When I was little, I always had a vision of being a missionary. At my church in Willcox, we had a missionary come to town. The stories he told fascinated me. There were also books that Pastor Harry wanted us to read. He challenged us to read about missionaries from all over the world. I can’t remember exactly how the challenge went, but I was ready to learn more about what missionaries the were doing. The great adventures and life changing events spoke to my inner self. I was bent on being a missionary in Africa. Nothing would stop me, or so it seemed. God had other plans and Africa was not in them.
I never did make it to Africa to save the people. There were many ups and downs when it came to struggles in my life. I was disappointed that I never got to go out to win people over for Christ. As a Christian, I felt that needed to go out and proclaim to anyone and everyone that Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life. We are told in Matthew 28:19 that we are to reach out to “all the nations”. I felt I was a failure when it came to reaching those who have never heard about Jesus Christ.
I live in Utah and this is a place I never ever thought about moving to. In my mind everyone that lives in Utah are Mormons and they all practice polygamy. I wanted no part in this strange and unusual place. My husbands work asked us to come and check it out. We were planning on moving to Texas when he got hired, NOT UTAH. We humored his new boss by checking the area and I have to say that we feel in love with it.
We did end up moving to Utah and we have been here for over 20 years. We attend the same church and have made many Mormon friends. The reason I am bringing up the whole living in Utah and it being a Mormon (LDS) state is because of how they are known by sending out missionaries to other countries. They were doing what I have always dreamed of doing. The positives that I have learned and observed about the Mormon Missionaries is that any place is a mission field. They young men and women are going out two by two into the world. There are some who have stayed close to home and others are being sent out to all parts of the world.
These young people from other countries are sent to Utah to reach out and share their faith. They see my town and area as a mission field. Many years ago while I was observing, it became apparent that reaching out to “all the nations” didn’t mean that I had to hop on a jet and go to Africa, and raise my hands in the air and giving a shout out that I am here to save the day. He was referring to groups of people who have never heard the Gospel. I have found that many of those around me have never read the Bible, which means that they have no idea who their Lord and Savior is. How is it that someone can make a decision about what is the truth when they have never heard or been exposed to the Bible.
We live in the worlds biggest mission field here in the good old USA. I am the Missions and Outreach Team Leader at my church. We are in the beginning stages of reaching out to students at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. As my helpers and myself hand out invitations and bottled water, it became apparent that I live right in the middle of a much-needed missions field. These young adults need to know that they are loved. We have to do more than just preaching at them, we need to share the message of salvation of Jesus Christ. We must show them that Jesus lives.
On our grand opening, we met young adult students from all over the world. Those who come from places such as Turkey, Ethiopia, Germany, China and the USA needs to feel loved and safe. My church is directly across the street from the University. When we talked to those from other countries, they were more receptive o the love of Jesus Christ. It is important to remember that God loves each and every one of us and He loves them. We are given the perfect opportunity to be living examples of Christs love.
We are called to share the Gospel with all nations. This is our calling. You don’t have to take off to another country in order to reach out to others. We have the responsibility to show the love of Jesus Christ. By doing this we are showing those who don’t know Jesus that the Holy Spirit transforms us more and more into the image of Jesus.
My heart was set on going to Africa. My church supports a number of foreign ministries like Craig and Allison Fowler with CMF. They started up around 15 churches in Ethiopia. Allison is a nurse and runs a clinic among the Gumuz Tribe. Even though we aren’t there physically serving, we are faithfully supporting those who go out and reach the unreachable. Each and every one of us are missionaries. All Christians should be sharing Christ to those in our homes, our friends and our community.
Christians have a responsibility to learn and study the Bible and to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Before moving to Utah, I would bear my testimony and witness to others. I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on. Since moving here, I have found that I need to always be prepared and ready to defend my faith. I have never had any issues with the LDS people. Some of my best friends are LDS. I have a great deal of respect for them.