April 20, 2010

Why I Want To Be a Missionary

I've been trying to think of what I would answer if someone were to ask, "Why are you doing this? Why do have to leave? Why not just stay here?". No one has asked that yet, but let me just answer that in case anyone is thinking it.

Since I've recently entered the blogosphere, I've been reading a few of the blogs out there. I've mentioned KissesFromKatie before, so last night I was reading her archived posts and came across one of my reasons. She basically put it into words for me. This, by the way, is just one of the many, MANY reasons "I want to be a missionary" (such a cliché phrase, but unpacking that phrase is a whole entire post unto itself, which I will leave to a later date). Katie, 21 year-old missionary in Uganda, writes:

"Angelina is seven years old and barely weighs 15 pounds. You remember that picture that was made popular in the 1980's during the famine in Ethiopia of that little girl (who looked like a bag of bones) curled up next to a vulture? That girl doesn't look nearly as sick as Angelina. Her mother has not had any food to give her in over four months. When Angelina musters enough energy to let out a cry of hunger (she is far to weak to walk or even hold her head up on her own), her mother gives her some locally brewed alcohol to keep her quiet. For four months, keeping her a little drunk has actually probably been what is keeping her alive. The dirt floor where she has been laying her whole life accumulating bedsores is covered in waste, animal and human. Jiggers burrow deep into her little feet causing them to crack and bleed. She is naked, filthy, and cold. It is far worse than appalling.

I bet right now at this moment your heart is sad for her. Is it as sad as it would be if Angelina were your daughter? Angelina is God's daughter. His heart aches for this perfect, wonderfully made child of His. Her circumstances do not surprise Him, but I have no doubt that they grieve Him tremendously.

And it's not just children, because we are all children in His eyes. Grace is maybe 60 years old but looks to be pushing 100. She can't weigh more than 85 pounds. Grace is a mother to six children, but 4 have died of AIDS and the other two have deserted her for a better life. She lives in a 4 by 4 foot room that is pitch black, but she doesn't mind; in addition to being to weak to walk, Grace is blind. She NEVER has any visitors. At night her bones ache against the hard dirt floor and her feeble body shivers with cold. A cough racks her body and her stomach rumbles in hunger making sleep impossible.

Its sad, huh? How sad though? Sad enough that we want to do sometime about it? Sad enough that we will remember Grace tonight as we snuggle down into our beds or next month as we pay the bills? Maybe. But maybe not. Because it hurts, but it doesn't hurt that much. It doesn't hurt the way it would if Grace was your grandmother all alone there in the dark. It does for God. Because Grace is His."

Big A when he weighed 15 pounds, at 3 months old

Sigh. Tony and I prayed for that little girl last night, but she may already be dead by now. Maybe she's not. Maybe there is a happy ending to her story, we'd love that to be the case. But whether there is or isn't, knowing about stories like hers, having the opportunity to go and make a difference somewhere, and NOT going is just not an option anymore for us. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17. I can't stand before God someday and say, "Oh, but God, I didn't know!"

It just makes me sick to my stomach to think about that little girl, and the fact that I still live HERE. It makes me sick to my stomach that I have an extra 5 pounds around my waist and I whine about it as she withers away to nothing.

So really, the question is not, "Why go?", but, "Why not go?".


Christy said...

What is so hard is that it hurts so bad to read stories and see these pictures but you feel absolutely helpless against such an enormous giant. Where do you even begin to help? Will my one little drop in the giant ocean really make that much difference? Of course I know the right answer to that question but I think that the enormity of the situation can paralyze us. Sure there can be apathy but for me helplessness more easily takes over.

Chris said...

I know, it IS overwhelming. Living here in the States, especially when you don't have much to give, we feel very helpless, too. We are surrounded by luxury and don't see any need. I don't. Everyone is better off than us! Going there you do, and you can just reach out your hand. Seeing need changes your heart, it shakes you up and wakes us up out of our comfortable stupor into action... to be Jesus' hands and feet. I think I've just come to the realization that I am not God, I can not do it all, but if I help one, or 2, or 10, it will make a difference to THEM. It does make a difference, and pleases God. idk, Christy, no easy answers indeed, but something we CAN do, something...

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