Go and make disciples of all nations…Matthew 28:19
I haven’t been on an official “mission trip” since I was in my youth group at church several years ago. Over 5 years ago. Ok. It was 25+ years ago.
Every time there is a presentation at church about a foreign mission, inside I’m screaming, “ME! ME! ME! I want to go!!” I want to go away and freely love on people in other countries that are impoverished. I want to kiss the babies and hug the women (I will side hug the men because I don’t want anyone to think I’m coming on to their man!) I will tell them that Jesus loves them so much!
The next thoughts I have are usually along the lines of “What would I wear? And I will be a sweaty mess wherever I go so I have got to grow my hair long enough to pull back before I can go tell about Jesus. I guess I would wear the same jeans for a few days before changing, but there’s no way I can re-wear shirts.”
Then I think about my mission field. At the current time, the Lord has me called to the mission field of Mt. Pleasant, SC, my hometown.
During the course of a typical day, I am hard-pressed to find someone who appears outwardly “needy” to me. Most of the folks I run across appear to have it together. Well-dressed people in great cars, with great skin and hair and teeth!!! They are hitting Target, a popular lunch spot or grocery shopping. I count myself blessed to be among these people for this season. Largely dealing with first-world problems.
But they kind of intimidate me.
I find myself at home with those that are not perfectly groomed, those that are clearly down and out and hurting. What to do with this crowd is very obvious for me. I feel a draw to make them smile and tell them how special they are to the Lord and how there is hope in Jesus Christ. I know because He changed me from a “real bad” alcoholic who did all the “real bad” things alcoholics do. He has made me a wife and a mother who has been sober for 15 years! And a person who is successful at holding down part-time jobs for 6 months. But I know that the truth is WE ALL NEED HIM, whether you are wrapped in Vineyard Vines or thread-bare clothing.
The other morning I was asking the Lord to direct my steps, and I knew I had to go to WalMart. That idea alone causes me to fall on my knees in prayer, “Lord, please, make a way so I don’t have to go to that forsaken place.” I pressed on in what my daily chores involved for the moment as in my prayer time the Lord didn’t tell me otherwise.
On the way there I saw a young teenage boy sitting in the grass. Hot off the determination to be bold in my community for Jesus, I thought,
“Well look at him. Sitting there alone. He is probably hungry. Maybe even depressed or in despair! I can help him!” I had passed him before I could stop so I made a u-turn and pulled up beside him. He was maybe 16, with a backpack. He had a few patches of acne, but so did I. It is wrong to have wrinkles and acne at the same time, I’m just sayin’.
He looked a little taken aback.
I said to myself, “Of course he’s surprised that someone stopped to help him.”
He just looked at me and I spoke, “Hey there. How’s it going?”
He replied, “Fine, ” looking a little uncomfortable. God bless it! He didn’t realize I was about to give him hope and encouragement.
I was undeterred. I pressed on, “Are you sure?”
This was going to be a hard case. “Do you need anything?”
I felt courageous with the Lord on my side so I pulled out the big guns! I knew the Lord would protect me! I just wanted to help this lost soul!!!
“Do you want a ride?” I had a huge smile on my face, feeling ready for anything.
He simply looked at me and pointed upwards. My eyes followed his gesture and there I saw the Bus Stop sign.
This poor kid was simply waiting on the bus!!!!! Probably going to class at College of Charleston! In that moment I realized that I probably appeared to him to be a middle-aged cougar creeper! Here he was, minding his own business! Here I come, spotting him, turning my vehicle around and harassing him!
“Hey guy, want a ride? No? Are you sure?” He probably did come to Jesus that day in prayer that the kook-nut lady wouldn’t abduct him!
I got tickled as I realized that this may have been an epic fail in attempts to minister but it did bolster my courage! I know I will reach out again, because I was mortified just then and survived. And who knows? Maybe I watered a seed that had been planted in that boy by someone else. My true hope is that he didn’t call the cops and make a report of a suspicious old lady bothering people!
Blessings and Love!