Me, a short-term missionary? During the church service announcements, my pastor asked if those in the congregation, who were interested in serving on a two-week mission trip that summer, would speak with him after church. I have to admit I was a little taken aback. Was I interested…after so many years? So much time had passed. Don’t get me wrong, I was intrigued and a little excited about the possibility. But I was asking, or maybe — I hate to admit this — questioning the Lord. Now, You are asking, Lord?
A long time ago, on a very distant high school yearbook page, under my graduation picture, it was written that my future aspiration was to become a missionary. I do not, to this day, know when or from where this aspiration had come. But it must have been from the Holy Spirit somewhere deep within me. Years had now passed and I was content to know we all have our own “mission fields” that surround us. Until that Sunday, my mission field was my life filled with serving the Lord in church, LWML, marriage, children, grandchildren, friends, community, and a vocation of teaching adults with disabilities.
Now, my pastor’s question had me asking: wasn’t being a missionary to another culture, a door that was never opened long ago, a thing of the past? It was a path that was not chosen for me by the Lord — or was it? I kept coming back to the Scripture, …for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). Had the years of sharing my faith with my “personal mission field” been in preparation for another, albeit different, opportunity to serve our Lord? Had the Lord previously not shut the door? Had His response been to wait for His time?
Yes, I told my pastor. I was interested in learning more about this short-term mission trip. I learned the LCMS had many opportunities to serve in short-term ministries both in the United States and abroad each year. They varied in length and location depending upon the need. Pastor and I volunteered to serve on a team of six people that would teach in an English-speaking Bible camp serving children in Poland. It was an outreach mission! I didn’t even need to speak a different language.
The Bible camp’s focus was to share God’s love with the children. It was very similar to teaching in a week-long, all-day vacation Bible school in the United States. Our mission team was one of nine different teams sent to Poland that summer. We prepared all our lessons before we left and brought along all our materials. Our plane landed in Warsaw, Poland, and we were met by a few career LCMS missionaries in the region. They generously trained the teams in the Polish language, culture, and Polish church history.
When we arrived at the church, where the Bible camp would take place, we were warmly greeted and we quickly made friends. We served 40 children from the surrounding area of that Polish church. As camp began, each of our group leaders/teachers had an adult who interpreted for the children and us. The children were in varying stages of learning the English language and they welcomed practicing their English. There was such joy in learning about Jesus. We return to these friends each summer, when we are able, as we volunteer to be on a team to teach in this Bible camp. Many emails and social media posts shorten the distance between us and our young Christian friends while we are apart. We have made life-long friends with these children.
Short-Term Missionary Me? Yes! Tak (yes in Polish)
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
Who is in your personal mission field?
Have you heard a voice calling you to step out in faith in serving the Lord? Might He be asking you to serve Him in a different way?
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). You have Jesus by your side and the Holy Spirit within you. Go ahead and step out in faith.
Heavenly Father, thank You for all the opportunities and Your loving guidance in sharing Your Gospel with all in my mission fields. Help me to always walk in the path You have set before me. Your plans are ALWAYS better than any I could make. Instill in me the discernment to know Your will and help me boldly step out in faith as I know You have me in the palm of Your hand. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Gospel Outreach Committee Chairman
We would love to hear YOUR stories! Please send them to the Vice President of Gospel Outreach here.
Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!