It takes 20-something hours to fly halfway around the world. 20-something hours with your knees stuck in your chin due to the majesty of coach seating. And it stinks. Stinks like the airplane food you have to eat for those 20-something hours.
It is possible you will also have to spend the night in an airport during those 20-something hours, and almost inevitable that one or more pieces of your luggage will be lost.
But, nevertheless, after the 20-something hours, you will arrive halfway around the world. And if you are really lucky, you then will be able to board some type of odd public transportation to get you even deeper into the bowels of halfway around the world.
And then you can say that you have arrived. Arrived at "the mission field." The people will touch your skin and point at your blue eyes, and they will stare. You will buy clothes that look like the "natives," and you will feel very missiony. You will do your best to muddle through the language, and you will end up asking for "a cat's banana television" instead of the bathroom. You will learn to drive on the other side of the road, and you will convince your taste buds that weird food is good...even if it might be considered domesticated animal in the States.
It's what the mission field is all about. Taking Jesus to people that don't speak like you. Or look like you. Or live near you. It's what we give our Christmas offerings for.
Or is it?
What if the mission field was right down the street from you? What if you could drive your minivan emblazoned with your children's sports stickers to the mission field? What if you could do it while eating a quarter pounder with cheese and drinking a chocolate shake? What if you could wear your Old Navy bermudas and a camp tee-shirt?
Impossible. That's not real missions.
Real missions is trading your satellite and DVR for a grass hut. Exchanging your air conditioning for mosquito nets and malaria shots. Switching out pepperoni pizza for curries made from Fido and Flicka. Everyone knows that.
That's real missions. No question.
Missions is loving on people. No matter if they are right next door or a 20-something hour plane ride away. Missions is meeting people where God would have us meet them. No matter if it is in a dirt road village in the jungle or in a suburb full of million dollar homes. God's children wear rags. And they wear Gucci. They go hungry at night, and they gorge themselves on caviar and expensive champagne.
And it's just as much missions to go downtown as it is to go to China.
Your communities are bursting with opportunities for you to get involved. Your local church will have unlimited paths for you to journey down. If you would like to get more information about the North American Mission Board and its work thorughout the United States, you may visit here.