The biggest kind of blessing
May 16 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

The biggest kind of blessing | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

The biggest kind of blessing

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Go ahead - be a little selfish. Do something really nice for yourself, something that will boost your self-esteem, broaden your horizons, enrich your mind, strengthen your spirit, and possibly change your life.

Go on a mission trip.

Spend a few days sweating in the sun over a construction project in eastern North Carolina or southern Honduras. Use your vacation time to teach Bible school in Alaska or build a church in Armenia. Employ your expertise in metro New York or Kuala Lumpur. Renovate a residence in Raleigh, canvas a campground in Cherokee, or pull teeth in Pembroke.

Mission opportunities start at your front door and stretch from the next corner to New Delhi.

And every one of them has the potential to impact your own life as much as the lives of those to whom you are sent.

So don't go if you're afraid of change.

Don't go if you like your life just the way it is.

It will be different when you come back.

A mission trip can turn your heart outward instead of inward.

A mission trip can open your eyes to things you've never seen.

A mission trip can expand your world in ways you can't imagine.

If you like thinking that everyone who really matters looks like you and thinks like you, don't go.

If you like going to bed without a care for abandoned infants in Johannesburg or starving villagers in Sudan or homeless children in Tegucigalpa, don't go, because you will not be able to forget.

I'm not suggesting that it is not possible to care about those things without walking through the back streets of Soweto, the night market of Hat Yai or the slums of Sao Paulo, but it's less likely.

My first experience with missions came in 1971. I had been fascinated with the thought of missions for years, but had rarely ventured more than 60 miles from home. I volunteered for student summer missions, and soon found myself - at the age of 19 - riding a bike through the crazy, crowded thoroughfares of Semarang, Indonesia. I met people who drew cooking water from the same muddy canals they used as an outdoor bathtub and latrine. I watched young girls in a remote river village carry rocks from a river and sit in the shade to pound them into gravel for sale. I felt a hunger for faith, for meaning, for hope.

And I was never the same.

I still close my eyes and look into the unforgettable faces of children who must be 40 years old now, if they're still alive, and wonder what became of them.

Getting involved can do that to you.

Summertime is prime time for mission efforts. Many churches may have youth mission trips planned, but are still short on adult chaperones. Maybe you could help.

N.C. Baptist Men and our N.C. Baptist partnership office have a long list of unfilled requests for mission volunteers in Malaysia and Armenia, along with many opportunities in North Carolina.

If travel is not an option, your local Baptist association can put you in touch with ministry needs closer to home.

Do you believe God has gifted you for a purpose?

Do you believe God calls believers to share the blessings we have received?

Do you believe it is important to obey the One who is Lord of all people?

Then put yourself squarely on mission.

Find a good project, and join in.

Just do it - but only if you are willing to be blessed far more than the people who receive your ministry.

It's amazing how it works that way.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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