What does it mean to be a missionary?
One definition of the word ‘missionary’ is ‘one who is sent on a mission, especially one sent to do religious or charitable work’. Often we think of missions as going out into the nations to share the good news of Jesus Christ. However, neither of these ideas encompass the act of giving little pieces of your heart to every person you meet along the way, as I have found myself doing. Those definitions don’t prepare you for how God will daily break your heart for the lives of complete strangers. You see, in missions, I believe you must have a heart which is soft towards God and others, and if you do, you may find that your heart will be broken and put back together daily, if not multiple times a day. I believe being a missionary means going into countries, towns, and homes and loving the people you meet as Jesus did. It’s allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you, and when He does, it can bring you in contact with brokenhearted people.
It was day four of our outreach in Windale, a suburb of Newcastle, Australia, and I had been invited to share a message at a local church. On this morning a woman came along who didn’t regularly attend the church, and after speaking with her I could see she was extremely closed off from both God and people. However, at the end of the service, after I’d shared, she approached me and began asking questions.
As we talked, she opened up to me, sharing about her life, telling me her story and confiding in me that because she felt unloved and unnoticed by both people and God, she was ready to end her life that week.
Each word she shared impacted me deeply, it was as if this woman was my best friend. I was overcome with an urgency to show her how much God loves her. We continued talking but I wasn’t able to go as deep with her as I would have liked in the time available. I left feeling very unsettled because I wasn’t able to encourage her in the way I had hoped.
Feeling helpless and worried that she would take her life, I did the best thing I could: I interceded and fought for her in prayer. I held on to my knowledge that our God is faithful, and prayed that He would give her the strength to hang on and bring her back to church the following Sunday. After praying for her all week, I walked into the church and was relieved and overjoyed to see her sitting in the same back corner as before! Pulling out the chair next to her, I told her about God’s love for her. We continued talking for over 45 minutes. I ended our conversation by saying there was nothing she could do to stop me praying and caring for her. As the tears ran down her face, I told her there was nothing she could do to stop God from relentlessly pursuing her!
We parted ways and I reflected on how she had found a spark of hope to hold onto.
She hadn’t gone through with her plan to take her life. Her tears indicated a softening of her heart, and I knew I’d done all God called me to do in that situation. Even though she felt like she was incapable of giving or receiving love and was running away from the idea of someone loving her, God planted a seed within her that day, and He won’t give up on her!
by Summer Stanton
YWAM Compassion DTS student