Missionary. As a high-schooler, this word sent shivers up my spine. Not because I felt a call or a passion-but because I felt terror. Now, that might be a little strong. I might be being a LITTLE dramatic…but still! I was so anti-missions-for-Betty because, frankly, I didn’t want to move to Africa, marry a man with a monkey on his head, and wear skirts with sneakers for the rest of my life. I wasn’t called to that.
Now comes the part of the story where I did a short term trip, saw the poverty, need, and my life was forever changed. In fact, I am typing this from my grass hut on the edge of an Ethiopian village.
That’s a lie.
That’s a cool story-but not mine.
I am sitting at my computer desk.
In Lancaster Pennsylvania.
But just because my body isn’t on a mission field-doesn’t mean my spirit isn’t.
You see, I didn’t have a dramatic unveiling of my eyes. It wasn’t one trip, one speaker, or one story. It was a slow realization that not only was my disobedient, selfish HEART small for missions…but so were my EYES. I had such a narrow view of what missionaries did and therefor a shallow appreciation for their integral part in spreading the gospel. Each year I attended a Missions Conference where I saw incredible men and women of the faith passionately use their God given gifts to promote the good news of Christ to all sorts of people! Slowly but surely, I began to see the beauty and necessity in their varying passions. God had given some an interest in the spirit world-so He sent them to minster to the Navaho Indians and proclaim Christ’s dominion over each of their spirits. Others, he made veracious readers and learners who devour books and languages. So He sent them into tribes with people full of unearthed intelligence. These tribal members helped them to learn, write, and read languages anew-with the primary goal of being able to read the infallible Word of God in their own tongue. Others still he designed with strong bodies and crafted in them mechanical minds. Along with that-he infuses a love for the least of these-a perfect combination. These men and women travel and serve selflessly, designing and creating buildings for people who could never thank or repay them. All in the beautiful name of Christ.
Once I put to death my pride-fueled caricatures and self-centeredness I saw a change. How could I NOT want to be a part of God redeeming people of every tongue and nation? How could I NOT want to sacrifice and give so that my brothers and sister many use what they are most passionate about to show the goodness of God? How could I NOT see that the harvest is plentiful and pray for the workers to come?
I’ve heard it said, that when it comes to missions you are either a goer, a sender, or disobedient! Right now, I chose to help be a sender. Here are some examples of some that I am blessed to support:
Ryan and Cathren Hundertmark- New Tribes Missions
I was blessed with the opportunity to grow up with Cathren as one of my best friends. I look up to her in so many ways and often reap the benefits of the lessons God is teaching her when we sit down and talk over a cup of tea (or bowl of ice cream ;)). Her speech is seasoned with so much grace, and Scripture is constantly on her tongue. I hope to one day have the wisdom and perspective she has while serving her husband and molding her children. God has placed a passion for tribal mission in this couples heart and it is a joy to be a part of the ministry they will soon have.
Karlin Familia- Compassion International
Karlin is curious sweetheart going into the the 3rd grade. Through Compassion, I am able to help provide Karlin with Bible teaching, sports, recreational activities, leadership training, social skills classes, vocational courses, uniforms, scholastic materials, counseling, tutoring and life skills training. I write to her and tell her of the true joys of following Christ, and remind her to read her Bible even if it is hard to understand! I hope to be a source of encouragement in her life and to hear of her salvation someday soon!