Right now, as I write this I know about fifteen people who are currently in the mission field in various parts of the world. I probably know another two dozen who have been overseas, including my wife who accompanied me to Sierra Leone, Africa and myself who also went to Guyana (South America) a few years ago. A man I pastor sends hundreds of people every year all over the globe on short term mission trips to share Jesus with every people group on the planet. People I know from a local biker church and it's sponsoring congregation have been to India and some will be going back to India soon.
This is all amazing to me considering that we live in a relatively sparsely populated county in North Texas. I support these people through various means: prayer, finances, burden bearing, banking and storing their belongings while they are gone. I believe in what they are doing and rejoice to hear of the salvations, healings, deliverances, encouragement, etc. that happen on their watch in the mission field. I believe in what they are doing.
I led off with that because I wanted to make sure that what I write about the rest of the mission field didn't make you think that I somehow disesteemed the foreign mission field. I value both, but one seems neglected.
Did you know that Christians in Africa and elsewhere in the world are sending missionaries to the United States? It's true. Some, to be sure, are going to specific people groups such as individual Native American tribes but many are coming to live in our urban and rural areas as well. Its becoming evident to the entire world that the USA is not a Christian nation despite its obvious strong Christian beginning.
Let's say we were to dismiss obvious things, such as the media championing sinful sexual behaviors, drunkenness, lawlessness and various occult practices and the promotion of ANY spiritual belief system (including the religion known as atheism) but Christianity. Even then, we wouldn't have to look far to see evidence that Christianity is no longer setting a tone in our nation. Pretty much anything else is.
Its become increasingly rare for a person's word to mean anything. Stealing and lying are rampant as are adultery, divorce, murder and a host of other behaviors that the Lord teaches us is sin.
My point is this: we don't have to go overseas to go into the mission field. All we have to do is step outside our doors. The mission field is everywhere!
"Then He said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'" (Luke 10:2)
Many people I know bemoan the fact that they cannot afford to take off work and get on a plane to fly to some other part of the world and bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to that place. There have been many times I have felt the same way but the truth is that if the Lord wanted me to do that He would have made the funds available - as He has at times. The rest of the time I live in the rest of the mission field: my neighborhood, town, county, state and nation.
Jesus says to the first Christians (and to we Christians today):
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
The nation in which you live is one of "all the nations." The whole world is lost - that's why it's such a mess. Meanwhile, you actually live in "the mission field". That word "go" in the Great Commission literally means "as you are going".
So, when you go to work - you are in the mission field. When you go to school - you are in the mission field. When you go shopping - you are in the mission field. When you get your hair or nails done - you are in the mission field. When you go on vacation - you are in the mission field.
What should you do in this mission field?
BE BORN AGAIN.
Build relationships with the people around you. Live a clean, transparent life. Become known as a giving person. Listen to others when they need someone to hear them. Keep your word. Deal with others fairly. Serve other people. Do without some things you really crave. Be uncomfortable.
Finally, "always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear..." (1 Peter 3:15)
As we (sadly) live in a nation that is in such disorder and that seems to be typified by greed and selfishness, anyone who allows Jesus to live His life through them will stand out. People will want to know why we care about them....why we live like we do. Then, we tell them about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how they can also have Him.
If you ever talk with people who live on the foreign mission field for any length of time you will find that this is how they conduct their lives: they live with the people, build relationships with them and serve them. Then they share the hope that is in Jesus.
I pray this is encouraging to you - especially those of us in "the rest of the mission field."
I would add that this does not in any way take away from the importance of financially and prayerfully supporting those in foreign mission service or even going yourself, should the Lord prompt you to do so.