You skim over an article telling of their adventures, living in a small thatched hut with only thin bamboo walls separating those inside from mysterious jungles, wild animals and savage tribes. A picture of a gauzy mosquito net wafts in the humid breeze. Another picture is of a man standing on a dirt floor in front of a crowd, wearing Khaki shorts and holding a threadbare Bible. Scroll down, and there's a photo of a woman in a simple linen dress reading Bible stories to barefoot orphans.
It hits you. More than anything you have ever been sure of, you are sure that you need to be on a plane tomorrow with a one-way ticket to someplace like that. You are called to be a missionary. At least, you're pretty sure of it.
Many people have moments that cause them to consider heading toward the mission field. Some are valid and altruistic while others are questionable and perhaps a bit selfish. For example, for some people, the call to the mission field is more of:
- A perfect escape from the paperwork mountain and high-pressure deadlines of their jobs
- A way to appease the guilt of living in relative luxury while others are destitute
- A place for a person who is unsure of their calling
- A possible adventure of a lifetime in a far away land
Is your desire for the mission field based on how this work would affect you or others? Do your thoughts consist of, "I would love to live there. I would have such a great time. I have so many skills to share." Or, are you thought more in line with, "Ã‚ÂœThey are in such desperate need of help. They are hopeless if someone doesn't share the Gospel with them. They need someone to teach them some new skills to improve their living conditions." Do you catch the drift?
What kind of spiritual activities were you involved in when the desire for the mission field began to develop? Was it in a time of deep communion with the Lord? Was your prayer life was consistent? Was it a result of a preaching series at your church, when your heart was stirred with the call? If so, that is a good sign. If these desires began to stir during a time of an inconsistent prayer life, discontentment with your current circumstances, a time of disunity in your heart toward members of your church, or some other negative situation, then stay put.
Have you had strong confirmation from the Word of God and in your prayer time? If you feel peace and the leading of the Holy Spirit that your call to the mission field is of Him, then take it to your spiritual leaders. Do they agree? The Bible says that, "In a multitude of counselors, there is safety." (Prov. 24:6b) We all need the safety of counsel from leaders who guard us from stupidity and less-than-ideal choices. Though it is hard to admit, we can have self interest in mind and will try an turn our humanly desires into something spiritual. We can lie to ourselves until we actually believe it is true. Thus the need for wise counsel.
If after answering the above questions truthfully and you still feel confident that missions is your call, then most likely it is time to start thinking about how to decorate that hut!