by Jason Wilde
I just feel like we need to be here.
The day had already felt like a series of busts as far as planning goes. We had been on the road for about 3 hours by this point, our first two stops fell through, and so we felt kind of down. Driving another half hour to our final planned stop for the night, the Wal-Mart sign just caught my eye as we drove into town, and so there we were. I honestly had no personal desire to be here. So when Jessica asked what we were doing here, I told her the truth - something told me we needed to be there.
We walked in the entrance, each parent holding two kids' hands. I asked for the Holy Spirit to help, and we walked around the store, talking, praying, quietly singing on occasion, and simply said, just being a family. We stopped at a large bin of candy under a 98¢ sign and explained to Chi Yu that if he spent all his gift money on a box of candy, it wouldn't really fill him up, but that something else would, referencing the woman at the well.
After we walked around the store and down each major aisle, we decided it was time to go and headed to the bathrooms. A man suddenly stopped us, looked at all 6 of us holding hands, and said
You guys look like you have Jesus all around you. I love it!
In the end, this is all that a missionary does. We bring Jesus to those we meet, and even if we don't directly encounter anyone, we hold Him in our hearts so closely that it looks like He is all around us, spreading joy in this world that can look so dark.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of night
In the third world, this means bringing gifts of food, water, clothing, or shelter, and it opens people's eyes to see the Jesus in us. But as our ministry has shifted to a first world, U.S. culture setting, we find ourselves trying to reach the spiritually poor, the lukewarm Christian, and those distracted and addicted to the things and shiny gods of the world. We can't simply bring them a bag of food and expect people to see Jesus. And, against popular belief, no one has ever found a relationship with Jesus by being argued with, judged, or yelled at. Instead, we have to be so filled with the love and joy of knowing our God that it simply radiates from us, like it did from Moses' face or from the disciples on Pentecost. It has to be something that is so compelling and so different from the 98¢ candy bins of this world that it catches someone's eye and makes them say "I don't know what it is, but I want to know how to get *that* for myself."
The hard thing with this kind of Christian witness is that we probably will never see the conversion that takes place. We don't get to proudly claim that we converted XX people or saved YY souls (notice the sly sin involved here). We'll never again met this man, and in reality, I feel like he was there to encourage us, like the Spirit saying "Good job, faithful ones. Keep going!" Because the seeds that are planted with a good Christian witness of the Fruits of the Spirit can and will multiply and produce abundant fruit in time.
Joy is prayer. Joy is strength. Joy is love. Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. You give the most when you give joy. God loves a cheerful giver. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen." (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.