“We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”
This was Peter’s question to Jesus in Matthew 19:27-29 NLT.
From scripture we know that the original apostles will sit with Jesus judging the twelve tribes of Israel, but what about us? Jesus said that everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for His name will receive a hundred times what they gave, plus eternal life (Mark 10:30). That is some promise! Like all of God’s promises, it requires faith to believe. Is God really going to give me one hundred fold? That’s what Jesus said.
Due to my time of living on the mission field, I can say that I have brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers in many places (at least 100). Since many of those folks have homes, the “mi casa es su casa” (“my house is your house”) principle is in effect. I am blessed and my life is enriched with the people I served.
What are some of the challenges? Beside the travel that is required to get to all of those places, you must enter the world of the people you are serving. All missionaries must become part of the fabric of society to really have brothers and sisters who speak another language and have a different culture.
God wants you to thrive and prosper on the mission field. To do so, you must relate with those you are serving. This requires cultural adjustments. It also requires that you drop some of your own cultural baggage.
There is a very damaging mindset that I have seen on the mission field. It is called the “fortress mentality.” Allow me to define it in my own terms. People who have a fortress mentality build walls with which to keep foreign culture out. On the mission field I have seen families where only the husband masters the language of the place they are serving (after all, he is “the missionary”). Many times the wife and children live in an English bubble where everything is as much like “home” as possible. This island of refuge keeps the family from becoming part of the fabric of society, therefore inhibiting the Gospel. It limits the rewards God wants to give them in their place of service.
In my next blog I will discuss how to contextualize the Gospel and how to break free from a fortress mentality.