Growing up I was taught that only some very special, super spiritual people were “called” to the mission field. Not only were they special, the “call” was even more special. All the missionaries I heard speak either said, or I imagined them saying, that they heard God’s audible voice. I imagined that voice was very similar to Morgan Freeman’s. The voice connected with the very special call would boom, usually in the middle of the night – “GO to Africa” – and oh yes, it was always to Africa. Others I imagined had a vision of a large God hand that reached out of the sky and pointed to a continent or country. Yes, Africa again. I would either listen, on the edge of my seat, to incredible stories of trekking in strange and exotic lands and eating barbequed mice on a stick or ask my mom if I could go to the washroom for the third time, depending on the presenter.
Go to Africa
As a young woman I thought missionaries were strange creatures and if their words didn’t confirm this to me their clothing did. I remember watching endless slides of sad, dirty children with flies on their mouths, and, after hearing the presentations, I usually thought, “I don’t ever want to be a missionary and/or I could never be like them.” My memories may be slightly blurred by my preconceived ideas of what I thought it meant to be a missionary.
Surprisingly however, I’ve met a lot of people who have the same preconceived ideas about missionaries. Many people think you need to be super spiritual and have a supernatural call before you go overseas. But, for most people, that may never happen. Kind of like saving enough money before you get married, only less likely. If you believe the idea that missionaries aren’t just like you, you put them into an elite category, which results in you never entertaining the idea that YOU were called to go. Waiting until you are ‘amazing’ before you go will keep you exactly where you are right now. Very special and super spiritual people, along with very special calls, are more mythical than real. Unicornish. People are people. Missionaries are people. People make mistakes, sin fairly regularly, let others down, struggle with pride – just like you probably do. We all can be wowed by a great talent and the charisma of someone telling a story, but the true character of a man/women is not found in their words, but in the way they live. Yes, some missionaries may yell at their friends and family, eat too much, lie from time to time and even might have wrong motives. They can also be beautiful, kind, compassionate, grace filled and inspirational. The point is, they are people. You are people. God loves and uses people. You don’t need a special call or be of a special spiritual status in order to do what Jesus said. Instead of praying about whether or not you should go, you might want to pray about whether or not you should stay. Yes, supernatural calls do happen, but generally just reading Jesus words, “Go and make disciples” Matt 28:19, should be enough. “Go and make disciples” is the supernatural call, isn’t it? Does He really need to say more?