Finding Your Place In God’s Plan For Missions
I’ve come to find that as I get older, my desire to GO just continues to increase. I’m still not entirely sure what that means, but for now I know that means being a part of short-term mission teams. Just last week I returned from a week long trip to London, and I can honestly say that has been the most spiritually influential short-term trip that I’ve been a part of. I’ve gone to Haiti 4 times, and just this week found out that I’ll be goin again this summer. But for some reason going to London was different. Yes, it’s clearly different geographically and economically, but it was also a different type of missions. In Haiti it’s more blood, sweat, and tears… while in London it’s more normal, everyday life. Everytime I get on the plane to fly back to RDU, I sit and examine myself. What did I learn, what did God do in and through me that I should be thankful for? The main thing I learned on my trip to London is that God is a big God. God is universal. God is across all the oceans. Again, I KNEW these things. But actually seeing it. That’s completely different. By going to London, and doing real life, everyday things–like sitting in coffee shops and having casual conversations with complete strangers, or completely bombing a quiz about fish and chips wit some new friends–I learned that by planting these small seeds of love and compassion for others, these seeds can be watered and grown from afar. And also by the individuals God has chosen and called to live and serve in London. Also that life back home in Wake Forest can look the same! Missions isn’t just going overseas. Yes, that is a big part of it, but the Lord calls us to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem [Wake Forest], in all Judea [North Carolina] and Samaria [US], and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 [NIV]).
I’ve often heard critique of short-term missions not being influential, or not making much of a difference because “what impact can you make in just a week?” A big impact. That’s what. Imagine dropping a small stone in to the center of a still body of water… the ripples that come from that small stone are insane. In my mind, that’s what short-term missions is, and that’s why it is important. The first time I went to Haiti in 2014 was also the first time I had shared the Gospel with someone outside of my immediate family. I was scared. Nervous. My legs were shaking and I messed up my words. I felt inadequate. I questioned why I had flown thousands of miles just to mess up. But in that, the Lord taught me that it’s not about me. It’s not about my words, but His. It’s not about my worries or fears, but His Sacrifice and Love. During my conversation with one specific lady, she asked me “how can God love me, a sinner, and forgive all of my sins? I’m too bad for that!” My heart broke. I struggled to find words, but I eventually told her that God’s love is never ending. And once we surrender our lives to Him, nothing can take us out of His grasp. A few months later, I saw on Facebook that this lady I had shared with had chosen to accept Christ as her Savior. I was humbled and blown away that the Lord would use me as even a small part of her testimony. I pray for her on a regular basis, even almost 5 years later, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to meet her.
I’m reminded, too, that missions can be lived out practically in our everyday lives, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Just going to coffee with a new friend, or hosting a neighborhood cookout! Easy, everyday things. I’m also reminded of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 where it says “ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
While short-term missions is valuable, beneficial, influential, and practical, missions as a whole can be lived out in everyday life.
I praise God for bringing me to a school that focuses on spreading His message to the nations!