The problem with missionaries

Last year I was blessed to go on a mission trip to Harmons Jamaica with my local church and a group of 9 others. It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. That’s why this year whenever the opportunity presented itself to not only go on another mission trip but go back to the place where my heart was truly transformed, just a short year before, it was a no brainer for me. I leave in just under two weeks to go back and every day that we get closer to boarding that plane, the anticipation is growing inside me like a deep hunger that before last year, I never knew existed.

Before going on a mission trip last year, I have always wanted to do so and even started to join a group a time or two but never followed through for one reason or another. As the years have gone by I have looked at mission trips as a distant desire that maybe one day would be a reality for me, but I honestly didn’t see it happening and was growing more comfortable with the idea that it never would.

It wasn’t until last year when I started preparing to go to Harmons that I started to see how the world, not as a whole, but on a much larger scale than I realized, viewed mission trips overseas. I’ve read some articles that quite frankly missed the entire point altogether and really made missionaries look like bad people. Can you believe that? A person traveling to any location, whether it be local or in another country, to help others, is seen as a bad person. Totally blew my mind and flabbergasted me. Not only did I find articles on the matter, but the more I shared my upcoming journey with others that I know and love, I too found out that they felt the same way.

Why would you go to another country to help others and share your love for Jesus when there are plenty of people in your own back yard who need help and need to hear about Jesus?

I’m not going to support you going out of the country to “serve” God when you can do it in your own back yard, you can leave me out of it.

You need help raising funds to go on a mission trip to another country, well raise it yourself, you made a choice to go then you should make the money to support it.

I’m not going to lie. Hearing stuff like this come out of the mouths of people that care about you and that you care about most, hurts. Mostly because I feel that someone should know my heart and me as a person to know why I would want to go do something like this and even at the end of the day if they don’t entirely believe in it, support me simply out of love and their trust that if it is something I feel strongly about then nothing else should matter.

Here’s the thing. I think we should be missional in every area of our lives. In our homes, in our back yards, throughout our communities, across our country and overseas. I do not think there is a boundary, time or a place that it is not okay to be missional and ultimately further the kingdom of God. I fully believe in; if there is a need to be met and I can meet it, then I should. I would want the same done for me. I do want the same done for me. I pray that God uses me as His vessel every day and that I have the courage and heart to answer Him when He calls.

As I stated before, God has been tugging on my heart for years to go on missions and to do so overseas. I’ve pushed that away and ignored it for a long time simply because I did not think that I could. But last year, sitting in church that December morning when our pastor announced the trip to Harmons and the need for a team. The Holy Spirit told me, go. After the service was over, I looked at my husband and said, I am going, God told me to. He looked back at me and said, go for it, it’s about time…and I did.

The mission trip itself was a week long, eight days if you include traveling, Sunday to Sunday, a small blimp of my life in comparison to anything else. From the moment I signed up until the day that I boarded the plane for the first time was six months, equivalently 182 days. Day 1, the moment I put my name on that list and I said yes to the Holy Spirit, God started working in me in a way that I never knew was possible. Some days were more profound than others, some days were full of battles and attacks from Satan that would be enough to make any person run in the opposite direction. But on day 182, when I stood in that circle with my team praying before we left the church, and then for the next 7 days to follow, God was opening my heart to secrets that I never knew. I walked hand in hand with Jesus for 7 days with no distractions, basking in perfect love and that is something that I would never trade for the world (or anyone in it telling me that I should).

You go on a mission trip to help others and to share your love for God and His love for the world with anyone who is willing to listen if the moment presents itself. But what I have learned is that God did more for me, changed more in me, taught me more about my heart and who I am because of Him in that week and all the months leading up to it, than I ever thought was possible in my journey to “help someone else”. He taught me more about my life, my behaviors, the world we are living in and what I can do to make a difference in those short seven days than He or anyone else did on building houses or standing in a line handing out food.

I won’t pretend that going to Jamaica is filled with a week worth of saving souls and giving back to the poor through some great need that we can fill that would completely go unnoticed if we didn’t because it’s not. It’s filled with a week of building relationships with strangers and falling in love with them over a course of 7 days. It’s building two houses for said strangers while getting to know them and their family and their culture and their love for God. It’s taking a ton of donations with us to attempt to stock a store that caters to the community with normal items like clothes, shoes, and toiletries and barely making a dent in their needs, but doing the best we can with what we can and knowing that God is going to multiply in tenfold. It’s spending a day with the lost and forgotten in a place where the sick or homeless go to die, and putting a smile on their face by just simply loving them in the moment for who they are and everything that you have that is inside you. It’s leaving my home, my children, my job, and all my comforts to attempt to be a good steward for our Lord and allow Him to use me as a vessel in whatever way that He sees fit, and if at the end of the week I do not see an ounce of evidence of a job well done, I will still be satisfied in knowing that I am just a seed planter and God is the ultimate harvester and what seeds I plant for His good, He will grow. It may not manifest itself today, it may not manifest itself for ten more years, but it is all a part of His plan and I am just thankful to be used in it.

 

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Photo Creds: Tony

 

As I sat down this morning to do my morning devotional out of the book Jesus Calling He affirmed this for me.

Seek My face and you will find all that you have longed for. The deepest yearnings of your heart are for intimacy with Me. I know because I designed you to desire me. Do not feel guilty about taking the time to be still in My presence. You are simply responding to the tugs of divinity within you. I made you in My image and I hid heaven in your heart. Your yearning for Me is a form of homesickness. Longing for your true home in heaven. Do not be afraid to be different from other people. The path I have called you to travel is exquisitely right for you. The more closely you follow My leading the more fully I can develop your gifts. To follow Me whole heartedly you must relinquish your desire to please other people. However, your closeness to Me will bless others by enabling you to shine brightly in this dark world.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
—Psalm 42:1–2

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
—Psalm 34:5

So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.
—Philippians 2:15

My desire to be intimate with God is greater than anything in this world and if I can find that intimacy with Him in a week in Jamaica, you better believe I am going to take it!

Stay blessed,

Beautiful Southern Heart

23 thoughts on “The problem with missionaries

  1. This is perfectly said!! I agree, we should be missional in every aspect of our lives; however, God places different calls on each of our lives and all He wants is for us to say YES! We’ve been told the same thing- why go when there is so much need here. I presented this question to a foreign missionary and his answer was this: “For every need in the American church, there are at least 10 able people in the States that can fill it, while there is 1 (or none) overseas that is able or willing.” Regardless of the world’s opinion, we are supposed go wherever God tells us to go, at whatever cost. There is someone’s soul that depends on it! And I’m sorry, but if you’ve never left small town USA, you have no idea how the rest of the world lives and the struggles they face.
    I pray that your trip is just as amazing this year as last! Thank you for saying yes and going to love on God’s children all over the world! 💖🌍

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s the saying yes that is the scary part. It’s easy to flood our minds with a million reasons why we can’t or won’t, but God knows what He is doing and He wouldn’t call us to do something if He wasn’t going to meet every one of our needs along the way! I am learning to say yes more and boldly, which is transforming my relationship with the Lord in leaps and bounds!

      Gosh, I am so excited for you guys and the awesome trip you said yes too! I so look forward to seeing what God is going to do in all of your lives!

      Thank you, friend!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My daughter is on a year long, 11 country mission trip. She heard much of the same commentary, but OH, how the world has changed HER. She is broken for what breaks the heart of God and celebrates the opportunity to have witnessed what faith looks like when there is literally nothing else.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well said! You have described quite accurately how these mission trips (our efforts to go change the lives of others) change us more than anything else. To those naysayers who challenge us with “you should stay here in the US and do the same thing,” they are failing to realize that when we stay at home, then we have to keep doing all the “at home” chores, which eat up too much time and energy. When we go away for a period of time, we leave behind a great many of those chores and thus free up time to go help others. Any chores that still must be done get taken care of by people who for that short period of time are willing to step up and take on that work so that we are free to go. So to those who want you to stay (instead of go) and do that same type of intensive ministry, ask them if they would be willing to cook all your meals, take care of your kids, etc. so that you can be free to stay and minister. Ideally, yes, it would be nice to live such a simple life so that we could do such focused ministry here in our own backyard–and this is a goal I am striving for currently–but even still, as adventuresoftheburgo5 has said, we will still need to go somewhere not local simply because there are not enough laborers out there in the harvest field. Yes, pity the soul who has never left their little corner of the world (especially when it’s in the US/”Western world”), for their world is indeed extremely small.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment Raylene, I appreciate your view on the subject! I honestly had no idea what I was missing myself before I took the leap to go when I was called, and now I want to do this for the rest of my life, even on a much larger scale one day (with my family). Thanks girl!

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  4. “Hearing stuff like this come out of the mouths of people that care about you and that you care about most, hurts. Mostly because I feel that someone should know my heart and me as a person to know why I would want to go do something like this ‘ Preach girl! And keep coming back REGARDLESS of the comments. Jamaica needs people like you guys, especially now.

    — Bless

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think we drive through Kingston on the way to Harmons. I don’t think I have heard of the other two places. I am going to pay attention this next week when we go back and try to remember some more of the towns that we pass through or stop at 🙂 Yes, I tried to tell people we are so far up in the country that we don’t even get any sun because it is shaded 90% of the time! I love it though! My favorite thing is ALL of the fruit trees!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart! Any action taken toward change with love and God at the center seems to come under scrutiny. But hey, Jesus didn’t say, “Take up that froofy umbrella and come hang with me at the pool,” He said TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME! I’m so glad you heard and accepted that calling and that your husband is a supporter of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful post! For some time now I have had those same feelings about going to India. Just this last Sunday I felt them again as I listened to the message at church. I know my family would have a similar reaction to what you discussed. Yes, we should be missionaries in every area of our lives. But I do believe that the Holy Spirit does prompt some people also to go somewhere else to be a missionary. This post is yet another sign that overseas mission work is something I feel called to do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Thank you so much girl and I am ecstatic that God would use these words to speak to you! It can be a little tough here and there, but the outpour of encouragment from others always is greater than any nasayer! If you feel God telling you to go, don’t wait any longer! the first step is ALWAYS the hardest, but I promise you He will lead the way!

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  7. Beautiful testimony, Kristin. I’ve heard so many say that they were blessed so much more than they were able to bless while they were on missions trips. I’ve not done any outside the country, but I often here how it’s life changing. Thanks for sharing your heart so beautifully. Great to have you at the #ChasingCommunity linkup last week. I was out of town so I wasn’t able to stop by and say hello. Great to connect. Hope you’ll join us again. ((graces))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Brenda! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comment. I was nervous to talk about this subject in some ways, but feel so much better for sharing my heart on the matter! I love missions no matter what shape or form, but I have truly been blessed to be called over seas and I know God does mighty things in the work of all of those who go!

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  8. Two thirds of the word: GOD is GO while three fifths of the word: Satan is SAT. The first word of the Great Commission is Go. Their are Christians that serve God and help others and their are Christians that serve themselves and hurt others. I’m proud of you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. LOVE this! “We should be missional in every area of our lives.” Getting back to lifestyles of grace, lifestyles of love, lifestyles of interacting with our neighbors and family in ways that glorify God, getting back to lifestyles of discipleship. We need more mission-mindedness, whether foreign or domestic.

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