A Call to the Mission Field
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
I have known since as early as Junior High that I am called to the mission field. I have always loved learning about other cultures, sampling other cuisines, studying geography, traveling anywhere I could go. I can see a movie like End of the Spear, read a book like Brushko, learn the stories of missionaries like Jim Elliot and Bruce Olsen, and I empathize with their passion, desire, and call.
Much more than simply identifying with them, I understand and feel the same passion, desire, and call - so much so that my spirit aches to the point of tears to be released to fulfill the call on my life. I read the words of Jim Elliot: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose" and I realize that my my fate might very well be the same - and I thank God for the privilege to fulfill the plan He has for me, whether through my life or through my death.
I read the words of Apostle Paul:
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV)
And when I read these words, I recognize that this longing for another country, this living as an alien and stranger, does not just apply for me spiritually as I long for a future home in heaven, but it also applies for me in longing for the country of my calling.
I have always had a special fondness for Latin America. Two of my earliest mission trips were to Mexico. I began learning Spanish in high school, and studying the language and culture came to me almost as naturally as if I were studying my first language and native culture. Studying the culture of Mexico in high school, I always had an interest in the small, impoverished state of Oaxaca. I continued studying Spanish in college, as a minor with a specialization in Latin American Studies. Having finally taken a mission trip to Oaxaca and having learned first-hand of the endearing people and fascinating culture of Oaxaca, I understand the interest I originally developed.
I don't yet know when I will be released into full-time mission work, or if I will be called to Oaxaca, elsewhere in Mexico or Latin America, or somewhere else entirely. In the meantime, I intend to use as much of my vacation time as possible each year for short-term mission work.
The Heart of a Missionary
If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner.
Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and take what comes.
— Robert E. Speer
Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. If I do not love a person I am not moved to help him by proofs that he is in need; if I do love him, I wait for no proof of a special need to urge me to help him.
People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives ... and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.
Love is the root of missions; sacrifice is the fruit of missions.
— Roderick Davis
To stay here and disobey God -- I can't afford to take the consequence. I would rather go and obey God than to stay here and know that I disobeyed.
Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?
I am immortal till my work is accomplished.
I am a missionary, heart and soul. God had an only Son, and He was a missionary and a physician. I am a poor, poor imitation of Him, or wish to be. In this service I hope to live; in it I wish to die!
I have not repented in becoming a missionary, and, should I die in the march and never enter the field of battle, all would be well.
In the north I have seen in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been.
Trials and hairbreadth escapes only strengthened my faith and nerved me for more to follow; and they trod swiftly enough upon each other's heels. Without that abiding consciousness of the presence and power of my Lord and Saviour, nothing in the world could have preserved me from losing my reason and perishing miserably. His words Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end became to me so real that it would not have startled me to behold Him, as Stephen did, gazing down upon the scene. It is the sober truth that I had my nearest and most intimate glimpses of the presence of my Lord in those dread moments when musket, club or spear was being levelled at my life.
This is strength; this is peace; to feel, in entering on every day, that all its duties and trials have been committed to the Lord Jesus - that, come what may, He will use us for His own glory and our real good!
Nothing so clears the vision and lifts up the life, as a decision to move forward in what you know to be entirely the will of the Lord.