My Takes

It's Just My Take

Monday Musings: Are home-based missionaries irrelevant?

Pardon me here, I don’t mean to undermine or question the good work done by those who unselfishly travel overseas, sacrificing themselves and their families in the name of spreading goodwill and the gospel.   Overseas missions are very important in reaching the hard-to-reach places and bringing them hope.  Saying this, I do however, have some questions.

Recently, I was talking to friend about his church and he boasted to me that they had missionaries in 23 countries around the world.  I casually asked him, with no intent to judge, if they had any in Winnipeg, their backyard.  He thought about it and said he doubted it.  I wasn’t about to start a debate on where and how missionaries should answer their calling but I thought to myself,   “Why does it seem that much cooler to do missionary work abroad than in your own backyard?”  The same thing can be said of adopting.  It’s more trendy to adopt say an Ethiopian child than an aboriginal kid from the reservation.  It even sounds cooler too.  Admit it.  It’s gone Hollywood.

So, is sending aid to poor people in Africa worth double or triple that of giving  our local homeless man or woman money to buy food?  I know many of us do so with altruistic purposes while some of us have personal goals and egos to feed.  but again, it’s not for me to judge and that’s not what this blog is about.

We are usually bombarded with photos and televisions broadcasts of the millions of people starving in the Africa but rarely of the guy down the street.  If I step over that guy to reach out the ones that are across the ocean, would that make me a better missionary?  Is it still considered missionary if it’s only practiced in my neighborhood?  If I don’t adopt my cousin’s kid that she abuses and starves, but instead travel to Uganda to adopt the little girl I always wanted, am I still considered an effective missionary?  Also, is it ok if I maintain the outside of my house, keeping it clean and spotless, while inside looks like it was hit by a tornado?

Just my take.


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5 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Are home-based missionaries irrelevant?

  1. There seem to be a lot of churches that do missionary work overseas and none right at home. This is unfortunate because there is so much need everyone. You don’t have to go to a third world country to see hunger and pain. Our church is awesome – we have missionaries overseas but we also do a lot of local work helping organizations in our area and working with homeless people. We have 3 satellite churches – one is right downtown where the street people live and it is helping people turn their lives around.

    My opinion – it’s not okay to help people far away when you are stepping over the people who need you right where you live.

  2. My wife and I have been “home based” missionaries for six years here on the Spirit Lake Nation just south of Devils Lake North Dakota. That about 4 hours southwest of you. When we became Missionaries I struggled with people in our own church and conference skipping over our mission and going to large metropolitan cities and overseas. I have come to this conclusion. People find it hard to believe and don’t want to admit that there is poverty in their own back yard. If they see the poverty next door, they feel the need to do something about it and feel guilty because they don’t have the “time” to devote to those in need. If they go far away from home, they take a week or two and devote that time entirely to helping the poor. They get the feeling of being totally immersed in the culture of “Mission”. We have mission teams that come from all over the country to work on the reservation, but very few that come from our own conference in North and South Dakota. It’s hard to admit that we have the same needs as people in those far away places, but we do and we depend on those who hear the call to stay “local”. Blessings.

    • Interesting and so true. I think you hit the nail on the head about people not wanting to admit that there’s indeed poverty right outside their door. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Pingback: How To Become A Missionary – The First 2 Questions To Ask Yourself | Dylan B. Raines

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