Monday, February 18, 2013

Are You Called to be a Missionary?

My dream, the thing that I literally would cry myself to sleep about, the thing that I plead with God to make a way--that dream was to be a missionary. An overseas missionary. And I had this opportunity when I was 16. I went to Africa and it changed my life. I pray I helped and blessed those over in Africa, but I am not sure. I do know that it literally rocked my world. I felt so inadequate. So useless and helpless. So overwhelmed. I would once again cry myself to sleep longing to go back. I wanted to be a missionary my whole life. I wanted to move there. I wanted to adopt all the kids I saw with over-flowing diapers. I wanted to bring into my home all the girls with breaking hearts looking for love in all the wrong places. I wanted to show the young men trying to find a sense of value, trying to feel like a man where they could find that value. I wanted to help the families with 20 people living in once home about the size of our apartment or smaller who only wanted one blanket and a Bible. I wanted to give them so much more. And I still do. It still shakes me today. I still cry over it and my heart aches to go back. But, that time is not now. God's timing is perfect and I pray that He will use me once again to be a blessing in Africa.

But then the thought hits me that why can't I be a missionary here? What changed about my attitude over there? What made me fearless to pray with dying people? To pray with hurting teenagers? To help them see God's love? What made the difference to have joy in playing with 100 kids who didn't speak our language at all for hours on end? What made that difference? And, why can't I have that attitude here? Why don't I ask those who are hurting around me if I can not only pray for them, but pray with them? If I can ask the grocery store clerk who seems upset, grouchy, and struggling if there is anything I can do for her? To pray for? To find practical ways to help the homeless on our streets? To reach out to the girls I babysit? To tell them about Jesus? Why is my heart and attitude so different in Africa than in America?

Did you know that we have a lot of missionaries from other counteries now coming here? What are we doing in our own homes and neighborhoods to be missionaries? You may or may not be called to go over seas, but we are all called to share the love of Christ. We can and are called to be missionaries no matter where we are.