Leaving the Easy Mission Field

The favorite part of my walk every morning is going past the two elementary schools in Barrouaille.  Usually before making the turn off the main road children already notice me coming and start calling out “Mr. John!” to get my attention.

Since coming two years ago the Lord has opened a great door of ministry with children.

  1. Through bible stories
  2. Computer tutoring in the afternoon
  3. Daily Bible Club (we are working through the book of Mark)
  4. Weekends playing frisbee or football
  5. And sharing the Gospel

While no mission field could be called easy, my personality and spritual gifts, along with a love for working with children makes it easier for me to reach the children of Barrouaillie.

I personally believe the Lord in His Sovereignty puts us in places where we can be used effectively for him….the important thing is to make sure we don’t spend all of our time in that easier mission field.

For a few months, the Lord has been challenging me to move on from children’s ministry and begin reaching adults as well as teenagers (secondary school students).  Children’s ministry is obviously important, but it’s incredibly easy to only become involved in ministries where we are gifted. Over time this can create a works-based view of ministry (“look what I did”) instead of humble reliance upon God.

So I began moving away from the “Mr. John” ministry opportunities and prayed God would open the door to new fields.  That prayer was answered yesterday as I met with a principal about volunteering at his secondary school in the Fall.

After the meeting I stood outside and watched the high-school students interact with each other during their lunch break.  To be honest part of me didnt want to give up my “rock star” status of Mr. John for a mission field of teens who would definitely be harder to reach.  It would be easier to just stay in the ministry area where I’ve spent two years developing relationships and people know me instead of basically starting all over  (the school is fifteen minutes away)

Standing there in the school parking lot I said “Lord why have you called me to this place?  I don’t have a clue how to reach these teenagers, and am not skilled to do it!”  The response was “that’s exactly why I’ve called you here John.”

The thing about missions is it’s meant to glorify God instead of ourselves.  Which is why the Lord takes great pleasure in opening the new door of ministry.  It’s in those moments of weakness, anxiety, and social awkwardness that all praise goes to Him.

I may be wrong but I’m pretty certain I won’t be greeted by shouts of “Mr. John!” at the secondary school.  But that’s okay because my weakness gives a great opportunity for God’s glory.