Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Monday, February 2, 2015

On Being A Missionary - From The Desk Of Rev. Bro Coach...AKA Keith Jones

My dear friend Keith posted a blog this week that I thought was amazing.  I have modified it a bit to fit my own feelings but Keith has be to given credit for the prompt.  I have the utmost respect for missionaries, especially my daughter and son-in-law.   I mean they answered a call that I have never been able to fathom. They completely uprooted their lives and, are learning to speak a language that will be their second language, raised monetary support to go to another country and live among a nation of people who may or may not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They are trusting people to make offerings to their account on a monthly or one time basis so they can have the simple things they need like food.  They have no medical insurance.  On top of that, I have had several friends and former students who went into a foreign country under other pretenses because Christian missionaries are not welcome in that part of that particular country. Forsaking comfort, simple luxuries, and in some cases risking their very lives, these Godly people boldly and faithfully step forward to fulfill the Great Commission to take the Gospel of Jesus to the ends of the Earth.  One of my former students went to China as a missionary/teacher in the 80's.  She was her parents only child.  During her stay there she was tragically killed in a plane crash.  Every year when I put my Chinese ornament she sent me on my Christmas tree I remember the sacrifices she made for God. I look at our missionaries with the same respect and esteem that I hold for our military. I pray for them in the same manner that I pray for our troops overseas protecting our freedom. I look at both of these groups and sometimes think to myself, “Wow, I have done nothing with my life.” They really are true heroes.
     This has been a difficult concept for me to get past. My dad served his country proudly and with honor in WWII. I watched in utter amazement and admittedly a huge sense of pride as people spoke to and treated my father like the American hero that I know he was. I have friends and family who also served in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and in my eyes they are heroes. In the same light, I look at the missionaries that I have had the privilege of knowing during my life and ministry. Billy and Jennie, Lewis Archer, and countless others who have served in Africa.  The ones who have participated in Appalachian Service Project, worked in other states during the summer, worked for Carpenters for Christ....and I am humbled by their sacrifices as well.  Even people who have done work projects within the confines of the United States made sacrifices.  They gave up time with family, vacations, and much more to help others. I am sure that I am not the only one who has felt this way around these remarkable people. "Missionaries are constantly being sent around the world to do what many won’t. I have prayed many times asking God if I am doing all that He wants me to be doing and I ask if I should be dropping everything to go overseas, and each time I get the same answer- but it wasn’t until recently that I understood that answer. The answer that I finally grasped is likely the same answer that many of us have gotten as we stand in utter amazement at our missionary friends. Let me break down my conversation with God for you:
I ask, “God, do you want me to be a missionary?” 
God responds, “Yes.”
I continue, “God, do you want me to go overseas to be a missionary?”
God responds, “No!”
     Right here is where God would lose me each time we had this conversation.  I am betting that if you have had the same conversation, you have had a similar struggle. Let me continue and show you what I finally discovered:
I say, “God, I don’t understand. You want me to be a missionary, but I’m not supposed to go anywhere?”
God responds, “I didn’t say that.”
I finally say, “God, I give up.  Here I am Lord, send me. Where do you want me to go?”
Then God responded and; I heard for the first time, “You are already there.”
     I had made the one mistake that is so common of us when we begin talking about missions, I assumed that mission work meant somewhere in another country or some destitute part of the U.S. I never once considered the fact that my career in teaching.... that I have poured over 25 years into WAS THE  The reason that I have never felt the call to foreign missions is that God called me to local missions over 25 years ago when I became a teacher for Tallapoosa County.   "I discovered that we are ALL called to be missionaries. Some of you will be called to foreign missions. You will uproot your entire life and you follow God’s call to the ends of the Earth to share Christ with others in another country. For others, you will be called to be missionaries in American cities that do not have the Gospel readily available to its population. For many of us, however, we are called to mission fields close to home. Mission work is scary, even when it’s in your own back door. The important thing to remember is that missionary work both local and foreign is 0% expectation and 100% obedience. It is vital for us to recognize the need to step out on faith and serve. It wasn’t until I re-read the words of Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me,” and became obedient to that call of faith that my eyes were opened to what God wanted me to do. The Great Commission calls ALL of us to go and tell, to go and make disciples of ALL nations. Sometimes that takes us to exotic destinations like Haiti, Honduras, or Brazil; sometimes it takes us to non-exotic places like Moldova, Africa, China; and for the rest of us, we need to understand that sometimes…we are the destination...right where we are.

1 comment:

Team Jones said...

That is so true momma! This is the mission field. "This" for us, is Moldova....before Moldova, "this" was Montgomery, Alabama. We are all serving on our own equally important mission field!