This is my baby nephew.
Well, he’s 5, but he will always be my little baby.
As you can see, he’s a fire chief.
And sometimes a pirate.
Before I launch into the reason I’m writing this blog, you need to understand the relationship Eric and I have.
Maybe these pictures will add some clarity.
To put it simply: no one in this entire world has my heart like this little baby and I’m hard-pressed to find anyone or anything in this world I love more than him.
This past week Eric got his first study Bible, so on Saturday I took him to Panera to have a breakfast date with God.
This is my favorite little pirate reading John to me in between sips of coffee (and bites of his chocolate chip bagel).
This was also when I gently broke the news to him that I would be returning to Romania (for more about that click here). This was a big deal because he wasn’t thrilled when we went the first time.
His reaction to the news taught me a lesson.
This is how the conversation went down:
“So you said you needed to tell me something this morning?” he said, smiling over his bagel.
Since we had just sat down to eat I told him we could talk about it later.
“I think now is a good time,” he said sweetly. (He’s such a grown up.)
“Well, okay,” I said slowly. “Not right now but in six weeks, I’m going back to Romania.” I braced myself for how he would digest the info.
He looked at me for a few heartbeats, unblinking, as his big green eyes filled with tears. Finally he broke the silence and in a soft and slow voice filled with betrayal said, “Why?”
“Because that’s where God wants me to go. We’re going to love on those people and teach them what Jesus said.”
He blinked away tears. “But you already did that!”
Just like most American churches, Eric is confused about what real missions is.
What is missions?
I tried not to laugh at his ultra-serious remark but he was just so cute that I cracked a little smile.
Then I realized his reaction is like most of the American church in their response to missions.
I’ve heard people respond this way:
“Why go back to somewhere you’ve already been? You’ve already been there, you’re done. There are other places in the world that need to hear about Jesus too.”
There are other churches whose philosophy of missions are short-term trips designed to mostly impact the ones going, not the ones they’re serving.
Take the following quote from a church’s discussion forum for example,
“I’m a youth worker at my church and the short-term missions trips we do are mainly to get the kids out of their comfort zone and to see how people live in other parts of the world.”
Um. That’s not the point of missions.
The point of missions is not to go so you’ll feel good about yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
The point of missions is not to go so you’ll find satisfaction in how much better off you are than others.
The point of missions is not even to alleviate the impoverished and the help the needy.
The point of missions is to take the Gospel, the power of God for salvation, to every tribe and tongue and nation to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Why? So we can cross “go on a mission trip” off our bucket list? Absolutely not. We go so God will be rightfully glorified in this world as the only One worthy of our affections, worship and lives.
Our mission in Eastern Europe
As a 5 year old, Eric doesn’t understand the true purpose of missions is to ignite the hearts of people around the world to a white-hot worship of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t understand that yes, while we went to Romania in April and we loved on the people and Bro. Michael and Florin taught pastors and church leaders what it means to make disciples, that the work isn’t finished.
That’s the point of launching the Romania Missionary Fellowship.
We went to Eastern Europe for two weeks in April and we’re about six weeks away from leaving for another two weeks but that doesn’t mean the work of God stops when we leave. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The first conference laid the necessary and much needed foundation for Florin Vasiliu, the director of RMF, to begin pouring into these brothers monthly, discipling them to become disciplers so they can train their own men who will in turn go out and duplicate the process as they plant new churches.
This is an exciting process that has been going on for the last five months. However, the pastors need more than just one person pouring into them. Another set of conferences is needed to pour another layer of Scriptural foundation on their souls and continue equipping them to see the mission God has called us to participate in.
So we must go.
Why? God’s glory is on the line.
Does God need us? Certainly not.
But He chooses to use us to make Jesus’ name famous and to stir the nations to a greater understanding of who He is so that the Lamb receives the reward of His suffering.
This is the point of Psalm 67:1-2,
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make His face to shine upon us,
that Your way may be known on earth,
Your saving power among all nations.
We ask for God’s favor, His blessing, His help so that His way may be known on earth, His saving power among all nations.
Will you join us? Together we can join God in wrapping His arms around the nations.
Please prayerfully consider supporting the work of this ministry by giving financially. If you believe the Lord is leading to give to this ministry, you can go here and make a donation by clicking the drop down box and selecting the “RMF Fall Conference” button. Or you can send your check to Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2945 Oaks Rd., Paducah, Ky. 42003. Please memo your check RMF Fall Conference.
3 comments on “American Missions: A Child’s Reaction”
This is such a great post! It’s a wonderful reminder that we are constantly needing to serve the Lord by spreading His love and glory!
So, around this past Easter, I started trying to find myself in this relationship with God. I wasn’t raised on church, never have had a relationship with God and somehow/someway, I felt my life lacking. I began digging and realized I wanted something more than just this life. I want a relationship with someone who knows all, my Father. As I am very new to this all, bible readings, verses, etc. I want to know more, understand more.. But I don’t know where to turn. Do you have any recommendations for an individual bible study? Something I can do daily, write, reflect, etc outside of my weekly study? Thank you in advance for your help.
Stefanie, you are such a sweet encouragement to my heart! I’m so excited that God has saved you and that we are sisters now! He is so good. What state do you live in? To answer your very mature and awesome question, I don’t really have a lot of experience with Bible study books (even the ones I read I use only as a supplemental vitamin to the main study of God’s Word without a book), however I encourage you to check out disciplesacademy.com. There is a video introduction on the homepage and then it will explain the rest of the site and I think could be a really helpful resource for you as a new believer in growing and maturing in your faith.
Below are some other books I recommend. Keep in mind that I’m a 24 year old single girl (woman? will it ever feel right to call myself a “woman”?) with a big heart for the world and missions and who loves (!!) to read.
Any book Elisabeth Elliot has ever written. Passion and Purity is FANTASTIC. As is Let Me Be A Woman. Those are two books that God used to significantly (!!!) impact my life and I would say even to change my life to an extent. I can’t recommend them enough. Other books by her that I highly recommend are Through Gates of Splendor, The Mark of a Man (it’s a book on biblical masculinity but I learned SO MUCH about how to be a lady through it), Discipline, the Glad Surrender and Shadow of the Almighty. Basically what I’m saying is that Elisabeth Elliot is the bomb.com. She’s my favorite lady.
When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
Bible Study –A Students Guide — by Jon Nielson (I just started reading this to help teach the middle and high school girls I disciple and it is such good, solid, basic truths that are profitable for every believer)
The Attributes of God by A.W. Tozer
The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
Radical by David Platt
Hunger for God by John Piper
I could continue listing books all day long, but the main book you need is the One from which all these books flow out of–the Bible. Just dive in, ask lots of questions and depend on the Holy Spirit, not some other, lesser book, to tell you what it means. Read the Gospels, read the Old Testament, read it all. Every book, chapter and verse are in their for a strategic reason and are purposed to reveal glory to your heart and soul as you sojourn through this world into eternity with our sweet Savior.
Sorry for the insanely long post! I hope this is a little bit helpful for you. Praying for you and your walk with our Father!
Thank you so much for this 💙 I will go in search for these books soon!
I live in the Northern Kentucky area, right by Cincinnati! So not too far from you at all!