Saturday, November 13, 2010

Urban Missionary

What is a "MISSIONARY"?
I did a google search of images for missionaries and without much surprise almost every picture displayed was of people overseas. The past month or so I have been struggling when it comes to calling myself a missionary. When I was little and in AWANA we had to interview a missionary in order to complete our books. The only missionaries I knew of were people who were serving God in a foreign country. No one ever told me that you can be a missionary in the United States. A harsh reality that keeps me on my toes is this: Urban America is one of the least reached people groups in the world. Why is that? Honestly, I believe it is because as middle class Americans we're scared to go into the ghetto. In the ghetto parts of America there are shootings regularly, drug and alcohol use, abuse, and trash and glass all over the sidewalks. If I wouldn't have started working for Camp Kearney five years ago, I may never have experienced the ghetto. I grew up in a comfortable town, where I was loved on by my parents, friends and church. The first time I stepped into the South Side of Peoria and walked into the housing projects it was like I experienced culture shock. I didn't know people lived like that so close to my comfortable life. That first summer working with urban kids changed my life forever. God has led me into some pretty dangerous areas, but I have walked in there with confidence because I know that is where God is leading me. I want to call myself a MISSIONARY but satan keeps attacking me and telling me that I can't be a missionary unless I go overseas. No where in the Bible does it say GO OVER SEAS. Instead it commands us to go and make disciples to every tribe and nation. Why do we think that command excludes The United States of America? We are far from being a Christian nation, and that is not okay with me. I want to make a change by starting with one of the least reached people groups in the world. I never realized until recently that the unreached were literally at my fingertips. My first experiences of missions were overseas, Romania, Mexico, and the Philippines. The picture above is from the Philippines. God has given me a new mission: GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES IN DETROIT. There is no turning back, this is my command that God has given me. No fear, no hesitation.. HERE AM I, LORD, SEND ME!

Moody Bible Institute

I am facing a bittersweet reality right now... in a month from now I will graduate from college. I will be expected to leave Moody Bible Institute, and that is it; I'M DONE! I have started to get emotional about this. It seems silly, but I'm going to be really sad when it comes to leaving MBI. They have treated me well, I have been incredibly blessed to attend this school. As students we're reminded all the time how "lucky" we are to have been accepted, because for every student that is accepted to MBI there are 4 who wanted to be but were rejected. By far MBI is the best Christian college in the country, with such a biblical focus for ministry, I couldn't imagine going anywhere else. I was in chapel the other day and it was a special "DAY ONE" day, which is college visit day. I was looking around at all the hopeful high school students and realized I was just like them not to long ago. I visited MBI fall of my senior year of high school. Upon stepping foot on the campus I knew right away this was the school God was leading me to. I had no idea the amount of hoops I would have to jump through, and how many lessons of patience I would learn while I waited to be accepted. But in the end, here I sit at MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE about to graduate. It will be an enormous privilege to be a graduate of MBI. I have learned more than I ever could have dreamed, some things have stuck more than others though. Originally when I came to MBI the plan was to graduate and go overseas and work in an orphanage. Wow, have things changed... Not only has God closed the door for me to go overseas I am now being led to what is known as the "worst city in America" right now. Talk about culture shock compared to the cornfield county I grew up in. MBI has broadened by view on so many things.

I know i'm going to miss MBI more than I can even comprehend at this time. The community is something that can't be duplicated. 1700 students all studying to further the kingdom of God, all focused on the same goal. I think I might have taken the past 3 years for granted. But all in all I can't help but be eternally grateful. Thank you, Lord for this amazing experience. It wasn't always easy, but it was way worth it!