I grew up in a family that has a legacy of missions work. My grandparents dedicated most of their lives to serving on the mission field. My mom was born in the Panama Canal for goodness sake. This love for missions is in my blood. It’s a part of me that I have always loved. I love this part of my history, my heritage that has served and given their entire lives to God’s work.
My sister, cousin and I had the amazing privilege of going to Guatemala with my grandparents and their church a few years back. This was an incredible experience. Not only to see where they used to live and serve but to see how God had used them.
I’ll never forget one pastor that my Papa had served with (who has since gone blind). They hadn’t seen each other in about 37 years. This pastor didn’t know that we were coming. It was a surprise. I just love surprising people!
When we walked into his church and my Papa spoke to him, his entire countenance changed. He lit up from head to toe, and he said “Senior Goodrich!! It’s a miracle!”. Y’all. He is blind. He couldn’t see my Papa. They hadn’t seen each other in 37 years. Thirty-seven! And yet, he heard my Papa’s voice and instantly recognized who was greeting him. The impact of their friendship was so strong that even after all those years he knew my Papa immediately just by hearing his voice. Chills.
I’ll never forget that moment. I’m crying all over again just remembering it! It was the highlight of the trip for me. And I left thinking, “I want God to use me like that one day. I want to be such a force for God’s kingdom that someone might remember me after years just by hearing my voice.”
How amazing would that be if we all had an impact like that for His Kingdom? Can you imagine!
It’s been a few years and I haven’t taken another missions trip. I haven’t gone anywhere far to spread His Word.
And sometimes I’m hard on myself about that. I think “if I could travel the world telling everyone about Jesus it would just be so amazing!”
And it would. And I’d have all kinds of amazing stories I’m sure. I’d meet some really amazing people, no doubt.
But in the few years since that trip to Guatemala, God has shaped my heart to see missions as so much bigger than traveling around the world.
We are all missionaries. We are all disciples called to create disciples.
Some brothers and sisters in Christ are called to go to Africa or Asia. Some are called to travel down to South America. And some – most actually – are called to be mission-minded right here. Right in this place we call home. And that’s okay.
I used to think that because I wasn’t doing “big” things for God’s Kingdom, I wasn’t doing enough. I wasn’t a good enough Christian because I hadn’t sold all my possessions to move across the world and share the Gospel.
I am done believing that lie, y’all. And I’m inviting you to stop believing it as well.
We are all called to create disciples, we are all missionaries. Each with our own unique mission field.
Our mission field is right where we are. Our friends, families, co-workers. The toll attendant that we see every day on the way to work. The coffee barista who sees us so often she knows our orders by heart. Our neighbors. Our literal next door, across the street, two doors down neighbors. These are the people we need to be pouring into. These people are our mission field.
When you have a heart to spread the Gospel but no means to travel the world, just look right in front of you. There are people all around you who need to hear of Love. They need Him just as much as any other person you might meet on your far-off journey.
When we shift our minds and our hearts to see missions in this way, we begin to see people in a whole new way. We don’t need to pack a bag and catch a plane to be able to do big things for God. He will use us for the mission field that is right under our feet, right in our hometowns.
I pray that if this is you, if you were thinking the way I was, that you must do something “big” to be a “great Christian”, that this will be your heart check. Allow God to use you in everyday life. Pray that He will open your eyes to the people He wants you to pour into, the people He wants to be your mission field.
Your call to the mission field happened the day you accepted Christ as your Father. It’s time we stop looking for some big call to missions and look right in the faces of those Christ has already surrounded us with. Love on those people.
Whether we are sent around the world or if we never go anywhere but down the street to get coffee, we need to see that our mission field is right between our two feet right now. I couldn’t sum it up better than with a quote from Jill Briscoe, “ You go where you’re sent, you stay where you’re put, and you give what you’ve got until God says you’re done.”
Allow God to shape your heart for whatever your mission field might look like. And then – obey.