One of the reasons I wanted to go on this trip to Chile was to see my old friends, missionaries and places I knew when we used to live here. The other reason was to figure out even better what God’s plans and desires are for my life. Last year I went on a mission trip to Peru, and began feeling a tug on my heart towards Chile and wanting to do mission work there, but I never knew it would end up impacting me as much as it has.
I came to Chile because I wanted to figure out for myself what I believe is the best way for ME to share the Gospel and to see if God was really calling me to missions. I have really struggled with both of these things for years now, and I’ll address each area individually.
I have struggled with sharing the Gospel because we all know or have heard of the people who can walk up to a stranger, share with them and lead them to Christ. And if you are like me, you constantly compare yourself to them. I have had people look at me incredulously when I admit that I am scared to randomly walk up to people, and that I actually hate having to do that. During my time in Peru last year, God really began to help me in that area. We were going door to door, sharing the Gospel with an EvangeCube and point-blank asking if they wanted to accept Christ. If they said “no”, then we moved on to the next house and did the same thing. I didn’t enjoy my time there, but I did grow a lot and realized that I shouldn’t be ashamed of the fact that I am not gifted with the spiritual gift of evangelism. I realized that I had to stop comparing “numbers of people led to Christ” and think I had to evangelize the same as everyone else. After the past month or so that I’ve spent here in Chile, God has continued to show me how to use my strengths to glorify Him by sharing about His love, grace, mercy and judgement to the people I’ve met. This past school year I took the lazy approach to sharing about my faith, saying “It’s not my gift, so really… I don’t need to worry about sharing the Gospel. That’s those other people’s job.” And I am ashamed to look back and see how selfish and lazy I was being. He clearly told us that, as Christians, we are to share His word.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
However, after going up to the university a few times, getting to know people by using the Solarium Cards (you can read about how we use them here), building relationships with them and being genuine in our approach, my attitude towards sharing the Gospel has done a 180. I guess you could say I found my niche, but I’d like to think that God has shown me how I can use my gifts to fulfill His calling. I think the church is built by forming relationships with people, showing and telling them the Gospel and allowing your example, prayers and the Holy Spirit change the person. Sometimes this happens in the span of five minutes, but most of the time it takes a lot longer. For me personally, this approach to sharing the Gospel is so much more genuine, I am more comfortable and am more open and ready to be used by God. So now, instead of thinking that I could opt out of having to share God’s Word, I have learned how to do it according to His will for me, and that doing so glorifies Him.
As for being called to missions, I have struggled with that area because we have all seen videos or heard stories about missionaries who live in huts, go to impoverished areas, lead whole villages to Christ and start underground churches in Asia… But I don’t think I could do that. I feel guilty, spoiled and “American” when saying that, but at this moment in life I know I am not cut out for that nor am I called to an area like that. My dad told me once that there will always be a need, but there isn’t always the call. I know there are people out there who are called to go to those areas, where the locals have literally nothing physically and spiritually, and God is able to use the missionaries to open their eyes to His truth. However, there are also people who are called to go to other areas of the world- the ones that are developed, wealthy and not lacking in the physical area. I feel like one of the biggest problems we have right now is that we only think of those poor or closed countries when we think of going somewhere to be a missionary. After my time here in Chile, I’ve realized that the people who have everything need Christ just as bad as the people who have nothing.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I mean, if we look at the Great Commission, it says to make disciples of all nations, not just the poor ones or the unreached ones. And so if I’m not called to go to a poor or closed country, I now realize I don’t need to feel guilty or like I’m being a scardycat for not going there. I may someday, but I know that right now that’s not what He has planned for me.
And now comes the big question, one that I have been asking, praying and talking to people about since I got here… What exactly HAS He planned for me?! As of right now, I still am not 100% sure, but things are starting to become clearer. I know there is a definite call on my life to do mission work (and by that, I mean find ways to share the Gospel with people), and that could mean possibly coming back to Chile in the future, or it could be staying in the States, or even going somewhere else. At this moment in life, I know I need to finish school and work in Texas until the opportunity and funds arrive to possibly live overseas and work there, hopefully with Isaac by my side. And for the first time in my life, not being certain about my future does not scare me. I know that no matter what happens, God will use it to bring Himself glory, and will use me to complete His will, which is my ultimate purpose and goal in life.
Something Sarah, an awesome friend I have made here in Chile, told me the other day really stuck in my head. She said (paraphrased of course) “If someone is called to missions, then you should be able to see that in their life all the time, not just when they are overseas or getting paid for it”, and that convicted me. I know that just because I’m in the Bible Belt of the country doesn’t mean I can put my call in life on hold, and only serve the Lord when I’m on a mission trip or away from home. God has given me so many opportunities, resources and support to be used by Him in my very own backyard! He has really changed me, my thoughts and my attitude on this trip.
Please keep me in your prayers as I finish up my last two weeks in Chile, begin tying up any loose ends here and begin preparing for my next mission trip- going back home. Your support has been invaluable, and the efforts of your prayers are seen daily.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.