Missionaries & Their Service

Whether black, white, Asian, or Hispanic, people are people, so why not make a difference in their lives?  Many speak the same language, but some argue they speak different languages. Be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, or Japanese, but does it really matter which language they speak?  They are definitely one in Christ even if they communicate in their native dialect.  To identify with a particular group often politicians will say a few words in their language, but do they really understand them?  This may happen especially during an election year when we see candidates making pitches to specific blocks of voters.  It may be at synagogue by speaking a few Hebrew words, rubbing shoulders with rabbis, and trying to convince Jewish folk they know about their culture.

But regardless who these people are, it’s good for them to know who they really are.  Steve Jobs (1955–2011), a pioneer of the personal computer revolution said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  A measure of what people become is what they keep coming back to, reminding them to take that next step in pursuing their dreams.  This is true, for their conscience keeps telling them to invest in a particular ministry.

Making a Connection

Some people – young and old alike, make decisions to join the Peace Corps.  While others participate in a Fulbright programs to Asian, African, or South American countries.  They live with the natives, teaching them to plant crops, build wells, and construct homes.  They teach English as a foreign language in their schools.  Missionaries are involved in outreach programs to villages, while working alongside different ethnic groups in remote areas.  By so doing they are fulfilling Christ’s mission in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Interestingly Maya Angelou (1928–2014), an author, and poet wrote, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you.  May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all.  I may not dance your dances or speak your language.  But be a blessing to somebody.  That’s what I think.”  Angelou explained in her own way the missionary service we’re taught to do as believing Christians.

Non-Verbal Contact

To begin understanding people call for more than being able to master the spoken word.  It comes through the Holy Spirit who works in diverse ways.  People also communicate with their eyes and bodies.  Missionaries can see these in natives who seek their help.  With good interpersonal communication barriers are broken down.  But we all have one spirit in common.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a Westerner dressed in fashionable clothes, or a beggar in rags.  It’s the Holy Spirit who dismantles communication barriers.

Barbara Bush (b. 1925), a former first lady of the United States said, “Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.”  With God each human is a friend and a family member.  It doesn’t matter if they live in a small Guyanese town like Ituni, or a faraway place like Timbuktu.  In building up the body of Christ volunteers would come to know like Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist that “the only source of knowledge is experience.”  As Christians these missionaries bring their experiences to the building blocks of life, and knowledge to make the world a better place to live, paving the way for mankind’s eternal future.

People & Church

People go to church for many reasons, but there are some bad and good ones.  It’ll be good to follow the advice of a former French Catholic priest Abbe Pierre (1912–2007), who said, “It’s not enough to attend church and pray every Sunday; you have to act.”

Bad Reasons

Some may say that they go to church because on Sundays their family always attends church.  They are simply following in their footsteps.  It’s tradition.  You would hear it often said, “We grew up in the church, so that’s why we’re in church?”  This declaration doesn’t necessarily make complete sense as the main reason for wanting to attend a church.

Then, there are those who say that although they were never faithful about church going, it’s time to go.  The reason being that they ought to lay down roots some place.  They argue some churches won’t marry them when they are ready to wed a loved one.  Some older people feel they have to be at a church that will bury them when they die.  They may see this death as problematic to their family if they aren’t a church member.  But these are still wrong reasons for going to church.

It doesn’t matter which church a person attends, but if he or she does so for this next reason they will be out of order.  I have heard it said, “I want to meet a good Christian woman, so I’ll find a church, and I’ll meet the right person.  Just don’t worry with the type that goes to nightclubs.”  People who say these things are also missing the real reasons about what a church is all about.

 Good Reasons

Michele Bachmann (b. 1956), a Republican and former member of the United States House of Representatives, serves as a good example of a Christian upbringing.  She wrote, “I was born in a Christian family and brought up in a Lutheran church.  My faith has been the center point of my life, really, since I was a child, but at 16 years of age, I fully surrendered my life over to Christ.  At that point, as a teenager, I began to grasp the concept of Christ’s true love and forgiveness.”

Some people may not like Bachmann’s politics, but it’s a wonderful thing to be introduced to a church as a child.  It doesn’t matter which church it is, as long as it’s Christian, and preaches the Word of God.  As a new member you’ll be baptized into the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.  The pastor often reminds his or her congregation that they must help raise such a child in their community as a Christian.  As the child grows up to become an adolescent, his or her parents will see to it that he or she is confirmed by the pastor or bishop.  This rite indicates the child has attained the age of responsibility, and is matured enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

What is required?

As such persons grow in the faith’s tradition of their church – be it Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Baptist, they will be attending Christian formation classes.  They will come to realize that they have been blessed with gifts, talent, and treasure that must be shared with their community.

Since they are now part of the body of Christ they will endeavor to fulfill their special missions.  As older individuals they may discover they have the gift of giving and/or teaching.  As a result they may do charitable work.  They might work with manna, feed the poor and homeless, collect clothing for the underprivileged, and contribute funds to organizations e.g., cancer society, diabetic association, and mental health groups – only to mention a few of these.

Once they complete college and working they will tithe.  Daily they read the Scriptures, attend a Bible study group, religious seminars, and are spiritually prepared to take the next step in life.  Now they are planning for marriage.  There’s no problem, for through their church they are able to receive from their pastor marriage counseling.  So when it comes time to marry the groundwork is well laid.  Once married the couple may be blessed with children.  They will have them baptized at their church, and the cycle starts over again.

In their church they will celebrate baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, and anniversaries.  Their family’s involvement is a living symbol to the other members of their church and community.  They will have cultivated a variety of experiences while being a part of their church.  But through it all they know that it’s their calling to help build up the body of Christ.

As much older adults they are sure to find peace of mind.  So when dad and/or mom become ill and dies, in their afflictions they are assured that there’ll be a fitting Mass at their church.  Further, they are certain that once they exit this earthly plain they will enjoy everlasting life in heaven.

Seek Lasting Peace

A life of prayer will be the light of your life.  It’s abundant and filled with the Word of life.  And it’s how believers know that they are living under God’s protection.  In this world they themselves become instruments of peace.  These people always pray for the Lord’s guidance and security.  They live triumphantly in the Christian faith and with joy shout, “Shalom! Peace!”

Rosalyn Carter (b. 1927), the wife of Jimmy Carter, president of the United States said, “You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried.  If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk.”  How prayerful people are, doesn’t mean there will always be peace on the horizon.  Even with our best efforts negotiations fall apart.  But as Carter puts it, still it’s best to keep trying.

Transform Lives

Prayer warriors must visualize achieving wholesome lives.  They ought to live honestly by illuminating others, while doing so with serenity.  In letting light shine not only within their hearts, but externally for all to see.  This is how they show the world their beliefs in Christ.  It’s therefore right that such peace begin in their homes, thus enabling them to persevere as peace-makers.  Without peace worldly demons torment us.  But peace takes courage, and bears fruits with happy lives.  In achieving peace people wave olive branches of tranquility.

Thomas A. Edison (1847–1931), an inventor and businessman wrote, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  Peace as an effort we must pursue.  At all costs try, even if you fail in your efforts.  But like Edison explained it’s acceptable to keep trying.

Truths about Living

In life there are some basic truths.  We learn these by the way we live.  This hope is to pursue an everlasting love with Christian beliefs.  With such a life we’ll touch justice, and be blessed with the security in our hearts.  What disappears is a transient peace.

Mike Huckabee (b. 1955), a politician, minister, and governor of Arkansas wrote, “Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’  And I think a lot of people don’t understand that’s there’s a difference between a peace lover and a peace maker.  Everybody loves peace, but wearing jewelry around your neck and saying ‘I love peace’ doesn’t bring it.”  Huckabee’s observation is correct, but jewelry as an expression of peace also has a place in a believer’s life.  It’ll give him or her something to hope for, dream of, and pray about.

 Live in Peace

To live in peace is the way how we live well gloriously.  For many it may be by being faithful to their church.  It’s living compassionately by shining our light on others.  In so doing, we’ll be expressing joy in helping people become peace-makers.  Through our actions the society will change.  With peaceful co-existence our existence will be enhanced.  Anne M. Mulcahy (b. 1952), a former chairperson and CEO of Xerox corporation said, “There’s nothing quite as powerful as people feeling that they can have impact and make a difference.  When you’ve got that going for you, I think it’s a very powerful way to implement change.”  Mulcahy provides ideas about people doing what they love.  This is especially needed with the lasting peace that we seek.

Gifted with Patience

To be gifted with patience is to have peace and joy.  People free from darkness have wisdom, tenderness, and love.  These are the beginnings of a boundless path that’s faithful to Almighty God.  Moreover these are simply expressions of caring in Christ, who loves his creation.  Through him we’ll come to know his healing presence, and what it is to love, and serve others.

Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015), a Christian televangelist, pastor and motivational speaker said, “Never cut a tree down in the winter time.  Never make a negative decision in the low time.  Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods.  Wait.  Be patient.  The storm will pass.  The spring will come.”  It’s all well and good for Christians to make decisions in promoting their churches’ agenda, but Schuller feels this must be done at the right time.  We have to be patient, and wait for those special moments.

Patience in Weaving

 To be effective believers must weave their plans like yarn to achieve the best results.  Let them undertake ministries when they are joyful, and free from anxieties.  They ought to use opportunities to nurture the weak, hopeful in reviving the comatose, and persevere in faithful prayers.  While optimistic they must be watching for better results, fighting the good fight, and kindling the fires of hopefulness.  With love there are golden rays of delight in lifting their crosses towards heaven.  In building these bridges, this is how they will discover the greatest friendships of their lives.  They are able to witness these expressions when they embraced his true love.

Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988), a theoretical physicist wrote, “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”  This statement readily sums up the interrelationships of our loving-kindness that permeates the depths of our souls.

Peace & Joy

Much of what’s centered on a well-lived life is by finding peace and joy.  People become free from the bondage of sin.   They touch serenity and their hearts are filled with the oil of gladness.  This happens when Christians are practitioners of Christ’s teachings.  They evangelize as they look forward to their eternal rewards.  This is trustworthy love that’s based on truth.  Greg Anderson (b. 1966), a current personal trainer said, “Focus on the journey, not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing the activity but in doing it.”  Anderson may well be talking about athletes, or those in our physical culture.  But for Christians joy is found not only in our spiritual walk, but in the abundance of rewards in unexpected places.

New Every Morning

Whatever people end up doing be sure to proceed with happiness, because around every corner there may be surprises, and teachable moments.  The power in the Word is like a furnace that’s igniting love.  Such is the mystery when people show love and feed the poor.  While volunteering their service charitable workers are able to tap into this phenomenon.  This special kind of love is put into practice by helping the least among us.

Leo Buscaglia (1924–1998), an author, motivational speaker and professor of Special Education at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  It’s for believers to use these subtle and not-so-subtle ways to promote goodness among people.  Buscaglia’s words are useful especially when interacting with less fortunate in our midst.  These compliments though will work for everyone in every place most of the time.