Last week we had the opportunity to share our stories and our vision for Trieste in a small church in Parksville BC. Can’t tell you how much fun it is to be able to talk up missions in Italy in general, and our mission in particular. The best thing about it was that those who were in the room with us were so engaged with what we had to say. I don’t think that there is a huge resistance to mission work. We just need to share the need, cast a vision, and anyone with a passion for Jesus will, I think and hope, begin to feel the burden.
Talking up missions in Italy is so important because not a lot of people have any sense that Italy might be a mission field. But in comparison to the state of things in much of the world, it is actually incredibly needy. The constant reminder is that missions may include a social work component, and yet can’t be defined by it. Although Italy is a rich and developed place, missionaries are just as necessary there as they are anywhere else.
Plus, talking about our plans just gets me excited like nothing else. Verbalizing something that is internal to us, whatever it may be, makes it so much more real, like we are colouring in a black and white photo. It turns vague ideas and hopeful wishes into possibilities that may, with a little help, come true. Which is good because we hope to do a whole lot more of it.
Maybe this is an argument for evangelism and testimony? What if those who benefit from mission are not only those who get to hear something new, but those who do the telling? In the West we have become so used to apathetic Christians that we assume that this is the norm, but I think that, globally speaking, it is the exception. The difference may be that the church in other areas is more aware of the need for mission, for verbalizing and expressing their faith, and so benefit themselves. Just a theory, but it really does seem that mission begets passion just as much as passion begets mission.
In two short days we will jump in our car and begin the long journey to Thunder Bay and then down to Minneapolis, and back. We are excited by the chance to see old friends and family once again before we leave. Due to the expense of the trip I have only been back once since we move here eight years ago, so this is a rare opportunity. But we also look forward to the chance to talk about the opportunities ahead of us, and invite people to become a part of it, which we will be doing at a couple of churches and hopefully over many cups of coffee.
We still have a ways to go in our fund-raising (a bit more than half left to go) so it feels like there is a lot riding on this trip, although I have to be careful that I don’t expect too little of Jesus and how he can find a way where we can’t. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe and productive journey!