What is my role here? How am I a missionary? Over the past nineteen months, Brad and I have lived in a world different than the one we grew up in. Here, life is slower, simpler, and much harsher for those around us, yet the people are warm and friendly. My husband has always been fun-loving and outgoing; I have watched him grow in management and language communication. We have navigated time apart, crazy busy weeks, and even a few not-so-fun situations as a couple.
Why, then, with all this good, do I sometimes feel out of place? I know my frustration with learning Spanish is part of that, and I have been working on it. However, I have often felt like I was doing nothing here. I have never felt called to preach, even though this is a part of life here whether I am comfortable or not, which is good as I know God is using it to grow me. So, I began asking God to help me see how I contributed. How was I a missionary for Him here?
Then, last Sabbath, He told me, through the voices of children. Due to my inability to speak Spanish, I help in the children's sabbath school by providing coloring pages and a Spanish “Your Story Hour” to listen to after the lesson is taught. I was getting these things ready when I heard the kids yell, “Hermana Jessica!” from the other side of the room. It was in response to a question that the teacher had asked. I smiled and laughed at their exuberance and joy and continued what I was doing. After the lesson was completed, the children were coloring while listening to the story; I asked the teacher what had happened during the class. She told me that the study had been on hospitality and asked the children if they knew anyone who had shown Christ through being hospitable. Without prompting, all the children yelled, “Hermana Jessica,” and pointed at me.
Once home, I sat and cried. God indeed answered my question. These children are part of one family and have spent countless hours at my house. They love to color, play UNO, run around outside, snuggle up to you or sometimes invite the whole family for an impromptu meal at our house. We have grown to love the entire family so much. I never considered opening your home to someone as anything other than good christen behavior. Yet, God pointed out to me that this was my mission here. I had read many stories about missionary couples, where the men had a “Job” with the ministry, and the women opened their homes. It always seemed too simple. Like I needed to do more, I was required to accomplish more. Yet, here the Lord was, letting me know that what seemed so simple was a big part of my missionary service.
I am sure I will still have days of frustration and doubt, but I now know God has a work and a purpose for me. It may look different than anything I had imagined, which is just part of the fun of serving Him. There will be days where like the widow of Zarephath, I will have little to give. But now I know that God has asked me to give it anyways. Don’t be afraid to share what you have with those around you; you never know when you will reach someone deeply with something so simple.
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying,” Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and gave you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?” And the King will answer and say to them, “assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” – Matthew 25:37-40