I have been checking out mission boards, talking to them, reviewing their web pages, praying, etc. and I feel I am getting close to making a decision. Hopefully. Because I don't have a mission yet I can't say where I'll be. I love the country of Honduras and that's where I hope to return. I feel called to somewhere in Latin America, probably in Central America. If you are like I was before I went to Honduras I had a bit of trouble finding it, so here's a map to help:
It's the darker purple country under Mexico.
Why Honduras? Why Latin America? Well, I think God knows the answer to that question better than I do. He's the One who has put it on my heart to go. Many experts in missions are heralding the call to go to unreached people groups. These groups are primarily in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I agree with the experts that it is hugely important to focus on those groups! However, I don't think that this means abandoning all parts of the world that have a certain percentage of evangelicals (And I don't think the experts would say this either). It's been noted that once the people group has been "reached" there is no longer "missions" there, rather "ministry". Perhaps "ministry" would be a more correct way of saying what I feel God is calling me to, but for this post at least I'll stick to "missions" as it is perhaps more commonly used to describe this kind of work.
The missionaries who came before have done excellent work in evangelizing and discipling. The success of the Gospel in Latin America has been overwhelming. There are churches everywhere. Many businesses have Bible verses printed somewhere in their stores. And in Honduras (at least) there is a national "Day of the Bible". So why do missions there? Because there still is need. The presence of churches and Bible verse signs can be deceiving. Many people are professing Catholics who have mixed Catholicism with animism and superstition. Much like the US, there are people whose lives have been so hard it's difficult for them to imagine a loving God and I believe that God desires His people to be the hands and feet of Jesus in order to love and care for them in order that they may understand God's love. Of course there are Hondurans who have the heart to do these things for them, but not all of them have the resources or training. Resources are much harder to come by there, and taking time away from work to get more education might seem impossible. Latin Americans are being called to become missionaries to other people groups both in their own countries and on the other side of the globe. If you would like a better explanation I would be happy to talk to you one on one or in a small group. It's a lot easier to talk about in person -or even in a phone call or personal email or Facebook chat!
I am not sure of God's exact purpose in calling me to Latin America. I just know that I should not argue. I've spent a lot of time in prayer about it. I've asked God if I should go minister to unreached people groups in India or Southeast Asia, but the answer was that God wants me in Latin America. I think that God has been, is, and will continue to do exciting things in Latin America.
Currently, I'm taking "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" and it's excellent. I highly recommend it. The first week we talked about how we are blessed to be a blessing (that is we are saved so that we can glorify God and bring others to Him so that they can also glorify Him). We are currently studying the Bible so that we can see God's mission purpose in every part--and let me tell you it's mind-blowing. The Old Testament is full of missionary purpose that I never really noticed before. God has been working in the world to make His name know to all peoples from the very beginning.
As Christians none of us are exempt from God's plan to bring the Glory of his name to the peoples of the earth. Some are called to unreached people groups. Some, like myself, to continue a work started by others. And many are called to be lights in their own communities and partners with those who are in foreign countries.
Partners are hugely important to the success of missions and ministry both foreign and domestic. There is the obvious need for funds, but even more important is the need for prayer and encouragement. The word "supporters" is often used for those who give to missions and ministry, but the word "partners" is more fully descriptive of the relationship.
I won't be able to go without financial support, but I won't be able to continue without prayer and encouragement. When you pray for a missionary you are a vital part of that ministry. There is a lot of spiritual warfare and difficult situations and loneliness and homesickness, not to mention the need for prayer for the people missionaries come in contact with. I can't tell you how much it means when you send letters and emails or maybe even come to visit. And partnerships are two way streets. I would love to pray for you and keep in contact! Please let me know if you have any prayer requests.
I hope that you will consider partnering with me as I follow God. It's going to be an adventure. Good thing God gave me a love for adventure!