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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Let me tell you...

The delightful woman I live with often starts a conversation with me that way. Last week, she revealed that she was quiet surprised (later she even said disappointed) when I showed up at her door to meet her for the first time that I wasn't much darker with a cute French accent. My friends, her great-nephew and great-niece, had told her I lived in Haiti. So this is what she thought about me before I arrived. We laughed and laughed about it. Truth be told, I wish I was much darker with a cute French accent....

Actually, off topic from dark women with French accents, but here I go anyway.... I'm going to let YOU tell Me. What do you think of the following post? A friend posted it on her facebook, and it came from the Desiring God website. Give me your thoughts and opinions, please! Do you think you're not called because you haven't had a dramatic "calling" experience? Better think about that!

Don’t Complicate the "Missionary Call"

July 27, 2011
by: David Sitton
Category: Commentary

I was never called to be a missionary, nor was I drafted. I volunteered. No special call was needed. I chose to go; I wanted to go; I was compelled to go. And where I go is always determined by an open Bible and a stretched-out map of the regions where Christ is still unknown and un-praised!

I chuckle when I hear missionaries and pastors talk about “surrendering to the call” of ministry. I always want to ask, “After you surrendered, were you water-boarded, or just hauled off in handcuffs and leg irons.” Was it really necessary for you to be abducted by a heavenly vision before you would go into the work of the gospel?
The missionary call is not like a prison dog that tracks us down, sniffs us out, and hog-ties us for the nations. That is silly-talk and really bad theology. Nowhere in Scripture is a mysterious (supernatural) call a prerequisite before we can respond to the Great Commission. The opposite is actually true.

Don’t Wait for a Call

No aspect of mission is more bogged down with extra-biblical baggage than the “missionary call.” The clear command of Christ “to go” should be, by itself, sufficient to set you on your way “into all the world. . . proclaiming the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). You can’t go wrong by trying to go. Trust the Lord to direct your moving feet. If you are convinced of your “call” to “stay”, this will only serve as added confirmation that you are right. Don’t fear the risk of ending up some place the Lord doesn’t want you. Too many already took that “risk” when they assumed a stateside ministry or vocation with no confirmation other than their own desires.
Dramatic calls to ministry are the exception. If you have it in your heart to go, then go. Then, lean on the sovereignty of God to get you where he wants you in the harvest. Don’t worry about “running ahead of God.” You aren’t that quick!

Try to Go

Paul tried to go into Asia, but the Lord wouldn’t let him. He then tried to go to Bithynia, but was “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” Still, he kept trying to go. I count at least six cities in Acts 16 where Paul tried to take the gospel. It was only then that the Lord gave him a vision of the Macedonian. He woke up the next morning and immediately headed for the regions north, having “concluded that God had called them to preach the gospel in Macedonia.
The heavenly vision wasn’t a “call” to mission, it was specific guidance for missionaries that were already going.

The point? Don’t complicate the missionary call. Get radical with the going and God will get radical in the specific guiding.
David Sitton is the founder and president of To Every Tribe Ministries. David is a career church planting missionary who lived and worked in Papua New Guinea for 16 years, making first gospel contact with several headhunting, cannibalistic tribes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Relationship

I yearn for deep relationships, to be a part of community. So why do I, especially when I am in Haiti, become bogged down in tasks? Is it because there are so many needs? Maybe. Or maybe its because I also long to feel and to be needed. I long to accomplish something, to check off my responsibilities on a list, to believe I am good at something. But was is the greater need? When I take the time to think about it and look at scripture, I know it is to spend time with our Lord, to spend time with people, to invest. Lord, help me to remember this and offer myself to you and to live with a focus on relationships with others. The Haitians teach me this.  They live inter-dependently, helping each other, sharing with each other, talking and laughing along the way. This is my favorite part of Haiti.

My time in relationship with the kids this last trip was facilitated by de-worming the kids (giving the kids worm medicine) in the morning and engaging in play with toddlers. Read this post if you need a reminder of how the de-worming went last time. Because this time I didn't tell any of the younger kids what the pill was, they all swarmed around me, thinking it was candy or a vitamin, sticking out their hands for more. Suckers! Amazingly, most of the older kids took the pills like mature young adults. No exciting stories of punishment or coercion to share this time.

Another morning I spent with the cooks at the boys home. It was full of dancing, singing (made up verses to the tune of Creole songs), and mockery of me for the fact that I don't know how to cook Haitian-style. Pure joy. 

The afternoons were spent seeing patients in our medical clinic, holding sweet kids at the feeding program, and in conversations with our kids. The kindergarten-ers and 6th graders had a graduation ceremony while I was there, with other students presenting songs and dances. A beautiful way to celebrate these kids' achievements.

The group of people I traveled with were insightful, flexible, kind, and funny. They worked on various construction projects for the ministry, as well as assisted some Haitians in building a home for a woman in our community. Thank you to those who donated money to pay for this house! Each evening the team and I and some staff members spent on the roof of the guesthouse discussing Jesus, kids, Haiti, and our struggles. We also threw ourselves into a massive, hour-long pillow fight with the girls at the girls' home. Epic.