Like a good neighbor!

Sharper Focus

by Victor Leslie, Major – 

All my life I have lived and breathed the air of world mission and so write as a special witness, with intimate experience of the mission setting, strategy and struggle. Missionary work has been a prelude, an indentation, an opening statement on the endless opportunities for world mission that are still awaiting us. Our call to participate in world missions is biblical (Matthew 28:19) and should strengthen our faith, lead to changes in our world view, and build a deeper relationship with our God—but for many, that view is clouded by the cost.

I am reminded of the fable about the blind men and the elephant where each of the blind men reached out and touched different parts of the elephant, only to come to different conclusions about what it was they were touching. Is it true that when it comes to understanding the concept of world missions and how we should participate, it seems as if, like the blind men, we each experience a mere part of something we dimly perceive to be much bigger? Do we easily mistake the nature of this larger reality and underestimate the multitude of possibilities for working together to establish God’s Kingdom worldwide? I Corinthians 1:10 says, “Be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.” Like a good neighbor, let us come to the same understanding and be there to participate in God’s vision for world evangelism.

At its core, world mission emerges out of the loving heart of God for a suffering and broken world. It is a privilege to invest lives and resources in building his family from every tribe and nation, as we share the good news of Christ’s salvation, reconciliation and restoration. World mission means partnering with indigenous ministries in global initiatives, listening to, learning from and serving with our brothers and sisters in cultures both near and far. Mark Giandalia, Territorial Headquarters Finance Department sees it as, “basically people helping people to become self sufficient.” World mission encompasses church planting, outreach among post-modern youth, leadership training, evangelism, and sending and supporting those “missionaries overseas.” It is also about transformational development, rising above the business of accumulating money. It is impossible to put a monetary price on the value of one soul. World missions focuses on respect and recognition of the integrity of local knowledge and initiative when like a good neighbor, we share financial resources, personnel, expertise and experience. Indeed, world mission is about stewardship—for we are stewards of God’s blessings, answerable to him for the way in which we use the resources he places in our care.

Why then, do world missions still seem to be an abstract piece of the elephant? Why do some see it as a burden—an imposed responsibility, an obligatory requirement to collect money or write a check? Could it be that we do not perceive the whole? If we see the world as a global village, and not as individual countries, like good neighbors we would feel compelled to care for each other. 1 Corinthians 12: 26 emphasizes, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

There are so many people who, like good neighbors, care. Erin Reilly, THQ Finance, reflecting on a calling to mission, cares: “There’s nothing like being used by God…all he wants is an open heart vessel.” Like a good neighbor, Lt. Colonel Jolene Hodder in Kenya is there. “Everything we do here is so exciting that every minute of every day…I wish each one of you was here to experience this with us.”

Lan Bahn, who visited Sri Lanka for tsunami relief, cares: “World mission gives a meaning to my life…helping others but at the same time helping myself, too.”

Discover the true picture of world missions. Educate yourself! Pray and like a good neighbor, be there. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! It will be a defining moment in your life as you become God’s agent of change affecting the destiny of a world.

Take up the challenge! Like a good neighbor, your world mission is an action step away.

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