Monday, September 19, 2016

What Becoming A Missionary Taught Me About Myself

I've been a missionary for a month now. It's been four weeks of constant learning, but not all the lessons have been quite what I expected. 

For one thing, I've found that becoming a missionary didn't automatically make me a better Christian. I sure wish it had, because I'm not as dedicated a disciple as I thought. I've given up a little bit for the cause of Christ, but the missionaries with whom I've corresponded on a daily basis have given up so much more. 

Their faith and dedication are beautiful to behold.. 

One couple's housing allowance is considerably less than $20 a month. They live in a single rented room in someone's house. Dirt floor. Storage in boxes balanced in the rafters. "Stuff" is not their priority. Neither is comfort. Their priority is sharing Christ with those who are lost without Him.

I can't get their story out of my mind as I drive up my long driveway to the big house. It's fronted by columns and filled with stuff. 

I like stuff. I like comfort. 

I lived in a room with a dirt floor for part of one summer. I got used to the floor. I got used to the outhouse. I even got used to the chickens running in and out. 

I didn't get used to the food.

I had twenty straight meals of beans and rice. It was the best they had to offer me, and I was grateful. Until about meal eighteen, when I suddenly didn't think I could take another bite. After meal twenty, I took to the bed and claimed illness. I went without food until I could swallow more beans and rice rather than offend my hosts. 

I can't get my ridiculous attitude about the food out of my mind as I look in my stocked-to-overflowing refrigerator. 

I like tasty food. Fresh produce. Beautiful meals.

I've listened to stories about missionaries, visited with them, corresponded with them, learned about their lives. They don't have our conveniences. They don't have our health care system, educational system, or governmental system. They don't have our transportation, communication, entertainment, or shopping.

Their lives are hard by American standards, but incredibly rich by heavenly standards. They see God do things we'll never see in this country, and I can't get that fact out of my mind as I go about my very American life.

Every morning, we pray for our missionaries by name. I go back to my office and type out an email to let them know we've prayed. All from the comfort of my air-conditioned office. 

What still astonishes me is that these sweet people take time from lives I wouldn't dare to live to email back and thank me for my prayers, then ask how they can pray for me.

I can't get that out of my mind, either.

At least part of every day, I wish I was there instead of here. 

But I'm not. 

So, for now, I'll continue to pray the biggest prayers I can think of for people I've never met, living in places I've never seen, doing things I can't imagine, and speaking languages I don't understand. I'll do it because they're family, their lives linked to mine by our relationship to Christ.

To my utter amazement, those prayers will make a difference. It won't be because I'm a super-Christian (I'm not) or because I'm a master-prayer warrior (I'm not that, either) but because our Heavenly Father listens to all His children, including the ones, like me, who are unreasonably comfortable.

Today, as we enjoy our gourmet coffee, fancy cosmetics, lovely clothes, well-tuned vehicles, and wonderful air-conditioning, let's remember those who sacrifice all of those luxuries for the cause of Christ, as well as those brothers and sisters around the world who aren't just uncomfortable. They're in constant danger of persecution and death because of their faith. 

Let's pray for God's protection, His provision, His peace for them. Pray for their families and those to whom they minister. Pray for great joy in the midst of an often-treacherous journey of faith.

Let's remember that God has called us to step outside our comfort zone, too. So look for the one who's lonely and be a friend. Look for the one who's broken and find ways to help. Look for the one who needs our Savior and introduce them. 

Give freely. Spend less on ourselves and more on the needs of others. Love with abandon. 

Serve Christ wherever we are.

"You shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:8 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Happy Anniversary: The Heartbreak of Human Trafficking
If you'd like to learn more about our missionaries, here's the link to our website: Global Outreach International. Click on "Our Missionaries"
(You can find me under "North America")

#mission #Christian