25 May 2021
I remember my high school English teacher dropping a random comment in a conversation one day: “I think that one day you’re going to be a missionary”. I laughed… and I laughed… and I laughed. A missionary? Me? In my mind, a ‘missionary’ was first and foremost a white person (probably American). Secondly, missionaries wore awkward length skirts, strangely patterned shirts and Jesus sandals, which (for reasons that I am still yet to understand) they were constantly throwing off in order to walk around barefoot.
So how on earth could I, a dark-skinned Kenyan girl with a dislike of skirts and an aversion to dirty feet, ever be a missionary?
The conversation disappeared from my mind, nothing but a vague memory of a funny incident with a quirky teacher who clearly didn’t have any clue about the type of people God sends to other countries to proclaim the gospel.
The reality is, there aren’t many people out there who look like me, who sound like me or who have a story similar to mine, who have put their hands up to cross cultures for the sake of the gospel. When you don’t have many models to work with, it’s easy to think that the calling simply does not apply to you. It took a long time for God to dismantle my misconceptions about what it means to be a cross-cultural gospel worker.
It began with a simple question in a still, small voice: “Rather than focusing on what you’re not, why don’t we just start with what I’ve already given you? Your passport, the languages you grew up with, the family you were born into, the things you’ve experienced… How might these things come together to meet the gospel need in places where people don’t yet know Me?”
It’s too easy to unwittingly disqualify ourselves from being used by God in a cross-cultural mission context. We shake our heads and laugh it off, relegating the option to ‘other’ people. Older people. Younger people. People from particular cultural settings. People with particular kinds of families. People with particular skill sets… But what if God wants to use you?
Here’s a challenge: Take a moment to write down all the reasons why you should not go to a different cultural context to share the gospel. Be honest with yourself. Some of the reasons may be perfectly legitimate; going is not always what God wants us to do. However, you may find some reasons are based on misconceptions you may have about who can go. Have you unconsciously disqualified yourself before seriously asking God whether He may want to reach the unreached through you?
What would it look like for you to start the conversation? With God? With your family? With Pioneers? Sometimes the conversation can start with a simple ‘What if…?’
-K, a Pioneers worker in preparation.
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