Missionaries. For different people that word brings forth different thoughts. At different points in my life it has meant different things to me. I used to think of people like my aunt and uncle who many years ago left everything they knew in Southern California and went to live in the Philippine Islands in order to share the truth of Jesus Christ with the people of that nation. I still think of them… but I also think of myself and of you.
Today I got up and put on my black collared shirt, black skirt, and green apron and I went to work. My day consisted of pulling shots of espresso, steaming milk, shaking teas, grinding and brewing coffee, mopping up spills, and serving pastries that will surely clog arteries… But during all of that, there was a spiritual battle taking place. I defended faith in Christ to those who mock it. I asked questions that made them think about their positions. I prayed that God would help me to find ways to relate to people who are so very different than me. I spent the day loving people. Today and everyday I find myself heartbroken for those I encounter who do not believe and have been deceived by false teachings and worldly philosophies. I pray that God will give me wisdom and discernment as I seek to shatter the untruths that their lives are based on and to lead them to an understanding of the truth of the gospel.
Saturdays I drive to South Dallas where many gather to serve and love on people. We pick up trash, paint houses, hug little kids, pray with people in the neighborhood, and visit friends. Some of them know Jesus, some of them are familiar with Jesus but do not personally know him, and others have never encountered him at all… and that is why we are there! To encourage those who know Him to live for him daily and to bring Him into view for those who have never seen Him. Our hearts are filled with joy as we see the difference that Jesus makes in the neighborhood as people come to truly know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!
In a few weeks I will be flying to Brazil with many others. When we land, we will hop onto a boat that will take us down the Amazon River. We will go into villages that truly have a need for the message of Christ. We will do VBS with children, go door to door sharing Jesus, and help plant a church in a village that has never had a church! Our hearts will be transformed as we are removed from our culture and we see God in a fresh way, watching Him work in ways we have never seen before.
I say all of this to point out that I am no more a missionary when I am overseas as I am when I am making lattes or walking the streets of South Dallas. We tend to put a heavy emphasis on spiritual preparation when we go on Mission Trips to foreign places… But do we need any less spiritual preparation for our daily lives? Shouldn’t we be equally missionaries – ON MISSION – no matter where we are? Shouldn’t I be just as focused and just as intentional and just as spiritually armed here as I am there (wherever there may be)?
God desires His truth to be known! God desires that all nations praise Him! God desires all Christians to be “missionaries” and to live intentionally focused lives as we reach out to the world around us! As followers of Christ we must live to help others discover truth! We must be a part of God drawing all nations to Himself! We all have gifts that God has given us to use for these tasks. I pray that we don’t waste them.
What do you think of when you hear the word missionary? I pray you think of yourself!
That’s why I am here… in Seminary… and quite possibly in the world… To help others to discover the passions of God’s heart and to learn what it means to be a follower of Christ – a missionary – always on mission!
I so appreciate your prayers as I journey down these roads. I have so very much to learn and it is very rarely easy.