I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Why are you involved with foreign missions?"
It's something I have asked myself quite often.
What is my purpose?
Why do I do what I have done and what I still want to do?
Why do I spend so much time, effort, energy and money on short term mission trips to other countries?
The answer is simple yet so deeply complicated.
Simply put? God has called me to these trips.
I didn't wake up one day and say to myself, "I think I'll go travel to a developing country, spend a summer there away from the comforts of home and away from my family and friends. Yeah, I think I'll go to a country where there are no real or clean toilets. I'll go to a country where I have to hike for hours up large steep hills where my lungs feel like they will explode just so I can meet new people. I'll go somewhere where I can't shower every day or every other day. I'll go to a new culture and perhaps try weird foods or food I don't like and pretend I do like it so I don't disrespect anyone. I'll go spend a month in a place where I don't know the language and if I'm confused I'll just nod and smile and walk away. I'll leave for 6 weeks and lie awake at night, crying myself to sleep from homesickness."
Yeah...that sounds like a great plan.
Nepal. Colombia. Honduras. (Scotland doesn't count because I have always wanted to go haha) and now Macedonia and some day Romania. Those aren't necessarily my top picks of places I would have wanted to travel to in this world. Let's face it...Those aren't tourist hot spots. They aren't all that safe. But that never mattered to me.
All that mattered when I was facing a new trip was the clear and simple fact that God called me, told me to go on a trip. God called me to Nepal, Colombia, Kairos (Honduras and Scotland) and now He is calling me to Macedonia.
A more complicated answer to this question would be, God called me to this.
I say that it is so simple yet so complicated and here is why.
God called me. Simple enough. So that's what I have to do.
It's only complicated when I start to wonder why. Why to these specific places?
I'll be honest.
I look back on my trips and wonder why I was called there. What was so special about ME going THERE?
Maybe I touched someones heart. Maybe it was because I had a willing heart to go. I may never get to know the reason but that doesn't stop me from going. It keeps me going. I never know what God has planned and I may never know how many seeds were planted in love. I may never see the seed grow and blossom. At least I wont see it in this life. But I'll definitely see it in heaven.
I love mission trips. I love seeing new people and new places. I love experiencing a new culture. I love beholding the beautiful earth that God has created.
Now, although they may never have been my top picks for travel destinations, the excitement for the trips never faded. Each trip has been a fantastic adventure that God has blessed me with. I look back on each with such joy and fondness. So many great memories. I have learned so much on each trip. My eyes were opened to the world and its needs. Having now seen these countries, I'd love to return some day and walk the familiar streets. They are all such beautiful countries.
I once listened to a sermon by Paris Reidhead called "Ten Shekels and a Shirt".
Near the end he was speaking on one of his trips to Africa and this is what he said and I have never forgotten it.
" I heard God say to my heart that day something like this, "I didn't send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My sake. They deserved Hell! But I LOVE THEM!!! AND I ENDURED THE AGONIES OF HELL FOR THEM!!!
I DIDN'T SEND YOU OUT THERE FOR THEM!!! I SENT YOU OUT THERE FOR ME! DO I NOT DESERVE THE REWARD OF MY SUFFERING? DON'T I DESERVE THOSE FOR WHOM I DIED?"
And to those who would ask, "Why not here in America? Americans need help too."
That is so true. ALL people need love. ALL people need Jesus. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you make, what color skin you have or what language you speak. We are ALL THE SAME. No one is better than the other. No country more superior. WE all need Jesus, it just may look differently in each person, but the bottom line is the same in each and every person on this earth. We are all sinners.
So why do I do what I do?
I'm just following the open doors that God has placed in front of me. Whether that is ministry here in the states or ministry abroad. I'll go wherever and however He leads me. And my fingers will be crossed for foreign trips because I am now forever biased towards foreign missions ;)
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask/speak! I'd love to hear from you :)
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And I recommend listening/reading to the sermon!