Being Missions-Minded

Last night we had a missionary to the Philippines speak at our church. Now, this is nothing new. From birth, I have been in churches where Missions play an important role, and Missionaries often speak or host entire services. I have attended Mission Conferences and I have even been on a missions trip to Mexico. I’ve always enjoyed learning about missions, but last night, everything changed.

The missionary played an 8 minute presentation about his ministry – how he was saved, when he was called, and what he’s doing in the Philippines now, etc. Then, he preached a message. An incredibly powerful message that told us we should pray to God, praise God, and to preach the Word of God – even in difficult times. Really, a great message.

Then, he went on to tell us why he was in the States and what had happened since he arrived in the States a few days ago. He and his wife flew into Detroit, and they were treated like criminals. The authorities didn’t believe he was in the states to help raise funds for their mission, and instead of approving their Visa for 6 months, they were only given 7 weeks. They went from having half a year to raise $40,000 to just seven weeks. They need the money to purchase a building for their church, because the building they had been using was bought out by a man who wants nothing to do with the gospel and has kicked them out.

As he spoke, tears poured down my face. Then, a gentleman in our church stood up and pledged that he would give $100. Without thinking – or consulting my husband, I raised my hand that we would do the same. Hand after hand went up, until they got to $800. The missionary had been requesting that churches or individuals pledge $1,000 to help them reach their goal, and we were $200 short.

Time seemed to stand still. I wanted so badly for someone to pledge that last $200. The tears flowed harder, and at that moment, I wanted to pledge the last $200 – even though I knew we couldn’t realistically do it. The preacher requested that we take some of the extra money in our missions fund to help them reach $1,000. {I’m pretty sure that I heard my husband give a sigh of relief. He knew exactly what I had been thinking.}

I had forgotten the checkbook at home, so I grabbed Gene’s keys and flew out the door. I drove home, grabbed the checkbook, and then drove back to the church. While I was driving, for one moment, I felt that I would have given up all that I had to help that family. I would have sold all my worldly possessions for the hope that someone else might here the Gospel. In that one moment, I finally understood what “Missions” is all about.

I am so thankful for the way I grew up. I know it took 33 years, and moving across the country to finally “get it,” but I do get it. And now I want to be sure that my kids really get it. That they understand exactly  what missionaries do, and that it’s not easy. I also want to do a better job of supporting our missionaries.

Are you a missionary-minded family? What tools do you use to teach your children about missions? I’d love some ideas!