Not long ago, I was talking to my boss (at my secular job) and I mentioned missionary work.
My boss looked at me, smiled, and said, “That’s what you want to be… when you grow up, right?”
I smiled and nodded and chuckled to my 62 year-old self.
Yes, LORD, here I am, send me.
My first mission trip was to the Dominican Republic in 2015. During the training for that experience, I asked some question of the missionary training the team that I absolutely cannot recall, but I do remember his answer, “Oh, this won’t be your last mission trip.”
He was more than right. That first mission trip changed me forever because the love of God reached down and touched my soul in its glorious, unimaginably infinite magnitude. I felt as if I had suddenly discovered why I existed.
I was so changed by that experience, I think I was back home for maybe 19 seconds before I googled, “How to become a missionary.”
The answer left me crestfallen, for every website I found said I had to become debt-free before I could be a missionary.
It made sense, as one could obviously not be living under flat rocks and eating bugs with the natives of deepest Oozambeckistan while mailing home a $947 house payment every month.
It was a tough answer because I was not born into a wealthy family. In addition, I made a long series of stupid decisions during my life that have resulted in negative financial consequences. In fact, as I look back on it now, I have been in debt for all of my adult life –ever since I signed a $700 loan for a 1970 Mustang at a shady loan business at 20 kajillion percent interest at almost the exact moment I was old enough to do so without my parent’s permission.
(Some years later, a judge would find that loan company guilty of illegally requiring people like me to buy credit life insurance to get their loan. Their punishment was a mandate to issue vouchers for free credit life insurance to the people it had wronged. They mailed me a stack of over twenty of those useless vouchers.)
But the LORD is faithful and just. At some point, someone told me “You cannot out-give God.” Since that first mission trip, I have increased my giving, increased my time spent with Him, and tried to seek first the Kingdom of God before all things. I have learned that a disciple is someone who simply follows Jesus and trusts in Him for all things. And you know what? God has blessed me beyond all measure. I am not rich by any means, and I am not totally free of debt at this point, but that advice you hear on Moneywise everyday at 1:30 on Kinship Radio is good advice and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
God is making a way!
So as I approach retirement age, it looks like(God willing) I may be able to be some kind of a missionary on that golden day when I finally do grow up which, ironically, appears that it will be the first day I receive a Social Security check.
Now, I do not know exactly what that mission will look like. Maybe I will travel the world talking to people about Jesus, sharing his love, and come back home to write about it in this blog. Or maybe I will share it on the radio. Maybe, through the miracle of modern technology, I can be part of a team that broadcasts directly to the listeners here in Kinship Radio land on how the Holy Spirit is moving in distant countries. (Beth Crosby and Tom Wetzell and I did exactly that a few years ago from a dining room table in Sabana Perdida, Dominican Republic.) Maybe Jesus will have me interviewing a woman on the street in downtown Amboy, Minnesota. I don’t know where the LORD will send me or where Jesus will ask me to follow Him, but I am willing and I know if it’s His plan, there is no stopping it.
Food for thought: In what area might you stretch your faith muscles in anticipation for the Lord’s future mission for you? Your time with Him? In your
giving? Ask Him and He will be faithful to show you.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
(The photo above is of a church in Dominican Republic which is near and dear to my heart. It’s named “La Capilla de la Victoria, which means, “The Chapel of the Victory.” Used by permission. More here: https://kinshipradio.org/home/2019/03/14/the-mega-church/ )