Why a Love of Missions?
Article written by Krista Tope, Missions Ministry Team Member
As I looked up from where I was seated, a young petite girl, maybe in her late teens, peeked her head around the corner from the next room. She was trying to hide a smile that lit up her whole face. I remember she was wearing a pink dress. Her family, a devout Muslim one living in a coastal town in Egypt, assumed we were there to visit them. They had no idea that the purpose of our visit was this girl in the pink dress. Our mission was simply to encourage her, though we had been warned by the missionary who was accompanying us that we would not be able to speak a word to her. She had recently decided to surrender her life to Jesus, and her family had in turn made a slave of her. They would not allow her to leave the home nor allow foreigners to have conversation with her. But it was enough for me and clearly, judging by the grin on her face and the way she embraced me in a hug while her family wasn’t looking, it was enough for her too, just for a few American Christians to be present in her home.
It is not just stated, but declared with a loud voice, in Psalm 67:3-4a (NKJV), “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” We have discovered as of late what it is like to be kept from joining together face-to-face with other believers for corporate worship. I would even venture to say during these months that our joy has not been complete, because we are meant to fellowship together. John even states in 2 John 1:12 that he longs their believers face-to-face so that their joy and his joy might be complete. Why a love of missions, a passion for missions? God desires you to worship Him, most definitely. But missions reminds us to widen our view. It is a reminder that God created people with uniqueness – in looks, in thought, in language spoken, in life experiences – and yet makes us one. He loves to watch Americans be glad and rejoice in Him. But He also longs to hear voices of other languages sing to Him in joy! Let His desire for the nations be ours as well!
For this young Egyptian girl, I was not part of her coming to know Jesus, and I was unable to worship with her or open a Bible and study scripture with her, but missions put me in her home, present with her to bring encouragement that she was not forgotten and that we as believers are forever connected. I will never forget her smile or her name. And one day I look forward to giving her another hug face-to-face as we worship the Most High God together!
Missions not only gives us a heart for people different than us and widens our view of this big world God has created, it also allows us to join in with God’s purposes. Rest assured that whatever God desires to do, He will surely bring it about! And though God can call the lost to Himself by Himself, He chooses to include us, His people. We are able to join arm-in-arm with each other and with Him to “snatch others from out of the fire,” as Jude 1:23 describes. Each of us, if we are willing, gets to play a part in this great battle against the kingdom of darkness. Let me give you one more example of God bringing about His purposes in the uttermost parts of the world through the joint efforts of His people.
There is a woman named Hawa, which fittingly in English translates to Eve, who lives in Senegal. The Lord placed on my heart to teach Hawa the story of God’s redemption, starting from creation. So I went and asked if she’d be willing. Her response was literally, “You should find someone else; I’m too stupid to learn.” I didn’t accept her reply but began teaching her anyway. It was a very slow process, as it was difficult for her to take in what I was teaching, and we had only gotten to the story of the garden and fall of man when she told me she’d be leaving the country. I knew it was likely I wasn’t going to see her again. But God had laid her on my heart, and I’d shared what I could. I had told people in churches here in San Antonio about her and had asked them to pray for her. The day she announced she was leaving, I thought about what one thing I could share with her, one thing I could leave with her on her way out. I decided on John 3:16 and repeated it for her over and over, hoping it would stick. The next week when I came to say goodbye, she came up to me, spouting off what I’d told her the previous week. She wanted meto know she hadn’t forgotten! She left, and I never saw her again.
The End. No, I’m kidding.
I left a while later as well to come back to San Antonio, and I asked a fellow missionary to make sure and follow up with people in Hawa’s neighborhood. It was where I’d spent most of my time ministering and teaching while in Senegal. Two years after I’d left, almost 4 years after I’d last seen Hawa, this missionary invited a church group from another state to come min- ister, and they were directed to this neighborhood. When they showed up and asked to teach, this missionary was surprised to find that Hawa had just returned, and she came and sat with others in the community to listen to the story of Christ. That day, Hawa accepted Christ. It just so happened that she was the first believer in that neighborhood that we know of. I was not there to see it. Those in San Antonio churches never set foot in Senegal but had been praying for her. They didn’t see it. This missionary and small group from a US church were there to witness it. God purposed that Hawa, who saw herself as too stupid to learn, would be called His own. And God used different people within His kingdom to play different roles to join Him in snatching her out of the grasp of Islam and the grasp of Satan!
Why do I love missions? How on earth could I not?! God is doing a mighty work in the earth!We, collectively as Trinity Baptist Church and as individual believers, get to join in, and we’ll join in the celebration one day too when we hear all the different peoples crying out in praise to Him in every different language!