Monday, 03 December 2012
Did you hear crickets chirping around here? It's probably because I was gone for a while to the beautiful country of Haiti. And now that I've returned, I have to pick up where I left off. This is a feat that is significantly more challenging than the act of going to a developing nation like Haiti. For me, at least, it is easier to go and live a life of service in Haiti than it is to come back and return to "normalcy," but I'm starting to understand how I can have a bit of both.
The most wonderful thing about Haiti isn't the gorgeous countryside -- though it is picturesque -- it's the hearts of the people there. I'm so blessed that I get the opportunity each year to serve these people, whose faith in God and love of each other puts my walk with God to shame. It's hard at first to walk into this community, one that faces economic and spiritual challenges, and wonder what I can possibly offer them. But, over the course of a week, I get the chance to build relationships with them, to talk to them about what struggles we have in common, to encourage them as they work to improve the transportation and electricity situation in their community, to worship with them and pray over them as we work together, and to hug their beautiful children and give them an afternoon of joy and fun.
But when it's all over, I come home. I come home to the room I left in an absolute wreck as I tried to finish my last-minute packing. I come home to the dishes I forgot to clean -- and the dirty looks from my roommate when she points them out to me. I come home to my job, one that I like alright but that I wouldn't want to do forever. I come home to my loneliness and my impatient wait for God to provide a husband and family -- my greatest desire. I come home to all of this, and I long so badly to go back to Haiti, where I live a life of complete service, relying wholly on God and in constant prayer over the people I am serving.
This is the lesson I must learn, and I hope I can teach it to you as well: our God is a missionary God. Our Lord is a missionary Lord. If our greatest commandment is to love one another, and our great commission is to go and make disciples, then surely our God is a missionary God. But sometimes the mission field is no farther away than our roommate's bedroom. Or our stressful workplace. Or the neighbor who insists his property line is on our property. Or the woman at church who drives you insane. Or the ex-boyfriend who won't go away. You don't have to go to Haiti, Kenya, Nicaragua or any other developing country to find the mission field; it's right here.
With that in mind, I can take comfort in the fact that there is no such thing as returning to "normalcy" -- I never left it. My whole life I have lived on the front lines of the mission field, regardless of where I served. And so today, I look forward to another day of serving God's people and His church across the globe by going to work at the coffee shop, making drinks, cleaning machines, scrubbing floors and building relationships with the people around me. And wherever you go today, remember that you are doing the Lord's work, even when you don't think you are. Our lives are missionary lives because we serve a missionary God who calls us to go and to make disciples, but we don't have to go very far to do the work.
Where is the mission field in your life? Where do you face the front lines of what God is doing in your community? How can you build relationships on your own personal mission field, and what can you do through those relationships to serve God's people?