When you think about the term “missions” or “missionaries” what is the first picture that comes to your mind? What do you think of? If you’re like me, and I’d surmise like many people in the world, the scenario that plays in your head goes a little something like this. A missionary is someone who sells all they have, lives in poverty, and takes the gospel to a third world country – probably not with the best hygiene, living conditions or comforts of home. You wonder what kind of person leaves all they know to be true and good, and voluntarily puts themselves in such a situation – with the possibility of getting hurt, sick, living in terrible conditions, or ever persecuted for their faith. Really, who does that!?
Now, let’s talk short term. What comes to mind when you think of a short term mission trip? Do you think of a team of crazy people who put themselves in harms way to just share the gospel with a few people for a few days or maybe even a week or two? Do you wonder what they’re thinking – or how they could possibly make a difference in that short of a time?
Our church recently sent a team on a medical mission trip to Honduras. The reports that came in were nothing short of amazing, and all God in action. Just hearing the testimonials of those who went, about the lives that were changed instilled in me the desire to be on the next team that goes. However, I’m getting ahead of myself here. What really stood out to me was how much they all went for whatever reason(s) they set out to go on this trip – but all came back with their own lives having been touched as a result. God worked through them in some pretty powerful ways. However, he also worked through the Honduran people to see life change happen amongst the team as well. Many prayed a prayer that God would break their hearts for what breaks his. What a powerful prayer. God’s love knows no boundaries.
With all of this in mind regarding missions, I’d like to urge you to take a step out in your own back yard. Look around. Drive through your community – observe. My point is this – you do not need to travel to the far ends of the earth to make an impact, to be a missionary in your own community. I’ve been praying the same or similar prayer. God, break my heart for what breaks yours. I want His heart for people. That can sometimes be a dangerous thing to pray – because He’ll do it…and suddenly you’ll find yourself loving people and making a difference in ways that at one time seem foreign to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t be afraid to be that living testimony of and for who He is. Remember that you have the power (through Him) to make a difference and a lasting impact in our world, in your community, and in the lives of those you have the potential to reach out and touch.
The entire message behind this post is to just illuminate the fact that yes, there ARE those called to be long and short term missionaries across the world. There are, however, many more of us (every human being alive) called to be missionaries right here at home. Your city may very well be your mission field. You may very well be the only Jesus some people see.