Its is rare for me to leave church on a Sunday morning truly carrying a new passion. I have to admit it, when there is a small group, a discussion, a little one on one I tend to learn more. In a big sanctuary I'm often easily distracted by the lights, music, pretty people, even my own Bible. This Sunday was a lil different. I heard one of those messages you just know you were meant to hear, given by E Scott Martin of Chi Alpha Ministries So i just have to share it with my friends, Christian and non-christian alike (non-christian buddies please bear with me).
Did u know that there are as many as 53,000 Mormon (LDS) young adult missionaries serving worldwide today? These are kids that sacrifice two years after high school during the time normal kids are developing careers and going to college. As many as 90% of all Mormon young adults in Utah will serve a mission. All are UNPAID! Wow, hows that for faith and dedication.
I know I know, many Christians are getting defensive about now. Mormons are required to do so right? Wrong. Encouraged, yes but not exactly required. They are brought up learning that giving a period of their life to the mission field is what they should do. The parents and kids spend years saving up to fund their missions as well. So my question is, why aren't Christians doing the same?
Again I hear ya, You are not called right? the mission field isn't for everybody right? .......WRONG....the Bible says in Matthew 28:18-20 Go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS baptizing in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.
Now I know what you are thinking, the homefront is a mission, and that is true. But it says Go and it says All Nations, so I'm certain Jesus isn't talking about our next door neighbor. He means what he says! It doesn't say "unless you are a mom" "unless you have a good job" " unless you got into college". The Word is truth, we are all called. So maybe we don't all feel the calling, but I don't always feel called to love my "crazycomplainabouteverything" neighbors either, nevertheless I am called to do so. I realize we all have responsibilities we feel are important and don't think we can drop it all and head for the unevangelized world on a redeye tonight ( if u can, go , really, i mean it!) but what I'm saying is, we are all called, and if we pray about it and are willing God will provide the means. He is with us always! and more importantly whatever you think impedes your mission, know that it does not impede Gods!
Now that you are pondering the price of tickets to South America....or perhaps my sanity....where can you start? Prayer, thats the first place to start. Dive into selflessness and make sure all your reasons have nothing to do with you. But we can also take a note from the Mormons.....start with your children. Do not fed ex your mini-evangelist to Madagascar just yet. What we can do is challenge each other as Christians to raise our children with the value of selflessness. From this day forward I will be encouraging my children to serve a year or two in foreign missions. Perhaps at a time before they have all those responsibilities impeding us grown ups from serving. We can teach our children that people that we cant see are important and worthy of our time. We can teach them that ALL people are worthy of Gods love. What might be the hardest part is teaching them that doing for others is better than doing for oneself. Maybe you will lose the opportunity to go on a fabulous vacation with friends, they may give up the years of living single before marriage, or postpone having children. They might even put off admission to their favorite college. It is so easy to say Jesus is number 1 in my life, until I have to give up something truly important to me, something I have worked hard for, to make sure He stays that way.
I know what you are thinking. The mission field is a dangerous place for my children. My response is twofold. The mission field is a dangerous place for those living in it, but they are there and we can offer them hope. More importantly, God is bigger than that! He is bigger than laws and diplomats, he is stronger than a jail cell and more powerful than a bullet. He has promised to be with us always specifically when serving the Great Commission, and I believe him. To encourage your children to serve might mean sending them to a very dangerous place so do not take it lightly when you have those conversations, but I can say with blessed assurance that it will not go without reward :)
Here is how my first convo went with Parker 12.....
me: what did u learn about today in church?
me: really, we learned about that too, what do u think, would u be willing to spend time evangelizing at some point
P: nah , not really, im not called
me: we are all called, havent u read the verses. (shared those verses and my stats)
P: yeah, i think im called to be an air traffic controller
me: there is alot
to be contd..................
Why should you really care?
* 1.6 billion people are completely unevangelized
*only 10% of current missionaries work among them
*70,000 people die daily, unreached :(
*90% of intl students go unreached while in the U.S. (an interesting fact Chi Alpha ministries is working to remedy)
those are the depressing stats but amongst the depressing ones I found a fantabulous fact. 10,000 converts for Christ are reported yearly making CHINA the country with the most missionary converts. Great work guys!
I know my non-christian friends are wondering why I have bored them but I truly believe service is a virtue. Perhaps you have no interest in serving, or asking your children to serve for Christ. Well, there are so many ways to serve the less fortunate. I believe all children of any faith should be encouraged to give of themselves to the less fortunate. To serve is to gain. This builds appreciation and character, true perception of need vs. want. A young woman who has served to provide food to those experiencing hunger will never again take a meal for granted.
I want to say thank you so the many serving on the mission field today. You have all taken a leap of faith and given selflessly blessing the world with your service! I love you :)