Guest-Writers, {Life}

{Life} My Mission Field

Written By: Tricia Underwood

I still remember the feeling of actually literally seeing a prayer being answered in front of my eyes for the first time.

I was 18 years old and was on a mission’s trip in Mexico. The larger group our small youth group was ministering alongside of were spending the days walking around from neighborhood to neighborhood, inviting anyone and everyone that would listen from some of the poorest places in Mexico, to the outdoor “church” service we would have each evening. The children’s service consisted of a puppet show and artistic drama with chalk that captivated children of all ages. Meanwhile, the adults were seated within eyesight of their children, hearing their own age-appropriate gospel message~ most for the very first time!

Day after day, this was our routine. The places I saw that people lived, broke and melted my prideful and apathetic heart. Up until that point in my life, I never really stopped living my own, self-centered life long enough to truly consider that there were people living in the conditions I saw. I saw mothers~ good, loving mothers~ doing the best they could to provide what little food and dry shelter they could for their children. It was hard not to question if God had forgotten these people. I remember feeling like these people were living on the island of misfits (from the Christmas movie, “Rudolph”) and thinking, “What did I ever do to be born so lucky in the country and family I was born into?!” I remember thinking it’s not fair, but also wondering how or why God could allow people to have to continue living like this.

During the daytime, if there were large numbers of kids around, we brought coloring books and crayons, along with bubbles to play with the kids, while our adult leaders would talk with the children’s parents, inviting them to the church service.

One evening, a horrible storm came and we were all so worried that no one from the villages would come out to hear the gospel due to the weather. I have never seen land so flat, where I could stand at the top of a tiny hill and see for miles and miles. I could see the storm getting closer, watch the rain miles away while it was only starting to get cooler and darker where I stood. The lightening was a beautiful, yet worrisome, sight because I knew that if that storm kept coming, that meant no one would make it to the service.

We had a small utility trailer that was used to transport items used for the children’s service. Someone suggested that whoever wanted to, should gather in the utility trailer to pray for the service and pray that God would move the storm, so that it would pass over our area and that the Word of God could be shared with these people. I joined in that utility trailer and prayed so hard. All day I had spent falling in love with these people. My heart was so broken for them. I didn’t want to leave without them hearing the real reason we were there.

I still have pictures of myself and a friend from youth group, squatting on the ground playing with those kids who had never seen either crayons or bubbles before.

I think about that picture and remember that experience frequently. My heart still breaks for those precious children.

But more than crayons and coloring books, more than bubbles, more than time spent playing football (soccer) with them on their dirt fields, more than any of that, I yearned to share with them something that I knew would stay with them long after I left. I wanted them to know the One True Source of Living Water. I wanted them to know how very much God loved them, that He sent His One and Only Son to die for them. I wanted them to know that His love is unconditional, and He is full of grace and mercy. That He doesn’t care where you live or what you do for a living… He desires to give you a freedom and peace the world can’t give. I began to receive answers for the question of “why” I was born into the country and family I was born into~ so that I could come share the gospel with others! I felt I could redeem the unfairness of it all if I shared the gift that I had been given to others, rather than keeping it bound up within my own heart. 

I have no idea how long we were in there praying. I do know, though, that I never heard it rain. As we opened the door to walk out, my breath was literally stolen from me as I saw that the ominous clouds that were previously closing in on our area were now gone and were now replaced with just mild overcast. As if the storm just decided to turn around.

God’s Hand, or His Voice, moved that storm! Many people that night came to know the Lord as their own Savior! I remember thinking then, although I didn’t know the full meaning of it, that I had been walking on Holy Ground.

I remember being so moved with what I was able to be a small part of, that I praying to God while feeling God prompt my heart towards a life on the mission’s field, “Lord, if being a missionary is what You want me to do, then please show me. Please give me a sign.” Almost immediately God brought a literal road sign to my sight, with a name of a place on it that has forever been on my heart since then. The name of that road was the name of an actual country.

As time has gone by, as it seems to do so quickly and without warning, I haven’t yet been able to go to the place I feel God called me to go. I pray for those people and I feel a constant drawing to that area of the world.

Now, I am a wife and a mother. I am not able to pick up our world and go to that place (at least not, I feel, without my husband being 100% on board with the same calling). However, recently I was contemplating where I am in my life and where I thought I’d be… the dreams I have for doing BIG, BOLD Kingdom work for the Lord, and I found myself in a bit of a pity party {ok, more like a pit… period}. Let’s just be honest, I was complaining to God about where I am, what I am (not) doing, and how I feel so STUCK in the season in my life.

Once I finished with my pity party rant, God quietly spoke to me again and reminded me that THIS place, this season, right where He has me IS my mission field. I am working a job that I am not at all happy in, BUT I have the opportunity to help people when they are in the most vulnerable places, and I’ve already had multiple opportunities where I have shared God’s love with people that didn’t know about it, had chosen to ignore it, or had forgotten about it long ago.

Perhaps more important to me than the job I do as a career, is the role God has me in as wife and mother. Specifically, the calling He has called me to in homeschooling our precious children. The days are oh-so-long (and not at all easy), but the weeks fly by, making the years oh-so-short! Everytime I hear about something awful in the news involving the younger generation of today, I realize how blessed I am to be able to have such a flexible job that allows me to stay home to educate our kids during the week and provide the education my husband and I feel is most important. We want God to be the head of our school and lead us with how and what to teach our children. We know there are some awful things going on in the world, because sin is so prevalent in the world, but I’m thankful that our children get to learn of that from my husband and I, and take them straight to the Bible for answers, to see for themselves what God says about it all, rather than what the world would have our kids to believe, leaving Christ completely out of it altogether.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NLT)

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God reminded me, as He spoke to my heart about my mission field, that I AM doing Kingdom work for Him~ perhaps the most important work I could possibly do! I am influencing our two children who will go on to be adults and hopefully raise their own children to follow Him just as closely.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

When God helps change your perspective and helps you see your daily routine (what I used to see as being “stuck”) as Kingdom work for Him, it will renew your passion for life and for what He has you doing! I now pray,

Dear Lord, I am FAR from perfectly walking out the calling you have in my life, but help me to focus on this one thing: to forget the past [and all my past hopes and dreams that may not be what You want for me at this season in my life], but rather look forward to what lies ahead. Help me, Lord, to press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which You, through Christ Jesus, are calling me. (Philippians 3:13-14) Help me to remember that because I am Your masterpiece, and You have created me anew in Christ Jesus, I can do the good things You planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10) even if that “good thing” may look differently than what I think it is. Help me to accept, joyfully, any new mission fields You move me into throughout seasons in my life, and to be grateful for what you are teaching me in them. Because I am surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, Lord, help me strip off every weight that slows me down, especially any sin that easily trips me up. And, Lord, help me to run with endurance the race that You have set before me, remembering to always keep my focus on YOU, Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects my faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Father, you know that my desire is to fight the good fight for the true faith. Help me to hold tightly to the eternal life to which You have called me (1 Timothy 6:12), knowing that it is only through You, not myself, that I can do anything. For indeed I can do everything through You, Lord, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) And Lord, finally, as You are my heavenly Father, You are also the Heavenly Father to my children and love them even more than I do! What peace and comfort that is to me. I pray that you will continue to lead and guide me in all the details of living each day of my life, especially in my role as a mother; nothing is too small for You. I pray that You will impart wisdom to my husband and I as we try to be good stewards of the gifts You have given us in these children. For my heart’s desire is to hear You say that You have no greater joy than to hear that Your children (and their children and their children, for generations to come!) are walking in the truth!! (3 John 1:4) Help me each day on this mission field, Lord. Forgive me for not seeing it as that before, and give me renewed strength, wisdom, and endurance to run this race well! In Jesus’ Name, amen!

Until Next Time,
Tricia

Tricia’s blog

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