Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a foreign missionary? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have a family and be a foreign missionary?
Didn’t think so. [Well, except for you strange-looking people over there in the corner.]
Well, let’s face it, most people like to be comfortable. We like our homes and our stuff and familiarity. And for our families, we like stability and security and we want life to be as ‘easy’ and ‘happy’ as it can be for us and our little families.
I use “we” because I’m the same way. But I’d like to take a moment to tell you about some friends who share the same sentiments but are becoming a foreign missionary family anyway.
Enter in Donovan and Blair Bailey. I’ve known Donovan and Blair for a few years now and our families have grown a lot within this time. If I had one word to describe their family it would be “open”. They have four beautiful girls that keep them busy but they are always “open”. Open to others, open to more children, open to new opportunities, open to basically whatever God might call them to.
And just a few short weeks ago, they said Yes in an extreme way and made the decision to join the Family Missions Company. In just under 4 weeks (or less?) they sold all they had – everything in their house including the house itself, everything. I think they probably kept a few clothing essentials and simple necessities but that’s it. They’ll spend some time in training and then have a short break before receiving their location assignment and then they are off to spread the Good News to all nations!
Donovan and Blair are the type of people that attract others to them. Because they are so open, you want to talk with them and I know God will use them and their family in great ways, as He already has! Aside from the work they are training for, in a sense they’ve already begun their evangelizing work simply by their decision to detach from their life and take on this new adventure. It is inspiring and has definitely made me stop and think about how I and our family can serve God in our day-to-day life more.
I don’t feel – at this time – that our family is called to leave what we have here and move to a different geographical location. However, I’ve always felt that God calls us all to be missionaries, even in our own homes. We don’t have to look past our own family members, friends, and community to bring Christ to others. In a sense, being a “missionary” here in our nice and cozy community is sometimes like being a “foreign” missionary. It’s easy to hide away in our homes, hang out with our family and friends who we know and are comfortable with.
It’s more of a challenge to reach out to those we don’t know. Here, people - including myself – don’t think we need help or that we need to be evangelized too. We have everything we need to survive as far as food and water and shelter go. But, from what I’ve observed, it’s those who [think they have] everything who really have nothing.
Mother Teresa – who lived in the slums of the slums amongst the “poorest of the poor” said she had never seen such poverty as that which she had witnessed in the United States. But she wasn’t talking about physical poverty. “I have been to many countries and seen much poverty and suffering . . . But of all the countries I have been to, the poorest one I have been to is America. . . America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.”
And so it is anywhere we go, even in a place that offers everything, there is still the poverty of loneliness. We all are called to be missionaries, and in a sense, to be foreign missionaries. We are called to step out of our own comfort level and go to where we are strangers and reach out to those who suffer from this “poverty of loneliness”.
Blair and Donovan shared with me that Pope Francis recently wrote that there is a “need for a more profound missionary formation of the whole People of God and by encouraging the Christian community to contribute to the spread of the Gospel in the world.”
Today (when I started writing this it was still Sunday) the Church recognizes and celebrates World Mission Sunday 2013. It’s a good time to not only remember and pray for all the missionaries out in the world but to stop and think about how we - you and me – can live out Christ’s Great Commission as missionaries here in our own lives, or maybe elsewhere?
Family Missions Company is hoping to raise awareness about the need for ALL Catholics to be missionary. If you are a blogger and would like to help bring awareness and support for Catholic missionaries, especially Catholic missionaries AND their families, consider writing a blog post about the call of all Catholics to be missionary. Then you can link back to FMC’s website. Click Here for the Bloggers on a Mission campaign to join in!
Not into blogging? Is God calling your family to the missionary life? Want to serve God witn your family but not sure becoming a foreign missionary family is what God’s calling you to? You can still help!
You can pray. Always, you can pray. Pray for the Bailey family and for others like them – that God will protect them and guide them in their work.
Consider supporting my friends, the Bailey Family, financially – this is their only job now so I’m sure any financial help is appreciated to support them and help them continue on this missionary adventure. You can also keep up with them and read about what it’s like to be a real missionary on their Facebook Page and their Bailey Family Missions blog.
My new motto is, “If the Baileys can sell all they have and move to a foreign land, I can at least try to live more simply and reach out to “foreigners” here in my own life and with my family.” (I know, that’s too long of a motto but it works.) I’m still learning, it’s much easier writing about missionary work than actually doing it. Speaking of, here are a few other ideas I’ve written about how to live a missionary life together as a family.
So, go therefore, and take Christ to all the nations – starting in your own home and wherever else God may guide you.