What if missions didn’t suck?

I have realized that deciding to do long term missions is not a decision to have a miserable life, never have fun, and not do anything that you want ever again. It is laughable to even have that opinion but I think that many people think that if they decide to be a missionary they will be sacrificing themselves so that others can hear the Gospel and they will no longer do anything for themselves again. I have seen time and time again people that have families, take their kids to school, go out to eat, and go to movies all while on the mission field. Life will be different if you choose to move to another country and you will give up some of the rights you might value when living in a different culture. Difficulties will come, you might feel so homesick you want to cry, and you might just want to buy normal cereal at the grocery store that is nowhere to be found, but life does not have to suck.

Your reports home do not have to be filled with how things are really hard and you are sacrificing yourself for Christ daily. It is ok to post pictures of you doing fun things. I think there are perks of living in a different country that we should take full advantage of! You don’t have to go to the worst of the worst places in order to do missions work. Life can be amazing, filled with wonder and beauty. You can hike up that mountain, jump off that cliff, and use high speed wifi and not feel guilty! I am thankful that I don’t have to live a life of difficulty in order to do work for Christ. I play pool almost every time I go to the bars and I like playing pool. We get coffee from a lady that has a stand in the red light district every day and talk to her, and I like drinking coffee! We can do the things that we enjoy when doing missions work, it’s ok, it really is. It does not mean that mission’s trips are vacations, but it does mean that you don’t have to come back from every mission’s trip kissing the ground when you land in America.

When the times come when life isn’t as great as you would like that is ok too, missions work will not always be easy. There is value in living without and not living a convenient life, there are lessons to be learned and ways to grow when you are presented with those situations. Embracing the difficulty and living life the way millions of people do every day is not the end of the world. Arriving at a place where you have to rely completely on God because you want to give up is beautiful. Having those moments where you hate everything about everything is ok, and I believe God will use those times to remind us how we can prevail through any difficulty that arises. But going into a trip or making a long term decision to do missions with the mindset that everything is going to be terrible is unhealthy. We can expect that great things will happen and that we will be blessed.

We often hear of all the difficult things about doing missions work, I think sometimes missionaries advertise all the hard stuff so people will support them. So many people perceive missions work to be something only special people can do because it is really difficult. Books are written about how missionaries are thrown in jail or had to live in a mud hut for years. And while these things do happen to some people it is not the norm of what most missionary’s lives are like. My experience here in Thailand has been wonderful, we have great living arrangements, enjoyable ministries, good food, and a wonderful city to live in. There are still challenges to overcome in our ministry, fighting the evil that surrounds the red light district is exhausting to battle day after day. It is hard to see the girls that we have become friends with entertaining customers. We spend time praying and interceding for the people that work in the red light district every day.

Ministry does not have to look one certain way and include hating your life. Despite the hard parts of our ministry we won’t come away with any horror stories of how we had to bathe in a river or walk for miles to get water or how we got malaria or typhoid. None of those things happened; in fact we were able to do a lot of really fun things like riding elephants, shopping at the night bazaar, and taking our Thai friends out to lunch. I will be going home in a month and telling people how Thailand was awesome, I enjoyed every day of my time, and I was able to learn and grow and have fun as well as minister to the people.

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