Saturday, January 15, 2011

Missions-Foreign or Home?

Home vs. Foreign Missions – a human term that can’t be supported in Scripture.  The Scriptures teach one and only one approach to missions.  When our Savior gave the “Great Commission” to evangelize the world He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.’ Matthew 28: 19-20.  The commission was, and is, to go and evangelize the entire world, not just the U.S. and not just foreign lands.  Biblically and looking through the eyes of God.  ALL missions are foreign missions

For a child of God, Heaven is our home and there is no need for missionary workers there.  So what are we to do with the trap of “home and foreign’ missions that we get caught up in…and turn our minds away from those in our own community and all over the world that need our prayers, gifts, and talents.  We should stop using it, step away from U.S. vs. the world…All missionary work is foreign.  Do you really think Jesus would be pleased if we focused only on a small portion of our world…His world because we are too single minded to think outside of His Harvest field?  Yes, we have people of all ages, color, gender, nationality living here in the U.S…doing without food, meds, life’s necessities…but that doesn’t negate it happening all over the world, nor does it diminish my responsibility to do all that I can everywhere I can be, even foreign missions. 

It’s a blessing to travel to a land where the ‘haves’ far differ from the ‘have-nots’…yet, the have nots are the most humble & thankful people I’ve ever seen and don’t expect a hand out just because they live in a certain country.  They live in poverty, simple lives, but what they teach me every year is more than I can learn about how Jesus must have felt traveling, healing, loving the people in those foreign land.  Individually, we have to pray and share our gifts & talents whether it’s down the street, to the other side of town, or to another continent or you do all…No matter where it is, it’s the Lord’s entire harvest field, and it’s ALL foreign mission…and it’s called humanity!  I’m just glad Jesus Christ didn’t decide “I” wasn’t good enough…or “I” was less worthy of His forgiveness than somebody else just because of where I lived.  I am blessed; I take it seriously when I hear of someone at my church or community being without food, heat, necessities of life.   He has bestowed on me a heart for mission work & do take it personally when people ‘attack’ those that help with foreign missions when we have hungry people in this country.  I help here too.  I’m not looking for a pat on the back or a thank blessing arrives each January when I travel to the Dominican Republic.  To get to look into the faces of a woman who is 30 years of age, never had children yet has a uterus the size of an 8 month pregnant woman.  I see what an impact it will make on her life when she gets to have a hysterectomy…life changing, pain reducing, increased quality of life surgery…a surgery that would have long been done in this country.   Or a child of 8-12 years of age with a hernia that causes discomfort…that in this country would have been long fixed, a removal of a gall bladder due to chronic gall bladder disease, pain, and stomach issues.  To have been in that country last year during the Haiti earthquake & witness how poorly their emergency response was but was so blessed to have been put in the path of a few of those earthquake survivors…those survivors that share a picture frame in my home on my mantle on my walls to give me a daily reminder of how their simple, and “less than mine” lifestyle…doesn’t mean they are poor…it reminds me that I am.  To watch people stand in line for hours with their sick children, just to see the American doctor’s because there is NO doctor to see them without medical teams coming to their small village…these are the ‘have-nots’…these are the ‘real’ faces of foreign missions…but more than that to me…these are the real faces of Christ.  About 5 yeas ago the clinic team brought in a dying man with AIDS into the hospital…he was on a piece of board in the village, they passed him into the bus through the window because he was too sick to walk.  That sweet man, who didn’t look like me, speak my language, or shared my nationality…died a couple days later in the hospital after being hydrated with IV fluids, fed, and prayed for…he didn’t die alone, he died with people who weren’t afraid to talk to him, pray with him and “love him like Jesus.”  I look into their eyes, and see honesty, not judgments…you see thankfulness, not expectations.  You see Jesus Christ.  I only pray they see half as much in my eyes, my smile, and my touch that I am blessed to be a part of in just 10 short days a year.   

I’m not saying we don’t have people "without" here…I know we do…my church reaches out to them all the time & I have been a home health nurse for over 21 years, but we also have programs in place that most can at least get some help. But, I also witness and participate with a church who is providing Christmas meal and gifts for 12-15 families from a local elementary school, coat drives to keep our homeless warm, food drives to keep them fed...people reaching out HERE in the name of Christ. 

Is the systems without their flaws…nope, but it’s better than the ‘have-nots’ in the other countries.  Until you’ve seen it and truly realize how blessed WE ALL are in this country in ANY socio-economic class & until you’ve truly looked in the mirror and analyzed “what do I do to make a difference?”  None of us can do it all but we all can do something.  Use caution in criticizing anyone willing to be the Hands & Feet of Christ both home and foreign until you truly know what’s real…as we never know when WE WILL BE THE LEAST OF THESE.

Casting Crowns "Love Them Like Jesus"

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