I can’t promise to be a good writer and I can’t promise to always be positive and funny, but I do promise to be genuine with you. I’ll share with you what life as a missionary is really like. I promise to tell you about my sorrows and my struggles. I won’t lie about the hardships of culture shock, the fears of living in a huge city, and the homesickness. I will tell you about all I have left behind and all that I have given up.
But to honestly tell you what it’s like to be a missionary I must tell you about the power of the Gospel which has called me to South America. I’ve never been to Perú, I don’t know anyone there, and I don’t even speak the language. Despite this, I am picking up my life and moving to Lima, Perú. I have been asked ‘why?’. The simple answer: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this is not really a simple thing. This is a life altering, earth shattering, big deal kind of a thing. We have a God who loves us enough to humble himself to take on our weak and pathetic human form. He suffered through life on this earth, being tempted by the devil, mocked and rejected by His people yet lived perfectly without sin. He who knew no sin became sin and was killed as punishment for our sins. He suffered the wrath of God, total rejection and hell for our sake. Our God loved us enough to die upon a cross and buy my salvation in His own precious blood. I know how truly weak, pathetic and shameful I am. I am unworthy in every way of this love. This mercy and love shown to me is what motivates me.
I am packing my bags knowing that life as a missionary will have many low points which I wouldn’t have to endure if I stayed at home. I am also packing my bags knowing that I am placing my life in the hands of the God who has loved me without end. The call to be a missionary is not about what I leave behind; it’s all about what I have gained in Christ. I have been blessed beyond imagination by His mercy and He now calls me to proclaim it. My voice as a missionary, is only a loving response to the mercy which God has first shown me. Living life as a missionary means living His mercy, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It means proclaiming salvation through Christ alone and showing forth His love for all people in my love for them.
I leave behind all my supports and comforts and enter into a world where I have nothing to lean on except the cross of Jesus Christ. Strange as it may seem, I find joy and comfort in this. When we are stripped of all that we take comfort in we learn to truly fear, trust and love God above all things. Paul says in Philippians 4 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” When Paul was stripped of all he had, he learned that he can do all through Christ. I look forward to learning this lesson through out my service as a missionary. The cross of Christ and His mercies to me are all that I need. Through baptism the Lord has washed me of my sin and clothed me with the righteousness of Christ. He has provided for my every need, and will continue to do so. He strengthens me through His Word and the promises there in. He offers His very body and blood to us in the Lord’s Supper to strengthen us against the devil until His return. I come to Perú rich in the blessings of the Lord and having all that I need.
To tell you what it’s truly like to be a missionary I will tell you about the sorrows and struggles but I will also tell you about the joys and the victories. I’ll share with you the fun of learning about a new people and different way of life. The new holidays, traditions, and cultural celebrations I get to experience. The interesting foods I learn to love and the life experiences I never could have had in small town Michigan. I want you to meet my new friends and family and get to know the people of Perú. You will learn what it’s like to travel the world and have a life of new adventure. But most importantly, you will learn about the power of the Almighty and His Word which crosses all borders, speaks to people of all languages and knows no bounds. I will tell you about the triumph of the Gospel and the growth of His Church.