The

Rance's

MOBILIZING THE CHURCH TO THE MANDATE AND EQUIPPING THE CALLED.

AN MK’S PERSPECTIVE

BY SHAYLA RANCE (2004)

Missions banquets, missions week, missions conferences, MISSIONS; it’s always been a part of my life. My grandparents are missionaries, my parents are missionaries and I was born and raised a missionary kid. You could say missions has been the foundation of my life. However, despite this, I still find it very hard to define it. In fact as I grow older I find myself contemplating these questions more and more: What exactly is missions? Am I called to be a missionary? Is there a divine purpose for my life? 
 
For most people missionary kids are fascinating creatures because our lives have been so unique. We frequently get asked questions concerning our experience. One of the most commonly asked is “Do you speak Mexican?” I always laughed and secretly cringed, but I promptly answered, “No, I speak Spanish!” When I said this, the person realized the ignorance of what they just said and quickly replied, “That’s what I meant. Do you speak Spanish?” The second most commonly asked question and the one that has affected me the most is “Do you want to be a missionary like your parents?” When I was younger, I would passionately say, “NO WAY!” I knew what it took to be a missionary. I saw all the sacrifices my parents had to make, the obstacles they went through, the pain and suffering. Numerous times my parents had received death threats or had guns pointed at their faces. I would never want to go through that voluntarily! 
 
A majority of people have preconceived notions about what the mission field is like and usually those beliefs seem to come straight out of a glamorous movie film about the jungle. Even my mother had an exotic outlook of what a missionary’s life was going to be like. When she was younger, she believed that true missionaries had to wear pith helmets and khaki shorts, carry a long rifle in case of an animal attack, while passing out tracts from the back of a jeep. After being a missionary for twenty years, she looks back on what she said when she was younger and laughs at how naïve she was. The life of a missionary is not glamorous, it’s hard, it’s real, and it takes dedication, obedience and commitment. 
 
So what is missions? Missions is sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to all those who have not heard. Missions is being willing to do what God wants you to do rather than what you want to do. Missions is sacrifice, it’s giving of oneself to help with the needs of others. Missions is being obedient to God’s plan for your life. We are all called to be missionaries, we might not be called to a remote country out in the middle of nowhere, but we are called to follow Christ. God’s plan for your life might mean that you have a nine-to-five job or He might want you to be a soldier in the army. Wherever God calls you is your mission field. You might be called to support. My dad always says, “For every missionary that’s called there should be a group of people back home called to support them.” You might be called to give or pray. God calls each of us individually. Sometimes it can be unclear and we find ourselves floundering in a sea of doubt, but by keeping our hearts open to the Word of God, constantly striving for a deeper relationship and connection with Him, the confusion of life slowly trickles away supplemented by an enduring faith in a Father who has everything under control. I know from experience that if you surrender yourself to the Lord and lay everything before him, your cares, frustrations, hopes and fears, He will make everything the way it should be, fulfilling even your greatest expectations beyond your reckoning. It’s true, my parents have suffered because they were obedient to God’s call, but the pain does not outweigh the joy. On the contrary, I have seen the fruits of my parent’s labor multiply and spread. This is a constant reminder to me that I have a loving and faithful God who is ever present in my life. Now when people ask me this question, “Do you want to be a missionary like your parents?” I tell them, “I already am.”