Confessions of a reluctant missionaryWritten by Barbara Pocius
What's inside this article
My husband, Michael, and I are regular people. So when our church put out the call for people to go to Peru for missions work, we were ready to drop an extra offering in the bucket and pray for the safety and success of the adventurous travellers.
But as we heard more about the trip, I became aware of a nagging in my head as well as a tugging in my heart.
I’m sure it’s not nice to call the sound of God’s voice nagging, but I wasn’t going to Peru. Other people go on missions trips. You know the kind: young, daring, outdoor-loving. But the nagging got worse.
A new kind of prayer
One early morning, as the sun was coming up, I called out to God with the type of prayers He wasn’t used to hearing from me. This is a bit of how the conversation played out:
"Heavenly Father, about this Peru trip . . . . You can’t possibly want me to go. I’m old. I’ve never been camping. I don’t like bugs. I don’t like roughing it. Maybe there’s something I should do here at home."
His reply seemed clear: Meet the need.
"But I’ve never been on a missions trip. I don’t know enough about You or Your Word to be effective.
What if I say the wrong thing? I’m just your average person."
Meet the need.
"I don’t speak the language. I’m a picky eater. I don’t like to sweat. I don’t like to fly. It’s 10 hours on airplanes! Please, God, make me Your servant HERE in my comfortable little community!
Meet the need!
A leap of faith
When I shared my feelings with Michael, he replied with the same excuses I had given to God. All I could tell him was that I had to go meet the need. After months of preparation and praying, Michael and I went to Iquitos, Peru, with 10 others from our church.
We spent 10 days working with children who lived in some of the poorest conditions I had ever seen outside of a TV show or magazine photo. We encountered dirt roads, lack of indoor plumbing, houses barely solid enough to keep out the elements. Yet each person we met smiled with kindness, laughed at our attempt at their language, and welcomed us unconditionally. With the help of an interpreter, we told stories from the Bible and sang songs of worship. We handed out crayons, stickers, balloons and candy. We accomplished our purpose to introduce the children to Jesus.
The face of God
We left Iquitos with tears in our eyes. We saw the face of God in the expressions of those children.
Did I meet the need God had asked me to meet? Well, in the early morning, as the sun was coming up, I asked Him.
"Father in heaven, I thank You for sending me to the children of Iquitos. Sweating wasn’t so bad. Thank You for letting me into their world to bring Your Word to them. I even picked up a little of the language! Thank You for letting an ordinary person like me do this extraordinary thing for You. Did I meet the need You spoke to me about?
I could almost hear His proud response: Well done! Gracias!
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