“Are all believers of Christ called to be missionaries?” I used to think missionaries are only a chosen group of people who God calls to leave their native land and serve overseas. But the word “missionary” simply means somebody who is sent. As followers of Christ, I think we are all sent, we’re all drawn into Christ and we are sent out by Christ to live in the world as witnesses for Christ. In this sense, we are all called to be good witnesses wherever God has placed us.
During this pandemic, for most of us, home has become the place where we spend most of our time. And as we are restricted from travelling (either for holiday or for missionary work), home has become the place where we take notice of needs that have gone unnoticed before in our own land, such as the marginalized, the poor and the homeless.
Maybe this is the time that “missionary work begins at home” speaks much louder than at any other time.
Earlier this year, I opened my house to shelter a teenage girl who sought help through MSF. She needed a quiet and safe place to stay in preparation for her ‘O’ levels this year. She had been moving around different homes but could not find a place where she felt physically and psychologically safe. It was my prayer that my home could be a place of blessing to others. God answered my prayer by bringing her to stay for a short period of time.
However, receiving strangers to stay is not the same as inviting friends, or even strangers home for meals…
Throughout her stay, I came to experience more of what it means for convenience and space to be compromised, many adjustments to be made, patience to be tested, and love capacity to be stretched.
Though the girl left unexpectedly after two months, I am thankful to God for the opportunity to participate in her life, for being able to listen to her stories, pray for her, give her hugs, hold her and tell her how much God loves and cares. As I look back at this “short trial” of house opening, God opened my eyes to see many physical and spiritual needs around me. Matthew 25: 34-40 came to me when I was reflecting on this experience:
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
We are indeed the blessed sons and daughter of God, we are the righteous when we obey the Word of God, living out our faith in actions and deeds. And the righteous are promised to inherit the kingdom of God.
God has called each of us a missionary. Being a missionary is indeed possible at home if we are willing to open our homes, share all God has blessed us with and embrace brokenness, messiness and homelessness.
Let’s all learn and strive to love like how Jesus loves. And let love begin from home.
By sister Melody Chen