Readjusting to life back in the States has been really strange. I began to miss the politeness and openness of the Bolivian people when I sat around self-absorbed Americans who spent the entire plane ride from Santa Cruz to Miami complaining about anything and everything. I longed for the mild Bolivian winter weather when I stepped outside the RDU airport and was smacked in the face by the humidity. I was able to relive some Bolivian memories driving on I-85 today, but those were not the memories I wanted to experience again.
Life after a mission trip can be difficult. It is hard to get back into the swing of “normal life.” Things just seem different. Often times, everything is so overtly spiritual when you are on the mission field that your every day life seems so dull and pointless by comparison. Maybe, you think about all the people that you left behind when you returned home. What will they do? Will the ministry continue as it was before?
|Do we act as if God needed a plane ticket to work in other countries?
Photo from morgueFile.com by Richard_B
Is life different at home than it is on the mission field? Of course. Is life less spiritual at home than it is on the mission field? Absolutely not!
God is at work in and around your daily life, just as much as He is in the times and places you are specifically on mission. He wants to use you in the lives of those you see every day as much as He wants to use you in those you may only see once in your life. Your co-worker or neighbor may need Christ the same as the child living in the shack in the third world country.
I was reminded of this after I wrote something on Facebook about the arrogant Americans on the airplane. One of my Facebook friends commented, “Well, God loves Americans, too – the rougher around the edges, the better.” She was right. The jerk on the plane needs Christ as much as the polite Bolivian student in the university at Santa Cruz.
No matter how long it has been since your last mission trip, you are still on mission. The Great Commission does not only apply when you leave your hometown. You are, and will always be, on mission for God. Live life as a missionary – just allow God to direct your place of deployment. You are always a missionary, the only question is where.
Did God use you to make an impact for His Kingdom on the mission field? Sure. Has He stopped expanding His Kingdom simply because you left that mission field? Certainly not!
God was at work drawing people to Himself long before you ever heard of the location of your mission trip. Jesus was redeeming people from Bolivia well before I ever knew the nation existed. No matter what the place, God was there before you. Even if the people have been unreached by previous missionary efforts, it does not mean God was unaware of them.
He also did not leave when you got on the plane to head home. I loved hearing one of my new Bolivian friends describe a conversation he had. He was speaking of some of the people he had gotten a chance to share the Gospel with and he told them, “The Americans are leaving, but we are not. We will still be here working.” Local leaders and believers will continue on with the work to which you contributed.
We worship an omnipresent God. He is at work at home even when things don’t seem as if they are very spiritual. Those may be the times when we need to focus the most on Him. He is at work in the places we leave even though our mission team has gone home. He may use what you started to do something extraordinary down the line. Just remember that God is at work everywhere at all times. I needed to be reminded of that this week.