Please Don’t Send Me to Africa was the title of a song we sang in church youth choir. The tongue-in-cheek parody was an honest expression of many believers’ attitudes toward missions:
I’ll serve you here in suburbia with my comfortable middle-class life,
But please don’t send me to Africa where the natives are restless at night!
Ironically, 25 years later, that is exactly where my family and I spend the majority of our summers. But, contrary to the spirit of the song, it has been one of the greatest blessings of our lives. Why?
Not because it’s Africa, per se, but because of what happens when we’re in Africa:
- Community happens as we gather with other like-minded people focused on sharing the gospel and bringing hope and healing to the orphans of Zambia.
- Transformation happens in the lives of the children and the Americans who go to serve them.
- God’s spirit works in and through us to accomplish his will.
When God’s spirit is present and actively working, when you are used by him to bring about his purpose, along with other believers who are also experiencing his working in their lives, that is what we are created for. That is our purpose.
Why missions? Because in going, doing, serving and sharing, we are living the life he has called us to.
So Father, please send me to Africa. Please allow me to continue to be a part of your work there. Please help me remember that missions is about you and not about a particular locale or people. If you want to send me to Africa, I’ll go. If you want to use me in Sunnyvale, I’ll serve you there, too. It is about you, your plan and your working. I am happy to be included in your story and thankful to be a part of your mission.