Being a Missionary At Home
When I was growing up, I lived in a secular home. I had the chance to spend time in Germany. I loved it. I didnt ever want to come home. I admit, the language is not the easiest, or the prettiest for that matter, I mean consider the difference between German and just about any other language; its funny really:
Now when I was born again, when Jesus became my Lord and Saviour - I saw missionaries as people who went far from their home to teach the Word of God to people who were far away, Did you think like that too? I saw missionaries as those who gave up everything they owned and went, with nothing but the clothes on their back, to dangerous places, far away. But I was wrong. An evangelist visiting our church said, “If you want to be a missionary in another part of the world, you need to first be a missionary in your own back yard.”
Maybe it’s not that powerful of a statement to you but it really made me think. It made me see the possible in my home, in my neighborhood, in this exchange program we were a part of. And I began to pray; not just little prayers for “a good kid” or “a fun year” but I prayed for Him to send us those who were hungry. I asked God to choose who we would welcome into our home and family. And did He ever answer those prayers!
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
When I look back, long before I saw it, He was calling our family into this amazing opportunity. As my husband was learning of Him so long ago, we had a student from the Middle East staying in our home. She learned with him, and together they were saved. Of course I was not willing to see or consider the Word of God at all, back then. But how He showed Himself strong, before me, if I would have been willing to see.
After that we hosted three girls (epic failures) who by my definition were “perfect” for our family. Alas, these were very short term, and neither of them really enjoyed their time with us. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong. I couldn’t understand why our desire to reach out and share the Gospel, was failing as terribly as it had. Then God clearly spoke to me and I was reminded, to wait on the Lord, to be still … He reminded me that it is not the wisdom of man but of God ~ the mind of Christ ~ within how I see these students. Looking through the eyes of the world, I will never be able to see those who He is calling. It is only when I see them as He does, that I will be able to be a missionary at home, to those who are seeking.
The next time we hosted a student, it was crystal clear to me when I saw her application that she was the one. I knew her face, she was so familiar to me. The year after that we hosted a young man from China, and then a girl from France and a young lady from China. Right now we have a sweet girl from Spain visiting with us for the month. And in the fall, we shall have a young lady from Norway join our family.
I look back and its funny how I can see God’s hand in every one of these experiences. With our daughter in Brazil, who felt so at home in our church the moment she walked into the sanctuary, to our “son” from China (we wrote about all those struggles here and our “daughter” that followed him, also from China. And I cannot forget our sweet French girl, who I wish we could have kept with us longer than we were able.
In every one of these youth’s lives they came here with little to no knowledge of the Lord, and they left with the Word of God in their hearts and minds, a life that has greater meaning and purpose than before. Three of them made amazing life changing decisions while with us; they heard His word, they felt His touch and they responded.
What could be greater? I know there are many who think that to host you need lots of money, a big fancy house, vacations and trips all over the country and we do not really have any of that. But we have something greater. We have truth. And perhaps that is enough?
John 20:21 says: ...said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
May we all embrace His plan to take the gospel into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. May we pray daily that our life will be that testimony to Him; our hearts eager and willing to serve others ~ His will be done and not our own. To God be the glory!