Stephanie Wilkins, USM
May 24, 2017
This question has been constant in my life for the past few years. Whether the question is just me wondering whether I should go, from non-believers who want to know why someone would be eager to spend a summer in a tropical climate without A/C, or a disapproving family member who wants me to be “safe,” the question persists. So, here are several reasons why I go on summer missions…
Scripture is Clear
Throughout scripture, we see God’s desire for all people groups to know and worship Him. Romans 16:26, Revelation 1:9, and Psalm 67 are examples. I am overwhelmed by knowing that although God does not need us to bring others to salvation, He chooses to use us to take the Gospel to all nations. This truth brings me to worship and obedience. Too often I hear people struggling to understand whether they are “called” or not, but the truth is that all believers have The Great Commission. Therefore, we are all called to reach the lost with God’s message of hope. God has lovingly lavished unique gifts and skills on each of us, and we must be willing to leverage it all to further the Gospel. We must also be willing to give up our time and money so that the Kingdom of God can grow. I am challenged to pray for the mindset and understanding that Paul had. “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.” (Galatians 1:15-16, NLT)
The Need is Urgent
I spent last summer serving in Southern Thailand. It was during this time that I was introduced to the reality of lostness: utter brokenness and darkness. I spent a summer among a people who were enslaved to idols, false teachings, sex, and so much more. I spent much of my time weeping and praying over their lostness, but I was also called to action. God revealed to me the responsibility I had to share the hope of Jesus Christ in a hopeless place. The responsibility did not end after I returned home. It’s a responsibility that I will carry through every season of my life. Believers have an obligation to go and share with the lost. Why? For the glorification of the Father. Because the Father loves us, and we love Him. Because we must be obedient, and because we love His people.
Preparation for the Future
I truly believe that as much as summer missions is about reaching the lost, it is also about preparing and equipping you for the plans God has for you in the future. I have seen countless examples of how God has used summer missions to train and prepare students for full time missions, ministry leadership, and being a light in their professional lives. During the past three years, God has used each summer to reveal the desires He has for my life, and I have grown spiritually, more than ever before. So, as 146 of us get ready to go out this summer, I am praying that each of us will make an eternal impact. I am also praying that our willingness to serve will challenge others to be mobilized as well, and that He would reveal the future ministry plans He has for all of us. Please join me in these prayers as we go!