November 3, 2007

What the heck do missionaries actually do?

We’ve asked ourselves that often in the last 21 months!! We have hosted tons of people in our home - often it is pastor who needs a bed for a night or two and a ride to the airport. We love having pastor’s families over for dinner too. This provides a GREAT opportunity to encourage and challenge them in their life and ministry – we love it! Sometimes it is plucking chickens, giving food hungry kids at a feeding program, or stringing beads and swapping life stories with a group of HIV+ people. Sometimes it is preaching at church or teaching at a conference. Sometimes it is planning a trip for American teams to come and experience life and ministry in Africa. Sometimes it is fixing computers or cars or plumbing or any of the other thousand things my husband knows how to fix. Sometimes it is writing/teaching Bible studies. I seem to spend a lot of time cooking and driving in my car to random places in Southern Africa. Lol!

It seems to boil down to a few things for us. We want to help Africans become more like Christ, we want to give tools to African leaders so that they can grow their churches, reach more people for Christ, and serve/be lights in their communities to draw more people to Christ.

Our mission organization calls themselves a “Barnabas Mission” and I really gel with that idea. Quick background – Barnabas was a guy in the New Testament of the Bible who served alongside this superstar missionary named Paul. Barnabas was just an ordinary man, but he was nicknamed “Son of Encouragement” and basically helped Paul be the extraordinary person in ministry he was known for. In translating this to our life here in Africa – we are not the upfront people all the time. Rather, we serve Africans and work alongside them, coach them, teach them, and love them so that the Africans can better reach the people in their circles of influence for Christ. Doesn’t it make sense that the people who understand the language, culture, history, customs, and cuisine the best are the ones on the front lines communicating the truth of God to others?

We think so too.

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