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A Living Witness

Serving on the Mission Field

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

“ ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-36, 40

Yesterday morning, my sister sent me a text message asking if I heard about what had occurred in Kenya. At the time, I had not. As I turned on the news and saw the report of the terrorist hostage situation and the 70 people killed and 175 injured during the mall attack, I couldn’t help but remember my first mission trip which was to Kenya.  And as I watched, I was once again reminded of the perils of international travel, especially if you are working as a missionary.  And yet, in a few weeks, I will be traveling to another place, Haiti, under heightened travel alert in the name of Christ. Why? Why do I travel to these places far from home to do ministry? Especially when ministry is needed in my own backyard?  Because I was called to be a witness for Christ, to not only take the gospel beyond my backyard, but to actually live out the Gospel for the least of these and those who hurt and hunger.

And the need for the Gospel is great.  People need to see and feel the depth of love that God has for us (John 3:16). Before God expanded my mission field across the waters, I started here in my own backyard. From soup kitchens to serving as a hospice volunteer to a mentor to serving as a volunteer with teen sexual abuse program, I have always tried to serve and volunteer my time becoming the hands and feet of Christ.  But Christ called me (personally) to go deeper and farther, which has changed me in ways I did not expect.  Yet I must ask you, where is your mission field?  When Christ told the Disciples that they would serve as a witness for Him in Jerusalem (in their backyard) and to the ends of the earth, He was not just speaking of those men. He was speaking of all of those who would live and serve Him.

Just because many may identify themselves as a Christian, do not think the mission field has disappeared.  The Gospel of Christ still needs to be shared and the work of Christ still needs to be done here at home and abroad.  So, I would encourage each of you to ask God how He might use you in the mission field.  We are surrounded by the least of these everywhere we care to look and although we are a nation of givers, there is still much more to be given. There is more to be given not just during times of crisis or disaster, but even in times of “peace”. People need to not only hear the Gospel; they need to see the Gospel.  In a nursing home, it’s needed.  In a prison, it’s needed.  In schools, it’s needed.  In shelters, it’s needed.  In domestic abuse programs, it’s needed.  In the sex trafficking industry, the light of the Gospel is needed.  Christians were called to be witnesses to who Christ is and what it means to follow Him.  We were also called to meet people’s needs and love them as though a part of the family of Christ, even if they reject Him.  So where has God called you to serve?

As I prepare for this next mission, I am grateful for what being a witness for Christ on a local and global scale has taught me.  It has taught me humility, but most important it has taught me to count it all joy.  In Kenya, it was standing outside of a small stone school house with no running water and an outhouse that I learned to see Christ on an entirely different level.  I saw Him in the smiling faces of children and orphans who had nothing, but had everything I sought to find: joy. Although I was there to teach the small children about Christ with our Vacation Bible School lessons and the much needed gifts we brought, they taught me infinitely more.  Serving others will always do that.

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