“I’m afraid Jesus is going to call me to leave everything and become a missionary.”

I’ve heard this common phrase among Christians for most of my life. I remember missionaries visiting the churches I attended with my parents during my growing up years. They were from exotic places like Katmandu, Cairo, Dhaka or Algiers. They were nine feet tall, spoke thirteen languages and were so incredible skilled at missionary life they could construct a dwelling place with string and a paper clip. In that abode, they memorized the bible, cooked meals from scorpions or bugs, taught VBS and lead people to believe Jesus Christ as their savior with their whole heart. That’s my recollection of what I knew about missionaries or missionary life until I came to Wheatland.

I’ve travelled to several of our long term mission partners since being appointed to Wheatland in 2013. Bill and I traveled to Jordan to learn more about our efforts with meeting the needs of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. My hunches were confirmed about Christianity in the Muslim world. I learned what a MBB was and how people who follow the rules of cultural Islam can be misunderstood. I discovered many believers in Jesus underneath head coverings both in the Muslim world and in the Jewish world. But, those friends would never tell people about their faith in Jesus publicly.

Bill and I traveled to India with a Wheatland team. We all participated in leading an International Leadership Institute National Conference in Nellore while we simultaneously led a Women’s Conference, Youth Conference, Children’s Conference and Pastor’s Conference. We drove from the coastal city of Nellore through the central part of India to Hyderabad. I became fascinated with the sheer number of people who live in India. I was astounded by their concept of personal space. I saw things on a motor scooter that would shock and amaze you. My personal favorite was a goat wedged between two men. Bill’s favorite was two men balancing four full-sized tires on a moped. We witnessed how our Soy Milk ministry changes the lives of children. I attended the graduation ceremony of a Women’s Sewing School where a woman who could not read or write learned to do so because she saw a way to learn a trade and provide for herself and her children.

I travelled to Tanzania with a a larger Wheatland team. I had the privilege of meeting Mwenge Muyombi during his previous visit to the US. So, I knew the caliber of person we would be dealing with while in Tanzania. He did not disappoint. Neither did Africa. The ministry in Kigoma is supernatural. Widows, orphans and the elderly are cared for and Radio Joy transmits Christian music, programming and world news to almost 2 million people. Wheatland provided much of the financial resources necessary to build a community center that is truly used as a common place for Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths and beliefs.

I know our mission partner in Poland personally. He visits our home and we eat dinner together at least once a year. He is compelled by the gospel to teach leadership essentials to the next generation in Europe. He is also a unique believer, in that, he is Wesleyan in a predominantly Catholic culture. He leads a church that has needed a home for years. Many young leaders look to him for more than guidance. I consider him a spiritual father much like Dietrich Bonhoeffer was to so many of his disciples.

None of our missionaries are nine feet tall. Some speak many languages. I know for sure that none of them would ever build a dwelling place with string or a paper clip. As a matter of fact, our mission partners are regular people who love Jesus Christ and the people the serve. They struggle with personal issues with an ever-increasing faith. They overcome incredible obstacles and some live in fear of their lives. We will have the privilege of hearing from one of our missionary couples this Faith Promise season who continue to work in spite of excruciating personal tragedy. You may know of one missionary’s story of being attacked by a man with a machete in his car and lived to tell without a scratch on his body.

I was inspired by the scripture from Hebrews 6:1.Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God. Wheatland has heard from many of our partners doing outstanding work for the Kingdom of God. I believe it’s time to move beyond the elementary stage of learning about the far off places through videos, pictures and visits from those who serve in the field. I believe God is calling us to go beyond. I am praying you get a Holy Spirit infusion that wakes you up in the middle of the night with your heart breaking for people whom Jesus loves in some distant land in a far away place. I am praying for your life to change drastically and that you alter your life in such a way that a missionary would want to come learn from you how you meet the needs of those you’ve been called to serve. I am praying for God to challenge us all to go BEYOND.

See you Sunday,
Pastor Jen