When Our Worlds Collide -- Fancy Needs Jesus Too

My sister graduated from high school while we were living overseas.  She holds a diploma from an International School, and I've always been a bit jealous of that.  My high school diploma is from a Midwest town where the mascot was a Mule.  Yes.  A mule. 

Moving on.

The summer after my sister's graduation, as our family was preparing to bring her back to the States to start college, my parents presented her with a gift of a Senior Trip.  Michele was enamored with all things European, and my parents were able to work out a 10 Day Family Vacation through 10 countries in Europe on our way home to Arkansas. 

That 10 days was amazing.  I was in Jr. High and thought I was too cool for the world, but looking back, I realize how special of a trip it was.  My sister was in heaven, and our family saw and tasted and smelled and experienced things that we had never seen, tasted, smelled, or experienced before.

In addition to doing all the normal touristy things, we had the opportunity to meet up with several missionary families that were stationed in some of those European countries.  Some we spent the night with, others we just shared a meal with. 

And as my parents were busy swapping stories, I remember thinking, "How did they get so lucky to get this gig?"

I mean...if the Mission Board is sending folks to hang out around the Eiffel Tower or spend their missionary careers in a cottage in the Swiss Alps, why in the world would someone ever choose a third world country for their assignment?

It didn't make any sense to my 12 year old head.

And I actually remember thinking that my parents were downright crazy.  And I was a bit bitter.  Because instead of jungle life, I could've been spending my mornings frolicking through Dutch tulips or perfecting the wearing of the beret.

I have a couple of friends now who have answered the call of foreign missions and have been given these seemingly glamorous assignments.  I mean....suffering for Jesus in the heart of Italy can't be too shabby, huh?  Or bringing the Word to folks on the ski slopes of Austria?

But this week, as I've been glued to the Olympic coverage, my heart is heavy.  Because though I love the healthy spirit of competition and the brotherly feely-good bonds of nations coming together for the sake of sport, the truth of the matter is that most of those countries that those athletes represent are lost.

It doesn't matter if a country has spectacular landmarks or serves phenomenal food or has all the modern conveniences a person could hope for.....if they don't know Jesus, they're lost.  Plain and simple.  Lost.

I'm actually almost convinced that it probably is harder to share the Gospel in such a place.  Because the attitudes that come with having "everything" are usually harder to penetrate than those of a people who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are needy.

I'm trying to check my own presumptions at the door.  Realizing that accepting the Call to go to a nation that is rich and glamorous doesn't make it easier.  That cakewalks aren't handed out when it comes to missionary callings.  That straws aren't drawn for assignments and the couple that gets Tuscany cackles mockingly at the couple that drew Botswana.

There are people in the world that are lost.  Deeply and dreadfully lost.

And it doesn't make them any more lost if they live here...

....than if they live here.

Please take the time to pray for all of our missionary families that are actively serving our Lord.  And please pray for the people that they are trying to reach -- that hearts will be opened to the Word, and that lives will be changed.


Mich said...

Beautiful post, sis.

Love you much.

Tiffani said...

oh this is so true!!

I, too, have watched these athletes just waiting for one of them to credit their relationship with the Lord for their success and to say "I just knew God would get me through that ski run" and then the poor tragedy of that luger.

You are right. What a mission field the Olympics alone would be!!

I love your heart for missions...your heart for people knowing Jesus. Maybe one day we'll get to do a mission trip together!

I love you!!

Kay @ Off the Beaten Path said...

Oh Amber, you're so right. I've been struck by the need of our world as I sit glued to the Olympics too. I thought of the luger from Georgia who was killed and wondered, doubted if he knew Jesus. I'm sure we have missionaries at the games too, sharing the gospel whenever and however they can. We need to remember to pray for them too. The fields are ripe for harvest:)

Terry Lewallen said...

Well said, my friend, well said!
People everywhere need Jesus...rich or poor, educated or not, athletic or very unathletic like myself. We've realized that God brought us to "Pleasantville, USA" because people here in DuPont, WA have the same problems that cry out their need for Jesus as every other person on the face of the planet. They just try to hide it behind their nicely manicured lawns and closed garage doors. And yes, those people can be harder to reach sometimes because they don't think they need anything...including Jesus.

And just as a side note....Kyle (my sweet hubby) is heading up to Vancouver for a couple of days next week to join a team that is sharing the gospel with as many people from all over the world as they can!

Michele said...

Oh Amber, what a precious heart you have!!! I have to AMEN this post right here and now!!!

I have a new friend who is a missionary in Southeast Asia. She is precious, and I've been given just a tiny peek inside her life. . . her life of total surrender. . .and how much she and her family do without in order to tell people about Christ. It is amazing to me how much of her life is in this country. Her best friend? From this country. I don't know why this was such a shock to me. . . I guess I always had this thing in my mind that missionaries hold on desperately to their American lives. . . maybe that's b/c I think that is how I would be . . . spoiled, huh? ashamed? yes.

Your post was lovely!

Marla Taviano said...

I totally agree. I have several friends who are missionaries in European countries, and so much of their work seems so futile, so hard. People who aren't starving aren't as keen on finding Jesus.

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

You are so very right on this. A wonderful reminder to keep missionaries in our prayers for the work they're doing.
This is a bit off topic but this brought to mind that it's easy to look and see someone who has more or who doesn't appear to struggle in areas I may struggle in but then I look at my family and the many blessings I have~wonderful husband, healthy children and I am just so thankful.

Anonymous said...

When I read the title of this post I thought you were talking about Fancy from the Reba McEntire song. She needed Jesus, too.

After Haiti a friend and I were talking about how those of us who have are often more resistant to total dependence on God because we don't think we need anyone or anybody. I guess that's why Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.

Gretchen said...


Also, I have a little understanding of what you speak, since I have a friend in the missionary field. She is stationed in Perth, but goes to Tanzania, Uganda, Jakarta, etc. She HAS SEEN miraculous healings over and over. I think it's true that the scales are removed from the eyes of those who have nothing else to hope for. But the TRUTH also is...we have nothing else to hope for here, too. xxxooo lurve your heart.