Do you have your missionary book for me? Nancy asks in her usual cheerful, yet determined manner.
As a matter of fact, I do! Can you believe it? We both chuckle, realizing how highly unusual it is for me to get my assigned reading back so quickly.
The missionary reading is not required. They are rather quick, pocket-sized reads that our denomination encourages us to read. They are not difficult, although sometimes the names are a little tricky. I enjoy these short stories that offer a window into the lives of our brothers and sisters serving Christ around the globe. They have chosen to dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel to those who are lost. The locations - exotic... and in some cases very dangerous locations.
Although I am inspired by their lives, I have never felt that particular call. But those in need of Jesus are not only found in foreign lands. They need not look, speak, and live differently than me. In my world, I interact with the lost every day. The lost soul may be a stranger at the grocery store, a co-worker, - or maybe it's someone within my own family.
Though I don't believe God has called me to a far away land, I do feel that He has called me He calls each of us in our own particular way. We are called to be missionaries in the place that we are, using the gifts and talents He has blessed us with.
Perhaps the difference between me and missionaries to foreign lands, is passion. Though I do feel passionate about reaching the lost, I wonder... am I passionate enough? If I am to be truthful, I must admit that I am not... not always, not like the missionaries whose lives I read about.
I'm not sure what triggered it, but I began to be tormented by the possibility of the people I love dying without truly knowing Christ people that I love spending eternity in hell. That is when my burdened heart, turned to fervent prayers for their salvation... and prayers that I would become a more useful vessel.
I now have moments of soul-wrenching heartbreak at the thought of anyone dying without knowing Jesus Christ. This has not always been the case. It is a relatively new phenomenon to me. My prayers were for those I love and care about. My petitions included prayers to have the scales removed from their eyes. Then, while tossing and turning one sleepless night, God removed the scales from my own eyes or perhaps from my heart.
Since that sleepless night, I rejoice for the salvation and the growing faith of the two souls that weighed most heavy on my heart. In addition to the joy this has brought me, I now have a deeper awareness that I live in my own mission field, as well.
My 'mission' is to serve God by allowing Jesus Christ to work through me. The life I live before others, right where I am, IS my mission field. How I talk (or write), how I behave, my service to others, my commitment to my relationships and the work that I perform; ALL of my actions, create my testimony and become 'missionary outreach'.
Our lives are like pebbles on a beach of an ocean of lost souls. We can be so close, yet we have no influence. It is not until we 'throw ourselves in' that there can be the ripple effect.
While praying for my husband's salvation, I prayed that one day we would serve Him in unity. I thought what an adventure it would be to, one day, share a work and witness trip to an exotic place with my husband. For now, my husband's mission field has indeed become a bit exotic prison. (That first 'pebble', unfortunately, turned out to be a bit of a boulder.) What a joy it is though, to hear that he is witnessing to fellow inmates.
And my mission field? It remains a field of family, friends, co-workers, and strangers whom I interact with. Now, my mission field includes the written word as well.
1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NLT) 22...yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
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