What Exactly Do Missionaries Do?
As I’ve shared with you in the past, I really had no previous experience with missionaries. I do not remember hearing from missionaries in church when I was growing up; none of my friends came from missionary families; when I was young, I never read books about missionaries.
To find myself titled as a missionary always seems like a coat 3 sizes too large… a title that doesn’t fit. And yet, folks call us missionaries and we technically meet the perceived definition. Hmmmm….
What exactly do missionaries do?
The push and pull of this answer has plagued us for almost 2 years now. Some folks think our answer is too humanitarian. Others, think our answer is too evangelical. We feel like we are situated right in the middle… We share the love of Christ through Word and deed. His Word. Our deeds that reflect the change He has made in us.
Alex is the full-time missionary and I’m his administrative assistant, full-time wife and mom and part-time missionary. Our ‘jobs’ are different from one another and also different each day.
Sometimes sharing the love of Christ means heading to the hospital at night to deliver sheets for an injured child; sometimes it means building a chicken coop for a needy family and almost cutting the end of a finger off; sometimes sharing Christ means teaching Sunday School and loving the fact that one of your students has decided he wants to be a pastor one day; sometimes sharing Christ means making peanut butter & jelly tortillas for the street kids that stand outside our door all day; sometimes it means sitting on pins and needles waiting for a call while a young lady from this area interviews for the education opportunity of a lifetime; sometimes sharing Christ means singing worship songs in whatever language pleases the child we are with; sometimes it means sitting and listening to a worried orphaned teen express doubts about how God will provide for her; sometimes sharing Christ means around the clock prayer for a Miskito child we love who will not make good choices and has placed himself in a dangerous situation…
For Alex, missionary work also includes repairing vehicles, helping evaluate and obtain pharmaceutical options for sick patients, strategizing with friends on how to garden in the rainy season, being a chauffer to gringos and sick Miskitos, cheering at a soccer game, encouraging boys to live lives that please God.
For me, much of my work happens in our house… missionary work for me, just like you, includes being a wife and mom first. After that, my mission includes opening my home to young women who do not have a mother figure in their life, keeping the financial and bookkeeping going on the Honduran end of Reach Out Honduras, preparing as many students as possible for school, handling the Honduran end of Reach Out Honduras sponsorship program, baking bread and cookies for gifts, welcoming orphans into our home for English class and so on. I’ve finally allowed myself the freedom to be a missionary at home, first with my family and then with those who God brings here. We are planning a computer lab in our home toward the end of the year and my home-based work will expand a bit more.
Our lives are not glamorous and everyday is not filled with excitement and adventure. We are often discouraged and desperate for God’s guidance. We have been very disappointed at times and at others, very hopeful.
More often than not, I believe that missionaries (at home and abroad) who follow Christ simply do just what He did and just what He directed. They love God with every ounce of their being, they give a coat (or, in our case, flip-flops), they turn the other cheek, they grow angry at apostasy, they share God’s Word whenever possible, they love their neighbor even when it means being uncomfortable. They do all of these things, not in their own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and with a tremendous grasp of the concept of God’s grace.
Just a few of my thoughts… opinion, of course.