I’ve never been overseas, but my family is a missionary family working with internationals in the most diverse square mile in the US. We live every day right in the middle of it, working with people from North Africa and the Middle East.
I thought it would be interesting to break three big myths about mission work today:) So, here we go, myth number one:
“Missions is when people move overseas to share the Gospel.”
Well… true and false. Yes, the point of mission work is to fulfill the Great Comission (Matthew 28:16-20), which talks about making disciples of all nations, which often requires moving to these other countries to reach these people who don’t know Christ. But God is, (especially lately with the refugee crisis), bringing the unreached directly to us! People from countries that we would never have an opening to get into are coming right here. The fields are ripe! So, not all missionaries go overseas. But we defenitely need more laborers to go to unreached people groups! But please, please, never think less of the work God does through stateside missionaries either.
“Mission work is always an exciting adventure.”
I’m going to be honest here. Missions is over romantisized. Yes, it is an adventure like no other, but it is not always some exciting miracle story either. I think people tend to picture missions as all mud huts in a jungle, starving babies, and miracles and snakes so on. Honestly, it’s exhausting. I mean, I have gotten to see God work in incredible ways, and see the Holy Spirit move, but the reality is that we spend most of our ministry time sitting and drinking cups of tea, going on visits, and just getting to know people and build friendships and trust. It’s obviously different overseas, but I will tell you that it can get really discouraging when we aren’t seeing God tangibly work in the ways we’d like to see Him work. When it’s been years and still no breakthroughs in the people we’ve been praying fervently for. When we are fighting through burnout and exhaustion. I’m not saying every day sucks. There are so many wonderful, beautiful parts of this life that I love and cherish. But it is hard.
“Missionaries are super spiritual people.”
Nope. Yeah… no. I can tell you that all of my missionary friends would laugh and shake their heads at this! Missionaries are broken people who have simply chose to obey God’s call on their lives. That’s you too! If you are obeying God’s call on your life, His call for you may not be going into frontlines mission work. But I believe that God has called each and every person to join that work in some way. One of the biggest ways is support. I cannot even tell you how many missionaries are having to leave the mission field because they dont have enough support. Or, unable to go in the first place because they can’t raise enough support. I will come back to this part later. But honestly, every missionary that I know has very real struggles in their lives. They have the same questions and doubts as anyone. Want to know a secret? Some days, it gets really hard. Some days, we are ready to just quit. Forget about missions. Get a job, go live a normal life. Literally the only thing that keeps us going, the only reason we are here, is the grace of God. We daily have to operate out of a place of dependance on Him. We make mistakes. But God loves to use broken people for His glory!
So, how can you respond to these daily realities for missionaries?
You can pray. There is so, so much power in prayer. Pray that God would give strength and refreshment to missionaries, and pray for Him to soften the hearts of the people they are working with, and also for opportunites for gospel – centered conversations. And tell your missionary you are praying. Small reminders like these bring so much encouragement!
You can financially support missionaries. This is one of the biggest needs of missionaries. Like I said before, countless missionaries are unable to even begin the work because of a lack of support. They need to have sufficient support in order to be healthy. Your support is such a vital part of what God is doing! Please, don’t underestimate giving!
You can Go!!!! Watch this. Enough said.
And finally, remember that YOU are a missionary! Allow God to show you how He wants you to be involved in His Great Commision, and act in obedience to His call!