What does it mean to you? Webster says it's "a ministry commissioned by a religious organization to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work." That's true. We should be His witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. But it's more than that for me. I can remember being in college and getting involved with the collegiate ministry there. We did Bible Study, went on retreat, pretty typical things I think. But then they started talking about who was going to be a summer missionary. All I heard was travel opportunity so I signed up for a weekend retreat and interview. That retreat was the first time God grabbed my heart and said, "Go and do for me." But he grabbed it so tight and it has never left me. I did get to serve that summer in Naperville, Illinois. At the time I thought I might want to go into the ministry and be a youth pastor so they sent me off to Naperville to assist a youth pastor for a summer. Good thing that was a long time ago and I was only 19!! It was awesome and God taught me so much.
Unfortunately, I returned to school and real life that fall and ended up dropping out of college and going to work full time. Within a couple years I got married and moved out of state with my military hubby. I drifted from the Lord during this time and did not even attend church until our children started coming. By that time, we were back in my home town and we plugged in at the church where we are still members today.
Jesus has grabbed my heart in so many ways over the years on lots of different topics, all to draw me close to Him. And I'm so thankful that He will never let me go. But nothing has ever grabbed my heart so tightly as missions. I want to go and do. I always have. I am now 37 years old with a husband and four children. How in the world is it feasible for me to go on a mission trip, much less actually afford it? But God still grips my heart every time I hear a missionary speak. Have I missed my call? Having never known what I want to be when I grow up, maybe I often wonder. But I know God gave me my husband and children. I do not doubt that. I just continue to wonder why He gripped my heart for missions.
I do what I can now. I am part of a Sunday School class that is very missions minded. We do our best to not only give money or needed items, but to also go and do work when we can. I support my church financially who in turn supports missionaries so they don't have to gather their own financial support. And my new venture is with Compassion International. I have been aware of Compassion for a few years through my Sunday School class. We adopted a child together and later added a second. Just recently God has called me to step up and my family has adopted our own child. His name is Shanthi and he is from India. Compassion's most recent blogger trip was to India last week and it has been the most amazing experience. As I have read about India and mud hut villages and gondolas and rickshaws, I have glimpsed Shanthi and his home. Most of the posts from the trip members have brought tears to my eyes and have given me a heavy burden for Shanthi.
But I also have a heavy burden to promote Compassion. It’s all my Sunday School members have heard for several weeks. That’s in thanks to these bloggers. I do not have a large following in my blog but I hope to use it to promote Compassion as well. And hopefully one day, I’ll be able to make one of these Compassion trips. I pray that God will allow me this kind of opportunity to serve Him. I know it would change my life and there’s nothing I want more than to be changed to be more like Him. That's what missions is to me: an avenue that will only refine me more for my precious Lord.