Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thoughts of Missions

I just finished reading Big Mama's blog today about her recent calling to go on a trip with Compassion International to the Dominican Republic next month. I read several blogs of people who are connected with Compassion, and love to read of their trips and heart for sharing Jesus with a lost world, one adopted child at a time. Reading Melanie's blog reminded me so much of our own experiences with missions, and identifying the call to "go."

When Paul and I were engaged, he had already been on one trip to Indonesia, and was wanting to find another short-term trip to go on. Being a faithful and idealistic fiancee, I thought it would be a great pre-marital thing for us to go on a mission trip together. And it was. But figuring out the call, the place, the time...it was no easier just because he was going with me than if I were going alone. I was scared. I had never been to another country, especially one considered "high security" toward Christians coming to share Jesus. I had many reasons not to go, and yes, I even made a pros and cons list of all of them. I knew I would be missing out on work for three weeks, money we needed to prepare for wedding plans and marriage. But you know? I don't remember most of the things on my list of reasons not to go. They don't matter now. I just knew, glaringly so, when I looked at the list that my reasons not to go were reasons I would not be trusting God to provide, and my reasons to go would test my faith in new ways.

So, Paul and I chose to go to Morocco for three weeks, returning just shortly before September 11, 2001. Just to show you how different things became within a couple of weeks time, when we were leaving Morocco, one of the guys on our team...you know the guy (maybe you ARE the guy)--the one who DOES NOT check baggage, and carries on his entire life of belongings....had a huge souvenir Moroccan machete in his carry-on bag, and actually MADE it past security in Morocco, and didn't get caught with it until the airport in Paris, where they just kindly told him they would put it with the checked baggage and he could get it when he returned home. And he was mad! Oh, I shudder to think what would have happened only a couple of weeks later, after September 11th. Anyway....

It was a great trip. Actually, it was a trip I am sure we appreciated much more after we returned home that we did while we were there. But I'm sure that is the case with most mission trips, and you have time to process what you learned and what God did after you return. If nothing else, it gave me a heart to see the world, to SEE the faces of those who do not know Jesus and need desperately to know His love and salvation.

Paul went on two more trips to Indonesia after our Morocco trip. One of the trips was when Abigail was only 6 months old. I'm not sure if it was harder for us to send him across the world for two weeks, or for him to be away from his baby for that long. Either way, it was not so easy.

But that is what God calls us to do. Leave the things we love and cling to. Leave the things that are so easy to hold fast to instead of trusting Him. Maybe it is for a lifetime, maybe it is just for a week or two or three. No big deal in the grand scheme of things. I remember telling our college students a couple of years ago to go NOW. It really is so easy when you are in college and just free to go. When you are out of school, working, married, having kids...it is not as easy. That doesn't mean we shouldn't ever try. There is just so much else to work around. The freedoms are not so great. I told them this while holding a squishy, precious ten-month old Abigail in my arms. Of course, my greatest desire was always to be a mommy, and I hope to be the best I can be. But when you are raising small children, the option to just drop everything and go is not as easy. So then you consider your other current options...praying for missions, giving to missions, encouraging others to go on missions...all important as well.

I love hearing about people's calling to go on mission trips. Hearing that it is sometimes hard to discern. Hearing the sacrifices they have to make. Hearing how clearly God calls them. Hearing how many people work together as the body of Christ to make these trips happen. Hearing them come back, more changed than the people they went to help.

Here on some quotes on missions that I love. I love knowing that these words came from the very hearts of people who want to see this world changed. And they know it will not be a politician, an election, or even a country that will change the world. It will be people allowing God to break their hearts for the people He created and cares about. The people God loves so much that He would send His only Son to die on a cross, to pay the penalty of their sins that they could never pay themselves. I am encouraged by these words, and hope that you will be, too.

"Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us." -- Keith Wright

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." -- C.T. Studd

"No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once." -- Oswald J. Smith

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break God's heart" -- Bob Pierce, World Vision founder

"The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet." -- Unknown

"I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China… I don't know who it was… It must have been a man… a well-educated man. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing… and God looked down… and saw Gladys Aylward… And God said - "Well, she's willing."
- Gladys Aylward

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't."
- John Piper

May our heart for missions expand through our hands and feet, our prayers, our giving, so that worship of our God will exist where it currently does not.


Anonymous said...

Amen, and amen!

Anonymous said...

You go girl!
E :)

nickmal said...

una más,
un de plus,
ein mehr,
uno più,
mais um,
одно больше,
één meer,
ένα περισσότερο,
1개 좀더,
en mer,
satu lagi
.......'ONE MORE'for Jesus.......

Our english word
"mission" comes from the
latin word "sending."

...Jesus said, "...As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." (John 20:21 NIV)

We are called to be messengers
of the gospel to the people God places in our paths where we are:)