I've found that there seems to be two types of reactions when I tell people that I'm a called to international missions.
#1- Why do you have to go "over there" ?
#2 There's a mission field right here ( meaning the USA
#3- God didn't call you. That's just you wanting to go ( yes I know I said two but this came to mind as I was typing 1 and 2 )
Here is my response :
#1 Why do you have to go "over there"- My simple answer is I go because I feel called to do it . It would be much easier (and Lord knows) less expensive to stay here but I feel the call to go. God has made it very clear in my life that I will more than like be spending a lot of time outside the US. Matter of fact, in 2008 while in Ghana , West Africa the Lord told to me that He made me for this type of work . Powerful words. I have been made to do ministry in an international missional context. I don't think this limits my work here stateside but it does give me an assignment and focus( more on focus later).
#2 There is a mission field right here - I just had this conversation on Saturday after church and my answer to this gentleman was the same as it's been to the others" everyone is not called to the same place". This does not negate the work that needs to be done in the US , it just means that everyone has a different call, a different burden. Our job is to be faithful to the area where we are .
I also think this statement comes up because so much of the spotlight is focused on international missions that it takes away from what is done on the local level. International missionaries are featured in magazines and used for mission stories on Sabbath, but what about the local missionaries . Who is telling their stories? Does this "glorification " on the I.M cause an us vs them attitude? Something to ponder .
Lastly, #3 God didn't tell you to go. You just wanted to go .
If you have tried to explain yourself and that person still feels is way , the only thing you can do is pray for them. They don't get it and you can't make them understand . That's the Lord work, He is the only one who can change the heart and mind. This statement can be very painful if it comes from a family member or friend. We desire those we care about to support us but that may not always be the case . Remember that folks didn't always understand what Jesus was doing and they won't always understand what or why you do what you do . Trust Jesus and love them but stay focused.God is with you .
What type of response have you encountered when you were doing your "thing" for the Lord ?