. Their stories speak to my wanderlust and passion for the gospel.
Each summer our church sends a group of missionaries to the Dominican Republic. For years I sat in the pews on Mission Sunday and heard their testimonies. Each time I said, “Some day I’m going to do that.” Yet, although my husband joined the past two trips, the time never seemed right for me. Until this year.
This past January when organizers asked for commitments to the 2009 trip, it seemed God cleared the way not only for me, but for my husband and children to go as well. The fact that I might go on a mission trip was a hope—that we will go as a family is a dream come true.
For months we’ve hurdled passport, immunization, planning and most of all, fundraising obstacles. And now, in two days we’ll be in “the DR” working alongside our fellow missionaries.
During our time there we’ll start construction on a church, hold VBS, run a medical clinic, and worship with our Dominican brothers and sisters in a community very different from our own.
Our days will be long and our work tiring. Am I nervous? Yes. But I trust God has a plan to grow, stretch and take each of us deeper into his love. Because that’s how God works. He doesn’t need us to do any of the things we’re setting out to do (He is all powerful after all), but instead wants us to be part of the process. He gives us the glorious opportunity to build His kingdom, one brick and one soul at a time—dispensers and recipients of His amazing grace.
Turns out, as followers of Christ we’re ALL missionaries called to “love one another” (John 13:34) and “go to the people of all nations and make them [Jesus’] disciples.” (Matthew 28:19) God’s call may indeed take us to remote locations, but more likely our mission field is no further than our own backyards—the playground, our workplace, the bus stop, our book club, a homeless shelter, a tutoring center or even the Internet.
It’s not where we travel, but that we do. And that when God nudges, prompts and plants thoughts that just won’t go away, we say “OK, Lord. I’ll go.” And don’t be surprised if what you end up doing is the very thing to which you once said, “Who, me? Never!”
God’s funny like that.
To what mission field is He leading you?
Lord, give me the courage to share the Good News boldly and passionately through my words, but especially through my actions. Give me ears to hear your call, feet to follow and a voice to say, “Yes.” Amen.
P.S. Thanks for your warm response to my very first post. It was such a blessing to see old friends and meet new ones. I look forward to traveling this journey with you.