In just two weeks I head back to VA. I will leave my best friend with her g-ma and g-daddy and head off to Belize for a week with a church that is not my own. I know very few people from this church, but I trust that God has so many wonderful and beautiful relationships to form with the people there who I don’t yet know.
I’ve been giving it a lot of thought – what are my expectations of my time in Belize? What do I hope to learn? What do I want to give back? What do I even have to offer the people there? What will it be like? Can I do it well – or rather, can I even do it right? And what does “doing it right” even mean or look like?
So many questions. And I’m so impatient – struggling with myself and wrestling with the weight of all the things I don’t (and can’t yet) know.
For over a year now I’ve been telling my parents, “I want to do missions work!” “I want to travel overseas.” “I want to make a difference.”
One of those things is not like the others.
My mom always says, “Well, you know honey, you don’t have to travel over seas to do missions work. There’s a lot of missions work to be done right here in this country.” and I would grumble under my breath about how she doesn’t get it or the whole, “yeah I know, BUT…” conversation would get started.
It’s funny how mother’s always know best.
(I’m going to regret publicly admitting that online!)
As I’ve been working at church this summer and really allowing myself to engage with the youth here, I’ve been learning a lot about myself as well. I’ve been learning about how right my mother is when she says that there is tons of missions work to be done right here, right now, in the present moment.
You don’t have to go to seminary. You don’t have to have the entire bible memorized. You don’t even have to have all the answers to the vast array of questions floating around in the universe, trying to unnerve our sense of who we are and our foundation in Christ.
We just have to be present. We just have to be willing to listen, to speak up, to love people despite their brokenness.
I’m driven. I am ambitious. I am a hard worker. Basically, all of those things are nice ways of saying that I’m a perfectionist work-a-holic who drives herself to exhaustion. Not really something I’m all that proud of. But, all that aside, I am ALWAYS on a mission of some sort – a dream to turn into reality, a project to be completed, a person to reach out too, anything. You name it, I’m your girl – I will do it, create it, achieve it, get it done, etc.
So, why am I putting off missions work as if it’s some looming dream that I can’t QUITE reach? Why do I feel a though I am incapable, not knowledgeable enough. I feel like I need to know just a little bit more, be just a little bit wiser, be just a little bit older in order to be of any use – in order to travel, to educate, to see the world and be a light to the world.
But missions work doesn’t start when we cross the border. It can start when we cross our thresh hold and step out into the world. It can also start when we cross our thresh hold and step foot into our own living room.
To me, the meaning of missions work is changing. To me, missions work means that we are fully engaging with Christ. It means that we must become less all the while he is becoming more. His passion must become our mission. We can look to the person sitting in the lane next to us at a stop light and smile at them. We can pay for the person behind us in line at the drive through. We can ask someone how we can be praying for them. We can offer a ride to church to a person who may not have ever stepped foot in a church before. There are so many thing we can do right here, right now. Why wait until we step off a plane in a foreign country? It doesn’t have to be far away, in a different language, or in a different time zone to truly make a difference. We can be the hands and feet of Christ in our cubicles at work, in our classrooms, on the stage, in the pulpit, behind the scenes.
Christ works in much mysterious ways that, more often than not, we can’t fully comprehend and make sense of. That is one of the primary lessons I am learning this summer: Ask tough questions. Even if they don’t have concrete answers, you’ll grow in the process of learning about the depth of the question itself.
So, my friends, I have some questions for you! These are questions I have begun asking myself as I try to stay present in the days leading up to my overseas work in Belize!
how many people far from God have you initiated conversation with this week?
If God answered EVERY SINGLE one of your prayers right this minute, how many people’s eternity would be changed?
When was the last time you personally shared your story of grace/your testimony with someone?
When was the last time you personally, clearly presented the gospel to someone?
Romans 10:13-15 “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
We’re all learning. And what I’m finally realizing is that, if I wait until I have all the right answers to begin ministering to people and witnessing to them, then I am not only missing out on some wonderful relationships, but I am also doing so many people an injustice because they just might be missing out on their only chance to know Jesus. Not only that, but there will NEVER be a time that I’ll have all the answers – especially all the RIGHT answers…so if I wait till then to get started, I’ll never get started.
I don’t know what my time in Belize will hold for me – I KNOW that God will do great, magnificent, unimaginable things! But I also know that God doesn’t want me to wait until I step off that plane to begin doing missions work. And I DEFINITELY know that God doesn’t want the mission work to end when I cross back over onto American soil. I am driven, ambitious, and always on a mission! I just pray to God that He helps me follow HIS mission for my life. I want to live as a missionary, and I’m finally realizing that I don’t have to cross borders in order to do that!
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“You have one business on earth – to save souls.”
― John Wesley