One of the most important lessons that I learned while in Australia was about the mission field. I met many who had gone on overseas missions, who had gotten involved in YWAM, or who had served simply on a short-term trip through their church. At home as well I have friends who have gone to various hurting parts of the world, places that desperately crave the touch of Jesus, in order to teach and minister. I think that oftentimes Christians think that the most prominent way to spread God’s Word is to traverse the globe searching for lost souls. What I found during my time in Australia, however, is that sometimes God allows you – with the gifting that He has bestowed – to call the mission field to yourself. You don’t necessarily need to go to the ends of the earth in order to spread the Good News of Christ; you can do it in your own home, in your own backyard.
I think that this is part of the beauty in homestays, particularly when these homestays take place in a Christian home. My host family used the platform that they had in bringing students into their home as their ministry. They routinely bring students from many varying nations into their home, quite a few coming from Japan and Korea, and many of whom are strangers to Christ and to the Gospel. During the season that they spend in a Christian household, seeds have the opportunity to be planted and Christ’s love is shown in such a palpable and real way. Through seeing this, it was impressed upon me as never before that God doesn’t always need us to up and leave everything in order to do His will; He simply helps us to optimize the gifts that He has already given so that we are capable of following the path that He has set before us. While going on missions trips is so needed and valuable, for some it may be of more use to the Kingdom to simply stay where you are at and allow God to work through you where you are.
In short, I learned not to discount the power of being a missionary in your own hometown; there are an abundance of lost souls no matter where you go (or where you don’t). The important thing is to listen to God’s prompting and be willing to be used by Him.
More reflections from Down Under.