Here I Am. Send Me to Where I Am.

Local missions is something that seems very scary to many of us. At first, this statement might catch you off guard, but I challenge you to really think about what it means to serve the least of these right where you are. Being in the homes of those whom others may view as undeserving, detestable, dangerous, evil, sick, etc., can feel uncomfortable. We know the truth—that we are all loved by God more than we can imagine—so did God call us to follow His calling but only if it’s comfortable?

This month we have been focusing on the topic of “dirt” (how God works through the hard times, the challenging things, the valleys of our walk where we need Him most) in our theme #GoGrowChange. I encourage you to listen to Nathan Metz, WGM missionary and pastor, as he talks about sending you right where you are. Nathan and Jade Metz are missionaries to Uganda, serving in pastoral training and compassionate ministries.

“Nathan was challenged by our pastor from Marion, Indiana, to answer the question, ‘What would you do if tomorrow God called you to Marion instead of Uganda?’ Applying basic missionary strategies to hometown neighborhoods, Nathan unpacks a theology of missions with practical and meaningful application. Watch below!” Jade Metz

This video is from Nathan and Jade’s ministry blog and is courtesy of Brookhaven Wesleyan Church.

As you think about this sermon, ask God to open your eyes to what He has called you to today—right here, right now—and ask the Holy Spirit to move in you.

The Trauma of Ministry

nathan-and-jade-metz

God calls all of us to the mission field, whether it is in our hometown or across the ocean. For Nathan and Jade Metz, the call led them to Uganda, Africa, where they focus on pastoral training and compassionate ministries. In a post from their ministry blog, they speak about the difficulties of a life lived on the field. Read on to learn how God allows us to feel great sympathy and deep pain for those we build meaningful relationships with daily.

“I’m traumatized.  God directed me into the dark.  I trusted Him and I took His hand.  He led me to a place I didn’t know, to people with their problems and their pain.  His love stretches to the ends of the earth and in that end His servants toil, sharing the Gospel for His glory.  So I’m a soldier.  I’m a fighter.  I’m traumatized.

“There is a trauma in ministry that is rarely spoken of.  Perhaps it is an embarrassment to some.  Perhaps it is misunderstood.  For many, it marks failure and signifies the beginning of the end.  Ministry to the Lord has stripped me of comforts and turned my life upside down.  In the evening hours I reach for a pillow but I am hemmed in by sadness, sickness and loss.  Not mine.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love. Their pain hangs across my shoulders like dead weight, like a waterlogged carpet.  In our meal time I stretch my hand across our shiny table to a pan full of food but I find hunger and my hand is begging.  Not mine, though.  Theirs.  The ones I came to love.

“In this ministry of love I am caught up in the whirlwind of wanting but not having, hurting but not healing.  Their pain is my pain.  Their trouble is my trouble.  When I look at my ankle I see the foot of James.  His was crushed by a father with a hammer in a drunken rage.  When I look at my children I see them wandering the streets, sifting through piles of fly covered refuse in search of anything with value.  When I bathe in the comfort of my home I’m covered in street runoff that provides the only water source for whole communities in our city.  Their pain is my pain.  It’s the trauma of ministry.

“In the 3 years of Jesus’ ministry he saw and heard much.  In his humanity, surely he felt the trauma.  Countless numbers of sick and diseased people flocked to the face of Jesus for help.  Imagine what he thought as he laid down each night; their desperate faces flashing in his eyes.  He felt the pain of being hated.  He felt the deep distress of confrontation and public hostility.  He carried the enormous burden of love and compassion toward a people wallowing in a broken world that groans for deliverance.  Jesus endured the trauma of ministry.

“I saw a truck on the side of the road.  The cab was collapsed from a head on collision.  A short distance further was a second truck with a similar appearance.  These two giant forces hit each other so hard that they were both crushed.  Trauma goes both ways.  Yes, there is a trauma in ministry.  The weight of the broken world hits the minister so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  However, the trauma goes both ways.  The weight of the Gospel hits the broken world so hard that pieces shift and change and break.  This collision sparks with light and draws the eyes and turns the necks of everyone who is near.

“So, I’m traumatized.  This ministry has hit so hard that my pieces are broken.  My fabric is torn.  In my prayer I ask God to pick my head up out of the pain around me.  He says, ‘No.  Keep your head down.  Stay in it.  I’ll hold you up.  Let’s love them together.’  To God be the glory.  Great things He has done.”

Do you want God to do great things through you? WGM can help you on that journey. We can help you find God’s call at http://www.wgm.org/serve. Check out the site, look at the options, and pray hard about what God is calling you to. There is someone out there waiting to hear the gospel from you and to see Jesus in you.

The Cost

God calls all of us to the mission field, whether it is in our hometown or across the ocean. For Nathan and Jade Metz, the call led them to Uganda, Africa, where they focus on pastoral training and compassionate ministries. In their latest post from their ministry blog, Nathan speaks about the difficulties of a life lived in transition and constant fluctuation. Read on to learn how missionaries deal with transition and how no matter the calling, God is always there to support us.

“With a tiny face buried in my chest and tears dripping onto my shirt I hear a quivering voice repeat the common words: ‘I don’t want to be a missionary anymore.’ If that were all I ever heard then there would be a sense of confidence in the problem. At least then, in that case, I would know what the struggle was. However, there are other times when I hear statements like, ‘Dad, I’m so proud of you and mom for what you do.’ These words came after a day when I was helping clean up the damage caused by a tornado in a nearby city. Coincidentally, all of these comments reflect a tornado, of sorts, that spins chaotically through the homes of missionary families tossing things around and stirring everyone into confusion.

“The strong winds in missionary homes are caused by uncertainty, change, loss, inconsistency, etc. Our kids ask real questions about things that most kids never even wonder about. The lack of certainty and predictability in our future has a dramatic effect on the way we think and feel about the world. I remember a few months ago, in Uganda, we were leaving a community event with several families with whom we had become close. As we walked to the car one of our kids asked, ‘Will that be the last time I see my friend?’ I was blown away. What a strange question for a child to have to wonder about! Already our kids have started to hold life loosely. Jade and I do the same thing. In one hand we see the value of a full and deep life with strong attachments and lasting relationships. In the other hand we see how frequently those lasting moments become passing moments and those deep friendships are pressed by the burden of miles and years.”

13923361_533424860191323_750885715838487177_o

Photo Credit: Tiffany Janofski

What can you do for missionaries dealing with transition? Find little ways to help out: make them a meal, write a letter of encouragement, or pray for them.

To read the rest of the post, visit Nathan and Jade’s ministry blog.

Blessings from Uganda

David Abston returned safely to his hometown despite his fear of flying. He talked for more than 30 minutes about the amazing things God did and all the things he learned about God, different cultures, and how blessed we are in the United States. Click the Part 2 video below to see the highlights of that interview and to hear about the life-changing events that David and his team experienced in Uganda.

In case you missed part 1: