Who will we follow?
My first missions experience was a two-week trip with my church. It gave me a little insight into a world that was new to me then. My motivation for that trip was more adventure and tourism than anything spiritual, and everybody that knew about my travels was supportive and told me it was great what I did during my holidays.
With my second venture into missions, I committed for a five-month service with OM in Guatemala. This trip came during a time of great spiritual growth, and I felt God wanted me to leave my country to experience Him more deeply. There was also some desire for adventure and to see the world, but I saw a higher purpose in it.
Again, the people around me were really supportive and congratulated me for what I was doing.
After I got back to Switzerland, God had worked in me so much in Guatemala that I felt a strong calling towards missions. So the third time I decided to pursue missions, the commitment was serious. I had to raise support, ask for more prayer, and explain to everybody what I was going to do and why.
That was when the whole thing got much more challenging.
While the decision for the first trip (two weeks) was easy and, for the second one (five months), also not that hard, the third time, it was very different. Suddenly, there were two groups of people. My family and many friends and colleagues were very supportive, and to this day, it is because of them that I can serve the Lord in Guatemala, as they are my sponsors and prayer-circle.
But others tried to explain to me that missions is a waste of time. They said I was just trying to have an easy life, that I should finish studying and get a real job.
I left anyway but only because God assured me that it was the right thing for me, that it was His will for my life. I knew in my heart it was the path God had prepared.
So wherever you are right now, if you are at the point of entering missions full time or just curious like I was at the beginning, be aware of the following:
- Every person has his own opinions about missions and often likes to share it. We missionaries would like everyone to join and serve; others have a rather negative opinion about missions. But the Lord's paths are different for everybody.
- Listen to the people around you, especially trusted friends and family, and value their input. Listen to your heart, your motivation, and desires. But most of all, listen to God and what He has to say! In the end, you have to decide whom to follow.
PS: If you are unsure about missions and if it’s the right thing for you, just start small. OM and other organisations have tons of short-term opportunities (ranging from a few days to a few months), often even closeby.