This may be a cliché statement, but I have a heart for foreign missions. Which is why I’m so excited to have the opportunity to go on a short-term mission trip to Thailand next Saturday. The Lord has really blessed me already in preparing to go overseas (this is the first time I will be leaving the country), and I look forward to see what amazing things He will do as we go.
One of the things I’ve learned though, despite my lack of experience, is that there is nothing special about going overseas. I am still Nik – I do not become a different person (aka, Super Christian) for suddenly getting on a plane and going on a mission trip. If my life is a mess here, I doubt I’ll be much help over there, especially if I’m in worse living conditions than over here. It’s like the tea-bag analogy: you don’t know what’s in it until you put it in hot water.
That’s not to say that a mission trip can’t be a life changing experience. I know it will be for me, as I’ve heard so many others testify to. I can’t wait to see how the Lord challenges, proves, and grows me in my time over in Thailand.
I know that one thing the Lord has laid on my heart is to be a “missionary” no matter where I am. Wherever I am led by the Lord – whether it’s here or somewhere else – I am called to be like Christ and to follow in His footsteps. I am not called to missions, in the sense of my life work – I am called to be like Christ. If I am led by Him to the mission field, that is fine. But right now, right where I am, I am being called by Christ to be like Christ in this world, and to change it for His glory. It’s right in 1 Peter 2:21 – “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.”
Yet, I do challenge you to seriously consider sometime where the Lord is leading you. We may hear the call of the mission field, the cries of the lost and dying around the world, but we can so easily shut them up. Consider this website: http://www.joshuaproject.net/ . It’s a website that, through various means, has calculated how many unreached people groups there are in the world. Literally, millions who have not even heard the name Jesus Christ – whereas we hear it so much, too often as a swear word. I also have a friend from Ellerslie who is going to be living in France for 9 months:(http://forhisworship.blogspot.com/ ). You may think, Why France? One group has reported that only about .8 % of the French population is made up of Protestant Christians. My friend will actually be living in a predominantly Muslim community, which is quite different from the France we often imagine (or maybe it’s just me).
To say the least, there is still much work to be done in this world. I would say the Great Commission has not yet been fulfilled. Not every tribe, tongue, and nation has heard the Word of God. If we do want to change the world, we must be living sacrifices, as Romans 12:1 says –
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
The group I’m going with has some amazing sermons and articles on this topic of missions. I also encourage you to see what they’re up to: http://www.historymakers.info/sermons/
So, to repeat what I said earlier, I have a heart for missions. But truly, I just have a heart for the gospel. I want to see the banner of Jesus Christ planted where it has not yet stood, wherever that may be – the countries across the world or the souls of my lost friends. I want to carry His banner long and hard, to glory or to oblivion. I don’t want to waste my life, but to spend it, and spend it well, for His kingdom and His glory.