Former missionary Erica Grace asks: ‘What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Missions”?’
You’ll probably say: the ‘lost’ – and you would be right.
I think this way…
A prodigal, so lost
There was a young man who was totally lost.
He had lost his career, his home, his future, his dreams. He was so lost people had given up on him. He drank himself to oblivion every day. Friends would bring him to his desperate wife each night, where she would endure his frustrating beatings.
One night he met a humble missionary. He was reading the story of the Prodigal Son with a very heavy accent. In spite of the missionary’s inadequacies, the Holy Spirit reached into that miserable man’s heart and on the earthen floor this wretched man wept. He wept a long time and asked God the Father to forgive him. When he got up he was a different man.
That man was my father!
A searcher, also so lost
There was another young man who also was totally lost!
He didn’t think he was; he thought he had it altogether. He was a world traveller and found life and people interesting. Along his travels he had tried a bit of every religion on offer and then some. He had dabbled in yoga, eastern religions, a bit of drugs: the lot!
Then one day he ran into a simple missionary living in the middle of a jungle area. The missionaries were very hospitable and welcomed him to stay for a while. One night as they were talking the missionary challenged him with these simple words: ‘You’ve been in so many places, and you’ve done so many things, but son, you’re still searching!’
This young man went to his room indignant at the missionary’s remarks. But something about the challenge made him cry out: ‘God, if you are real, then show me.’
In a blink of an eye, he was on his knees weeping his heart out. He realised that all this time he had been searching for God and now his search would be over.
That man became my husband!
The lost transformed
What do I think of when I hear the word ‘Missions’? I think of something very personal.
I think of two godly men who by earthly standards would be considered fools, weak and worthless.
But their faithfulness to God’s calling, being at their posts at the right time, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through them – changed not just the lives of the two most important men in my life, but through them, the lives of many.
Erica Grace and her husband Chris are ordained pastors with the Assemblies of God (ACC). They were Missionaries for 20 years; serving in Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile, Erica developed a teaching ministry for women and Foundations for the Family, a biblical teaching for families. Itinerant ministers, mainly with ethnic churches in Melbourne, they minister in a variety of churches including African, Asian, Indian, Filipino, Spanish and Italian. The mission calling is still there: their passion is reaching nations. Link: sevengraces AT bigpond.com