February 22, 2010

Missions Organizations

Some of you are probably wondering if we're going to go with a missions organization.

I used to think that that's the only way to go. I don't know where I got that idea, but that's what I thought. In my research, many missions organizations require college degrees, seminary, and/or special training of some sort. Not to mention other major and minor "requirements". Although I understand where they are coming from, it "disqualifies" so many well-intentioned Christians from ever doing anything for the Lord abroad. Or at least that's what they'll come away believing. It also "disqualifies" us from ever being able to work with certain organizations.

At some point I realized that, if we were to go some day to an overseas mission field, it might not be with an organization. I let that dream die a slow, pitiful death, and actually mourned that loss for years. What would we do? I guess I was wrong, maybe we're not called. Tony did not go to college, and neither one of us have gone to seminary. We have no special training that we could put on a resumé to make us look really good. We're just ordinary people who happen to love Jesus and want to live for Him. That's all. Sigh. I guess we're not qualified either.

Peter was a lowly fisherman. Probably didn't even finish high school, the poor guy. There were tax collectors, women, soldiers, somebodies and nobodies who all followed Christ and helped to spread the Good News 2000 years ago. Yes, Paul was highly educated and well-trained... but that was Paul.

But back to missions organizations... our situation is unique in that Tony and I are already fluent in the language. We don't need to spend six months and a lot of money on language school. We don't need special visas to get into the country, we're already citizens/residents (Tony and Big A by birth, the rest of us by association). We don't need special training on how to get around, how to bridge the culture gap, how to pay the bills, or prepare the food, or really anything. God himself did a pretty good job already preparing us.

Cameron Townsend, founder Wycliffe Bible Translators

I remember wanting to go on a mission trip to a South American country once and tried to jump in on the action a little too late. I didn't end up going, but I was shocked to find out how much it cost the people who did go. We could have sent our whole family for a month on what each individual paid to go! The $1500 ticket we could have easily found for a third of the price.  And I guess that's why organizations are needed, most Americans don't know their way around the system or how to get things done the right and best way abroad, so they need that help.

We are 38 and 41 years old. We don't want to spend any more time "getting ready" or waiting until we are "prepared enough", whenever that is. It reminds me of parenting. If you wait until you are "ready" or "have enough money", you'll never have kids. The truth is, who is ever ready? and who ever has enough money?

If you want to be inspired, read a few great missionary biographies. Cameron Townsend, Gladys Aylward, George Muller, to name just a few. You'd be surprised to find out that Gladys Aylward flunked out of Bible school. Cameron Townsend, who founded Wycliffe Bible Translators, found himself in Central America at a very young age as a missionary, only to realize he had NEVER ONCE SHARED THE GOSPEL WITH ANOTHER LIVING SOUL. George Muller had faith he said was nothing special. We all have access to the same kind of faith.

Interesting how God still used a failure, a young unprepared nobody, and just some ordinary guy... Read it for yourself! :)

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