Sunday, February 6, 2011

What is a missionary?

Growing up in church we would be visited often by missionaries on deputation. I would sit there in the comfy pew and think, 'Wow, their lives are full of wonder and adventure. They have been to foreign lands and lived to tell about it.' I particularly remember the missionary who brought a mounted piranha with all of it's sharp teeth one time. I prayed sincerely that God would never send me to a place like Africa as visions of me slipping into a river and being eaten played over and over in my mind.
Now those are young and childish thoughts but even as a young adult or older I think we sometimes get this picture in our heads of what a missionary is and does. We have heard so many stories of beloved missionaries blazing the trails into the bush to reach the lost and they are wonderful to hear, but what I do not remember hearing too much of was the day to day life struggles and moments that made up their "normal" life. What is a normal day in the life of a missionary? It is as though that part was never mentionable because it was too dull or uninteresting, but now as I am the one on the other side of the pond I find it very interesting and see the importance of the "dull side." For though we pray that God will use us to do something lasting and great for His Kingdom the reality is sometimes that simply involves normal everyday stuff like living by and teaching financial responsibility though budgeting, schooling your children, singing with the choir, teaching reading, showing kindness in everyday situations, cleaning your house, listening to people a lot and talking a little, and simply making friends with people. Those all are the everyday things we can and have to do everywhere and becoming a missionary doesn't leave you exempt and only available for the fun adventure parts.
As we have started this journey I had already thought about all of this, but every once in awhile I have to remind myself that I wasn't put here to have something grand and exciting happen to me every day in this ministry, for one who could handle that, but I was put here to live with and be a part of a people that are not so different than mine, to minister to, through my actions, my lifestyle, and occasionally my words. Some days will indeed be marvelous and exciting but even in the quiet times God can use me.
I may be in a foreign land but a Christian's calling in pretty much the same where ever you go. We are to proclaim and live the truth, in Jesus name! When we live as a true follower of Christ we begin to make an impact on those around us. It isn't us but it is the beauty of Christ in us.
So on those days when I start to feel insignificant, Lord, please help me to be patient and simply live as you would have me live, full of You.


NatalieJo said...

Very good post Dana. I really enjoyed reading this. This is an important reminder even for us here at home! Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post. I had to chuckle a little to myself about the thought of not being sent to Africa. For some reason that is everyone's fear, but I'm glad you went. You can show us the other side of things. Love you all.

Anonymous said...

Love reading your posts. Thanks for sharing. Yes, it's a good reminder for us all. Sharlyn S.