Me, the missionary. I guess that's technically what I am this summer. It's funny how this all came to be. It was quite unexpected and almost planned itself. Having been here a month I'm starting to remember a time in my life when I longed to be a missionary. When visiting missionaries would speak at church I wanted to stow myself away in their baggage and journey along with them. When I went to Ecuador years ago, I didn't want to come home.
I always thought Greg and I would make a powerful missionary team. He could teach the natives in some exotic land how to grow their own fish and I would feed their souls with the Word of God. He wasn't interested though, so the dream slowly died. Or so I thought. Now widowed for two and a half years, I find myself dreaming again. With so many options, I'm overwhelmed.
I have the privilege this summer, not only of serving mission teams in Alaska, but of interacting with some highly experienced and successful career missionaries. Scott has a PhD in missions and has been living his missionary dream for years. He's able to answer so many questions and tell me things I wouldn't have thought to ask. This guy, Larry, is on the team I'm hosting this week. He was on some international mission board for years and has been on too many trips to count. I've been picking his brain as well. He tells me of reaching people groups in Africa that have never ever heard the name of Jesus. He told the story of one guy who said he always knew from observing the heavens that there must be a creator but he never knew His name.
What I hear repeated over and over from these seasoned veterans is "Don't be afraid to take risks. When you feel compelled to leave your comfort zone, just do it."
A missionary spoke at Lebanon Baptist Church when I was about 14 years old. I'll never forget her talk. She said when God calls you to do something JUST DO IT! That has been stuck in the deepest part of my mind and emotions all these years. JUST DO IT! What does that mean for me now, a single, middle aged, soon-to-be-retired school teacher who has always valued routine, predictability and safety. Sheesh!
What does God want me to do? There's a bend in the road ahead. I can see that clearly. But what's around that bend is still out of sight. With every step I get closer. But just as with a curve in the road, I expect it will seem to straighten as I approach it. I'm thinking in a few years I'll be looking back and wondering, "What happened to that bend I saw in the road?" I will have negotiated the turn without even realizing it.