Across the Street, or Around the World…

“…the mission’s still the same: Proclaim and live the Truth in Jesus’ name.” (The Mission, Steve Green)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9gWrRRBnBE

Imagine this scenario. Hundreds of dirt-stained, dark children whose lives have been forever changed since AIDS claimed their parents. Their warm, glowing eyes radiate with hope as you place a bowl of soup in their chapped hands–and this may be the only meal they will have for another day or two. They can see that there is something inside of you that offers more than physical nourishment…something that will provide more strength than a bowl of soup. Their hunger goes beyond what can be digested with their body, it reaches into the very core of their soul. You have Jesus, and they want Him.

Or picture a group of teenagers who spend endless hours learning English, hoping that one day they may be successful in their rapidly-expanding professional culture. As you help them with our crazy nuances and pronunciations, they also learn about the family of God and the incomprehensible love He has for His children. By government decree, they might not know what it is like to have a big family, but they know it is something special. And they know that this God is different from all the gold statues and images they see as they go to school.

Now picture a more easily capturable scenario of young people. Girls with eyeliner two inches thick, guys with earlobes stretched; both genders wearing clothes that do not cover a decent majority of their bodies–and not because they couldn’t afford more! Either the clothes were manufactured that way, or they somehow manage to fall off, even if belts are attached. (And we don’t need to imagine too far here…it’s not hard anyway.) These young people who have small, rectangular objects seemingly glued to their fingers, or strapped to their ears…and when they do speak aloud, the words that fall out are often ones you would prefer not to hear.

However, this previous group of youth, with their wardrobe malfunctions and cell phone addictions, these kids…they have heard about Jesus. Oh, they hear about Him all the time! They might even go to Youth Group, or listen to Christian music, or, ooh, even post their religion as “Christian-other” on their social website. America is the Christian country after all, isn’t it? There is no shame in carrying the label, is there? We all know being a Christian is about going to church, and not having sex (before marriage), and not drinking (too much), and not saying anything mean…and oh yeah, something about “Jesus loves me”. And a loving God, who still manages to let bad things happen for some reason. And Santa Claus doesn’t actually come down the chimney on Christmas Eve…

If I had to pick my mission field, the first two would honestly seem more appealing to me. Working with cute little kids who want to know about Jesus, or with teens who want to know more about a powerful, mighty God; it’s way easier to have somebody listen when they want to know what you have to say, isn’t it? Now the last scenario I presented was indeed a greatly stereotyped one. Not all young people are that way, and Christian or Christ-less, it is not their appearance that determines their salvation–though hopefully it will reflect it. 

But have ever wondered that if God hasn’t called you away from where you are now, that perhaps you are right where He wants you to live? That perhaps the boring job or average-sized church or random, weird little people we encounter throughout our week, that this is our mission field? We might not have glossy cards with our name and birthday printed on it, so people can insert it into their Bibles and remember to pray for us (and please know I’m not making fun of prayer cards!), but we are still missionaries wherever we live. We are still witnesses for God whether we are in Nowheresville, USA or in Whoknowswhere in the Middle East. And hopefully we are good witnesses, too!

Currently, my mission field is in the last scenario. My assigned location right now is in a town with people who “claim to know God, but by their actions deny Him” (Titus 1:16) or who “have a form of godliness but deny its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) A town with people who are homeless, or parentless, and usually God-less. Or if they have knowledge of God, it is in such a murky form because Satan has warped all the love and mercy from their view of Him. So maybe these people don’t necessarily need to “hear” the Gospel, as much as they need to “see” it lived out. It’s time to model our Jesus full-time, to be imitators of Christ, therefore…and whoooeee He sure covers us way better than some of the runway items I’ve seen! 😀

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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