July/August 2018 Editorial: Just Outside Your Door
Editorial by V. Michelle Bernard
I've often heard people say they would have loved to have served as a missionary; if only they didn’t have so much student debt, or weren’t in such a hurry to build their careers or buy a house, they would have traveled overseas to serve.
For two years, I worked as a missionary in South Korea. Teaching the proper pronunciation of English words and how to use them in everyday conversation occupied most of my time. I later edited textbooks for children, writing and reviewing sample conversations and stories that would serve as tools for them to practice English—tasks that I could have easily done in the U.S. as an ESL instructor or textbook editor. Each day and most weekends, I taught a class using religious materials and music to help my students improve their conversational English skills. Many enrolled just to learn English, but I hope some of the biblical truths we discussed remained with them.
Setting aside a specific period of time to focus on mission is a wonderful thing that has the potential to draw you closer to Christ and reach many people with His love. If you can find a way to do it, take the leap! And in this global economy, living and working in a foreign country will probably even help your resume stand out above others with similar education and experience.
However, if you don’t get the opportunity to serve abroad, why not serve in your own neighborhood? You already know the culture, come in contact with community members on a daily basis and understand the language. And maybe you’ve already developed friendships based on mutual interests and shared history with your neighbors, who also deserve to hear about Jesus.
Most of your missionary work will probably be pretty similar to what
I was doing as a missionary overseas—interacting with people while accomplishing a specific job. Just think, your potential to influence people and win hearts might even be greater in your hometown.
Wouldn’t you be willing to consult a longtime colleague or friend about relationship or family problems? To ask a trusted friend about their faith when yours is failing? Or to ask for prayer when you’ve seen your co-worker praying through situations on a regular basis?
What makes them and you a missionary is your intent, not your job title or stamped passport. Don’t think that your missionary dreams are dead
if you haven’t had the chance to live abroad; there’s a mission field just outside your door.
V. Michelle Bernard serves as news, features and online editor for the Visitor magazine.