We spent some time last week with a few missionaries. They were at church as part of an annual celebration of support and awareness for worldwide missions. We met in small groups for a picnic and some shared personal stories from their ministries. A question was posed to one of the missionaries, “What is your greatest need right now?”
The answer didn’t amaze me, it actually affirmed my suspicions-native workers. This guy was from a foreign country and his greatest need was for his own people to become aware of and respond to the needs in their very community.
That’s our greatest need too. In America, we need domestic laborers who are willing to not only see and feel, but to ACT.
Growing up in Southeast Asia, my heart was stirred with compassion to reach the poor and needy. A tiny seed was planted in the deep places of my heart to serve. In college, I had plans to travel to Africa for medical missions. Later in life, I traveled with my husband to Haiti and thought that was the epitome of the mission field. We were bringing hope to the ends of the Earth; carrying out the Great Commission.
And those adventures and dreams were steps of obedience for me. But they revealed something I wasn’t expecting.
We are the ends of the Earth..to people on the other side of the world. And the same darkness over there is leading people to an eternal death here in America. We don’t have to get on a plane and fly to country where we don’t speak the language to bring the Gospel to the broken. We don’t have to struggle to find our place in an unfamiliar land in hopes that we can learn their culture and connect in reliable relationships.
We know this land.
We know these people.
We aren’t much different than the drug-addicted dad or the manic mom. Don’t hide away hoping God will call you into a place that really needs to hear the hope He has to offer. Our similar struggles allow us in. The neighbor that needs a job or the child that is hungry is separated from us by a sidewalk, not an ocean.
You are standing in your mission field.
I’m not diminishing the desires of those called to travel afar. But I am praying our eyes are pried opened to the heartache here. And unless God clearly calls you somewhere else, he’s planted you in the soil of States for purpose. Allow your passion to unravel and change the tide of today by touching the lives within your reach.
We are foster parents to kids who have been abandoned, not by death, but by choice. Over 20,000 of them woke up this morning in our home state. But we can do something about that. Their parents are stuck in cycles of setbacks. We can do something about that. Their future is forlorn. We can do something about that. We must do something about that.
The light that shines the farthest, burns the brightest at home. I don’t know the guy that penned that phrase but he was on point. We’ve got handfuls of hope to share and our own land is longing for it more than ever before.
Foster care is a fight, but it swings open a heavy door the secret garden of beautiful redemption waiting to bloom. We need more hands, more hearts and more heroes willing to invest in and engage the local mission of fated families.
And foster kids are a powerful key to the hearts of the hurting.
Pray. Listen. Go. There’s a lot of work left to do.