Monday, May 4, 2009

Remembering

Periodically, our church does these initiatives called 28-Day Experiments. A small booklet of 28 brief, devotional-like readings is published, and families within the church can read through the booklet in their homes. For 28 days. All together. They're pretty neat. Each one that has been produced takes a different focus. Currently, we are doing a 28-Day Experiment entitled "Catalyst - Becoming Agents of World Change." We're one week into it, and this particular one is excellent. Much of its focus is on our own church's missionaries who are serving in various places, but it contains daily snippets of truth about God's design for our personal involvement in supporting these fellow believers and church members serving elsewhere. But it's far from typical.

I mostly grew up in churches that I thought were mission-oriented. But I'm hearing things now about supporting missions that I've never heard in my life. Things beyond the "Pray, Send, Go" options we've heard about. I'm being taught new truths about cultivating a heart for missions that reflects Jesus' own heart. And to be quite honest, I never really paid much attention to that idea before. Supporting missions seemed like an "extra" in the Christian journey. Periodically there would opportunities to do something along the lines of supporting missions, but when I happened upon them, they always seemed to fall into one of the following categories: praying for missionaries, supporting them financially, or taking an occasional trip to provide physical help. I never really looked at the whole issue in a comprehensive way. I never sought out what Jesus' heart for supporting missions looks like and ALL the ways it could be developed in my own heart. That has been changing throughout the last several years. Despite being a slow learner on this stuff, I am grateful to be in process.

One of last week's readings, written by our global outreach pastor, Steve Rumph, really convicted me, and I'd love to share it here:

"I'm still impacted by a Grace Community missionary's answer to the question I posed to her in 2002, 'What's your greatest concern about heading out into the field?'

Her response was not at all what I expected. I expected something like, language problems, health issues, financial support, or dangers for children.

What Serina Hollowell said with genuine emotion was, 'We are afraid you will forget us!'

The first missionary also mentions how important it is to be remembered as he wrote: 'Timothy has come to us from you...and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you.' (1 Thess 3:6).

Could it be that what comforted the Apostle Paul 2,000 years ago, and Serina Hollowell today, should be of real importance to us?"

I had completely missed this concept in Scripture. Now I remember reading these sentiments from Paul, but it never connected with me how important it is that I remember to remember those who have left here to go where they are. Doing so is another way I can become more like Jesus. It's biblical! How hard is remembering? It should be easy. But I get distracted. I get caught up in my own little world and forget about others' circumstances. Later that same day I read this, my sister-in-law randomly mentioned to me something about almost deleting an email newsletter she received from a girl she knew a long time ago who was serving as a missionary in a country overseas. She was about to trash it without reading it when she suddenly was stopped by the thought that she was put on that newsletter distribution for a reason and was meant to read it. She was telling me this because she was sharing how blessed she was by reading this girl's testimony. In some way, it filled her up that day and pointed her more towards Christ. I got chills from experiencing further conviction from the Lord on this topic. Two nudges from the Lord, on the very same day, through two different sources. Hmm...

As Joel and I attended a missionary support team meeting last night for a couple in our community group who is leaving this week to head back to Africa after a 6-month respite in the States, I was reminded of the timeliness of God's nudges. When He speaks, it's for a reason. And when He instructs, there are always opportunities to obey. I want to remember to remember people and their needs. There's so much I have to learn.

3 comments:

Marci said...

I just heard a missionary saying this same thing about "the fear of being forgotton". I never thought of it either until then.

Meaghan said...

as a person heading out on the mission field (even if it is colorado ;-)) thank you for your post and your heart for taking God's word to judea, samaria, and the ends of the earth! xoxo

Meaghan said...

girl, i most def did not recover that chair myself ;-)