We prayed and prayed and prayed some more before leaving for Guatemala. Each step of the way we never received a clear yes or no. But, we felt like we should go. When it came time to pay for tickets, we still had no definitive answer, so we moved forward as if it were a yes and made the payment. We prepared, packed, and paid the balance due.
God’s calling or not…we went.
I wanted to take all the kids home. They’re cute…full of smiles…and I love children. But, particularly in the remote village we crossed four rivers to reach, the kids seemed happy…despite their poverty. In many ways, they seemed better off than kids in America.
Mostly, I saw the unfortunate side effects of America spilling into an impoverished country. I saw Guatemalans with dirt floors, flies, no food, hardly anything to their name…yet a television stood on a dresser. I saw people standing on street corners with a cell phone in their hand. I saw children who didn’t care about receiving candy because it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than nourishing food. Coke is easier to come by than water.
God reveals different things to different people, depending on where He calls them. Others might’ve seen exactly what I saw and received an entirely different message. And they did. I believe God gives people a heart for Guatemala, Ethiopia, and places where He wants them to be. He reveals the needs. They’re easy to find. Missionaries are needed everywhere. But Guatemala wasn’t my calling.
On one of the last nights, while my daughter and I were doing devotions, we read the following verses:
“And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel—not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.” – Ezekiel 3:4-7
This spoke to me. God doesn’t send everyone to the ends of the earth. He doesn’t send everyone to places where they don’t speak the language. Those people tend to be more receptive to the message! No. He wants me home. He wants me to share His message with people right here. I live in a mission field. I’m not here by accident.
Our ministry is in Children’s Church where we build relationships with kids and are an ongoing presence in their lives…available should they need us. It’s in our community where even the poor are truly rich and the gospel is desperately needed. Afterall…
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14
My mission is at home. In my backyard. Why God sent us all the way to Guatemala to assure us His plan for us was at home all along, I’m not sure. But I’m grateful for the certainty.
Does this mean I’ll never go on another mission trip to Guatemala or anywhere else? Certainly not. If something nudges me to consider it, I’ll pray. God might only want us here for a time. It could change. I appreciate knowing that what I do right here matters. But I hope I’d be willing to go wherever He leads me.
I pray you will seek God’s will for your life. I pray you’re willing to go wherever He calls you…even if His ultimate plan is somewhere else entirely.
You are loved,
J F Rogers