myMISSION Blog

Skype ‘Scape

You can meet a missionary! Get some friends to join you and learn about how missionaries do their work in answer to God’s call.

Putting a face on missions is an exciting experience that can help you understand how important your prayer and financial support are. Here are some tips for hosting a successful event featuring missionaries who serve in North America and overseas.

 

What Makes an Event Successful?

1. Begin early. Enlist someone to help you make arrangements to talk to missionaries via Skype. You’ll need to confirm the date, time, and questions you will be asking. Go to namb.net for information about contacting a North American missionary, or to imb.org for info about international missionaries.

2. Make technical arrangements. Ensure connections and monitor are available and sound is appropriate. The success of the event hinges on these arrangements!

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May I Rest?

May . . .

I love May . . .

Warm air, sunshine, flowers, birds, strawberries—even mangos—my local store has mangos! What’s not to love? We have a holiday in May. It’s the end of school. My daughter was born in May. I love May . . .

So why am I tired? I don’t know about you but for some reason, this year, I’m not finding that extra boost of energy and excitement. Everything is good; it’s actually great! My family is great. I am happy, healthy, loving my job, growing in a community, and having opportunities to be on mission. Hmm . . . maybe, this May, I just need a bit of rest.

When you lead something—a group, a family, a trip, anything—you can become tired. I hear it’s OK to be tired. Jesus was tired. He took time to sleep in a boat, walk in a garden, pray alone, go to weddings, talk with friends, and even rest at a well.

Bigger Than Me

In 1953, Dr. Wana Ann Fort arrived in Zimbabwe, where she and her husband became the first doctors at the primitive Sanyati Baptist Hospital. In addition to serving as a doctor, Wana Ann was a cook, Sunday School teacher, hospital correspondent, language student, and mother of five sons.

Life on the missions field was difficult to say the least. The Forts not only faced physical and environmental challenges but also encountered a culture deeply rooted in witchcraft. The more the Forts understood the people’s tribal religion, the more they desired to show them the light of Christ.

Wana Ann tells incredible stories about how God changed the lives of the people in Sanyati in her memoir, A Thousand Times, Yes. I love this book and encourage my friends to read it, especially those who are interested in medical missions.

One day I loaned the book to my friend Annie, who is studying to be a physician’s assistant. A few months later, she called me and said, “Rachel, you’re not going to believe this!”

Breaking the Selfish Cycle

I am a selfish person.

I want things to happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen.

And, if I may be so bold, you are a selfish person, too.

“Looking out for number one” is more than just a cultural phenomenon. Selfishness is rooted deeply in our fallen, sinful nature.

Even as a follower of Christ, I exhibit self-centered tendencies daily.

I struggle with this “Selfish Cycle”:

  1. I act selfishly.
  2. I realize I have been selfish and regret it.
  3. I put myself down for being selfish.
  4. I try to make up for being selfish by doing something good.
  5. I am proud of myself for the good things I have done.
  6. I realize that I am being prideful.
  7. Repeat from step 2.

Sound familiar?

The Source of Selfless Joy

Until recently, my one-year-old still woke overnight to eat. Every night since his birth, he would wake around midnight to 2 a.m. for this purpose. For the first six months of his life, I was his only source of nutrition, so I was burning the midnight oil with him every night. After I returned to work, we transitioned to a bottle, which meant freedom—my husband could now share in the midnight feedings. For weeks, I would feign sleep or ask my husband to take the night shift because, after all, I’d woken with him exclusively for six months. It was about time he shared the responsibility.

Weeks turned into months, however, and my husband was regularly exhausted from night shift duty. I could see his exhaustion, yet I still let him get up for the majority of night feedings each week. I allowed my desire for sleep to deprive my husband of much-needed rest. I acted like my husband owed me for all of those sleepless nights I endured, and I didn’t care enough about my husband’s needs to share the burden. I was being selfish.

I’m Selfish

Have you ever had one of those really busy days? When everything you do seems to be overlapping with the next and you can’t seem to finish anything well?

Or, maybe you are like me lately, and this has been a season you are in. I feel like over the past few months I have grown to become queen of the to-do list.

My days, give or take a few changing variables, look like me groggily waking up to my alarm, rushing out the door to my 9–6 job, filling my breaks and lunches with an errand, then going straight from work to my next activity. Most of my evenings I have planned. Whether it’s small group, church volunteering, homework, or time with my husband.

None of these things on my list are bad. But over the last year, I have formed a cadence to my life.

My schedule, my time, my to-do list, and my rushing around, all of the sudden, has become a lot about me.

Missional Perseverance

As the communications specialist for Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, I hear a lot of churchy buzzwords every day I’m in the office: missional, sacrificial, authentic, discipleship.

Sometimes in my work environment, it is hard to remember what those words really mean. I can show you hundreds of examples of Christians who are living missionally, but I struggle to live missionally myself.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am surrounded by Christians. I have to be very intentional about interacting with people outside my normal circle in order share my faith. For an introvert like me, that is a real challenge.

Chances are that your struggle is very different from mine. Living a missional lifestyle is usually not the most popular choice. It is not an easy lifestyle in any environment.

James 1:2­­–3 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

The Not-So-Easy Commission

When Jesus left his disciples with the Great Commission, nowhere in his verbiage did he say or did he even hint what he was asking them to do would be easy.

Jesus knew the sins of humankind. He knew that sharing the gospel would lead to discrimination, imprisonment, and death for these bold few He called.

Of course he knew. He had just experienced a tortuous death of his flesh.

The call to share the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth will always take sacrifice. It is not a call where we can sit within our comforts and delights and be effective in reaching out. Oftentimes in our lives, when God calls us to be bold and share His love, it comes at a cost.

Changing routines. Moving communities. Giving up money. Giving of our time. And for some, moving to distant lands.

We must begin loosening our grip on our time, finances, and family, in order to allow space for the kingdom at work to move.

Babies and Bible Stories

It’s 7:30 p.m. The sun is quickly fading in the western sky. The day is drawing to a close. It’s been a long day. There have been so many tears. One child has an ear infection and the other has strep throat. It’s a busy time at work; the annual fund-raiser is just around the corner and your community has been hit hard economically, so giving is down.

After a long day, it’s tempting to rush bedtime. You’ve been counting down the minutes because a warm bath and a few moments of quiet solace would nurture your weary soul. As you're pushing your child toward bed, she turns to look at you and says, “But Mama, we have to read a Bible story first.”

You think, "Not tonight. I just want a few moments of 'me' time." Yet, as you look in her eyes, and though you know that part of her is just trying to avoid bedtime, you smile and reply, “Oh yes, dear. Let’s read a Bible story. Thank you for remembering that.” And as she curls up in your lap and tells you all about the big fish and how dark it is inside its belly, you’re reminded of God’s great love for His children and His unfailing patience.

When It’s Easier to Give Up

I can think of many situations where I’ve wanted to give up. They vary from finishing a paper to working out at the gym, or even trying to mend a relationship.

When things become tougher than we originally expected, it can be tempting to quit. However, God often uses these moments to teach us an aspect of the fruit of His Spirit: patience.

Aren’t you glad God doesn’t give up on us? Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

I wrote this verse on a sticky note and put it on the front of my study Bible, where it stayed for nearly two years. Every time I opened that Bible, the verse reminded me that I was a work in progress. The Holy Spirit is my teacher, and He will never give up on me.

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