What if following Jesus meant having less people read your blog and less people follow you on Twitter. People defriending you on Facebook and real-life not just social media friends taking offense to you and going about their own life? What if, for a moment, it wasn’t trendy to move to Africa, or get a tattoo of something spiritual, to have a fish bumper sticker and wear a cross on a silver chain around your neck, things I myself am all too familiar with. What if you were persecuted and scoffed and considered less intelligent for believing these things. Worse-what if you were surrounded by people who called themselves “friends” but struggle with addiction, selfishness, and only wanted to think about this moment, what would they say to your living for eternity? What if it was SCARY to look down the road at your life and to consider selling all your things, leaving your family behind, and going somewhere where Jesus was the only thing you were promised? For a lot of people here, the adversity within their own communities, families, and friends to live an abundant life is surprising. More surprising than gives me time to feel sorry for a gross American culture with billboards, magazines, radio, television and internet that can sway anyone. Everyone is fighting the same battle. But THAT is what it looks like. Because it is not taken lightly and not taken as a blending in of a social Bible belt. It’s your life. It’s His life.
The word missions should be gone. I can’t wrap my mind around the word missions. Since I’ve been here, my days have largely included teaching, cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, cooking more, reading stories, babysitting, playing, and more cleaning. Loving. It’s not missions, it’s just life. It’s just people no matter where they are, no matter what socio-economic status, no matter what country, what language, what home or lacktherof, need to be loved. Some would consider it a mission trip, but the realization I had that missions includes the abandoned and abused children in my hometown/collegetown, or the alcoholics, and the hungry and the jobless, they too need love. Just the same as the people of Masese or Buziika, or surrounding territories and villages, or the street children of Jinja.
After all, missions is just the sending and commissioning people to do some form of humanitarian aid for a religious organization. Aren’t we all sent by the Great Comissioner?
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And I am teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always until the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19&20
Guess what the best part is–The nation in your back yard has a need of disciples too. It’s something I’m just learning, it’s something I can’t wait to take home with me. The more I think about the word mission, I question aren’t we all on a mission? Don’t we all have a task set before us? And though it may be wildly unpopular, are we not called to it all the same?
I think about Peter, how at first he dropped everything, the fishing nets he was holding, everything he was doing and stopped to follow Jesus. His struggle with denying and rejecting Jesus, and then his return to his fishing nets. How we do this on a daily, hourly basis. We deny our Saviour and return to our ways. But there is grace. There is an abundance of fish in the fishing nets. Jesus worked in him even though he walked away. He proved His grace when He didn’t have to. He relentlessly pursued Peter. We don’t have to be ready, He just asks that we come, now. That we are willing and that our hands are open to receive His plans. Here again He takes us in our mess. Whether we return to our fishing nets or not is no concern of His, even this He will use for His good. He will find us time again.
Life here looks similar to my life at home. Add in a few, a lot of, cultural differences, but the day to day tasks are the same. Missions is just walking out God’s plan for your life, and something I hope I’m doing. I hope that going home I continue to walk out that same plan in Nashville.
I’ve reached the halfway point and I’m already sad about it. Rainstorms on a boda. Late night drives. Finding oreos in a supermarket. A strawberry birthday cake for a special one’s birthday. 3 way translations. Learning about lots of antibiotics and more about patient care and how to love people than I ever considered. Baking treats. Embracing potholes. The 12 suspected mice that live in my drawer. Killing a rat with an egg whisk. Rice and beans. Succotash attempts. Muddy sweatpants. Mafia with great friends. Rainy sunday afternoons. A baby drinking more milk everyday! Painted toenails. Teaching a little one the word “hug.” Sad goodbyes. Bible study under a mango tree. Visits with friends from home. Phone calls from home. Pools in big plastic containers in the back yard. Sunsets after the rain, the air cleansed and the dirt suppressed. Sticky buns and spagetti. Dixie Chicks. $1 Movies. Baking, baking, baking. Abcesses, burns, bacterial infections. Plumpy nut. Icing. Walking to the Duuka with little kids fighting over holding your hand. Getting stuck in the rain. Raindrops falling on tin roofs. Kids that smile more every day. Hard boiled eggs. The arrival of new friends! Hard news from home. God’s perfect love.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7