By Marina Rojas
I think we all sit in church with big grins on our faces when someone brings in a missionary to speak to us. We all "oooh" and "aaaah" over the stories of the hard life they live in order to serve God.
Don't we all just dream of the opportunity to run out into the middle of nowhere, among people who would like very much for us to go away, and be persecuted for Godís holy mission?
Okay, I admit; I am a missionary wimp-out. Now, in my younger days, I would have wrestled an angel with the best of Ďem. I would have crossed the border of any foreign land to sneak Bibles in my backpack to an indigenous people and faced hardship at every angle.
But now, here I sit as an old woman, trying hard to make sure my missionary moments are truly sent from God and are not figments of my own boisterous, evangelistic imagination.
I pray a long time before I snatch up a chance to head out to an unknown wilderness, knowing that soft beds and hot water are not waiting there for me. (And, I have to make sure Iím not taking someone elseís spot away from them.) I figure that my duty, as a prayer warrior, is to make sure I only move when God speaks to my heart about heading out on a mission trip.
But I wasnít real sure that God was in agreement with me about waiting on Him and all. (Sometimes He just won't listen to me!)
I was thinking about that the other day when I was praying for a team of missionaries from my church who are far away in Costa Rica. Their hair-raising stories of shootings on the local doorsteps were enough for me to know that God was not encouraging me to head that way at all. He surely was speaking to my heart to sit right down on my front porch and wave at all the little lost heathens driving right by my house.
Then, all of a sudden, God did speak to me about a "Missionary Moment" He has given me for one day of every year. Up until then, I have to admit that it had been one day of every year when I had failed to serve His purpose on this earth, because of all the controversy surrounding it.
What does one do about all of those dressed-up little demons coming to the front door?
Screech at them? "Get away you satanic, devil-worshipers!! Leave my cat alone!"
Hmmmm. That doesnít sound too good, so let me try another approach.
Turn off the porch light and put up a sign, "NO CANDY--GO AWAY!"
Or, perhaps, head off to the Harvest Festival at church, leaving the gate closed and locked. The house, cold and silent. Deserted. No free treats.
As a prayer warrior I figured I should ask God what He thinks about all this. Wouldnít you know it? He answered me.
"My dear woman," He started out (God speaks to me in an English accent, and He is always very polite Ė when He's not mad at me), "You have prayed and prayed for years for the right Missionary Moment to come along. So I have given you one. October 31st. You donít even have to leave the comfort of your porch. Just preach the Gospel. Honor God. Be a neighborhood missionary."
Well, when an order came from the "Big Man Upstairs", I figured Iíd better do something positive about it, so I set out to make October 31st my personal Missionary Moment. My family was wise enough to go along, without too much protest.
So now we decorate our yard with giant jack-o-lanterns that say things like "JESUS" and "REPENT". Sometimes, we carve three crosses on one, or a fish. You know, something appropriately Christian-like. I have a big, old, glow-in-the dark, 8-foot cross that gets plenty of sun the day of October 31st. When itís time for the little trick-or-treaters to come, itís shining brightly in my front yard.
We have orange and black lights strung up in the front picture window that spell out JESUS LOVES YOU. We play Christian music really LOUD. (It helps to drown out the screeching and hollering tapes the other folks nearby play.)
The dressed-up children still come to our house and walk away with a colorful bag of goodies: full size candy bars, a Christian tract about October 31st, and an invitation from our churchís childrenís department to come visit us on Sunday.
At the end of the driveway, my husband and I sit at a table with pots of hot chocolate and hot coffee for the parents who are dragging through the night with their children. We offer them a goodie-bag, too. It is filled with a Bible, some salvation tracts and an invitation to our church. When available, we throw in a CD or a cassette of the latest sermon given by our pastor.
Itís interesting to note how many parents will ask for prayer right then and there. Itís also interesting to note how much interest the children have in the special bags we give out. Many walk away into the night, shining their flashlights on the tracts, trying hard to read the message in the dark.
The whole, exciting purpose of our Missionary Moment on October 31st is to bring those who are in the dark a real treat. We give them the best treat of all Ė JESUS.
Marina Rojas is a writer, cartoonist, humorist & editor, published monthly in various e-zines. A wife, mother and grandmother she serves God at her home church as a prayer partner, English & Spanish small group leader. http://www.realezsites.com/pers/marinaink/.
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