A New Mission Field
Since I’ve moved to Seattle, I’ve been extremely busy taking care of practical things like fixing problems on my fiancees’ car, planning for our wedding, and dealing with other logistical stuff. Most of the things that I’ve been doing lately have to do with car repairs.
Since I’ve been good at fixing cars since I graduated high school, it’s one of the easiest ways for me to help people. When I was in Mozambique, one of the things I remember was that they didn’t have enough mechanics to fix their cars.
Using Practical Gifts To Preach the Gospel
While I was attending the Harvest School in Mozambique back in 2016, one of the team leaders thought it would be a good idea for me to take a ride with them to an automotive parts shop so that I could try to help them fix one of their cars.
One of the things I learned while I was riding in the car with one of the locals is that it’s hard for them to find mechanics they can trust. Most of the local Mozambican mechanics are dishonest. Most of them will pretend to be fixing a car, but they’ll take off a bunch of parts and sell them on the black market to make money.
This is very sad because these cars are being used to take people to some of the most remote places in the world to get the Gospel out. Without a reliable vehicle, it’s almost impossible for missionaries to make it to some of the places God has called them to go.
Businesses Fund The Gospel
When I arrived at the automotive parts shop, I was shocked to see so many high-quality tools in a developing country like Mozambique! What I found out later is that the owners of that auto parts shop aren’t locals. They’re people from Germany (I think).
In a country like Mozambique, you can’t just go to the local auto parts store and find high-quality parts to fix your car. Places like that don’t exist unless someone from another country moves to Mozambique and creates that type of business.
The reason this is such a big deal is that sometimes we can be so overly focused on the spiritual side of sharing the Gospel that we can forget about the practical side of things. If Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations, how are we going to do that practically?
An Entrepreneurial Kingdom Mindset
While it’s true that we can trust that God will provide money for us to go anywhere in the world to share the Gospel with the poor, but what happens after you’re gone? Is the Gospel still spreading after you’re gone, or are the people you ministered to going to backslide and fall away from God? Is the impact you’re making only an impact that lasts while you’re around but fizzles out once you’re gone?
My desire is to create a way of doing missions that empowers the people I’m helping to create their own work and to disciple others with what I’ve taught them. I believe an effective way of doing cross-cultural ministry is to teach people the value of working hard.
For example, there’s a much better way to impact people in Mozambique than by just going on a two weeks missions trip over and over again. Short-term missions trips are okay for the empowering of the long-term missionaries, but if it’s not done correctly, it can cause more hard than good.
Teaching People VS Feeling Sorry For People
We are not orphans when we follow Jesus. We are sons and daughters of the King and that’s how we need to see ourselves. With that being said, the goal of missions is not to go on a two week trip to the same place over and over again. We need to stay long enough in our mission field to actually build something and do life with the people were ministering to.
When we feel sorry for people, we want to give them free stuff and find a free place for them to live. While that’s okay when people come out of a war-torn environment, it’s not okay for poor people to get free stuff for years and years because it makes them lazy.
It’s Not About Codependency but Interdependency
If someone gave you free food, a free place to live, and you never had to work again, do you think you would be compelled to start a business or to be inventive? I seriously doubt it. Also, if your free food and housing came to an end all of a sudden, you wouldn’t have the skills necessary to find a job or to grow your own food.
People who get free stuff all the time never think about being inventive because they don’t need to think like that. Everything is free. It’s important that we don’t do more harm than good when we share the Gospel with the poor.
“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teah a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Unknown
I don’t know who said that, but it’s definitely true when we’re sharing the Gospel with broken people. We don’t want to create a Gospel that revolves around us, we want it to revolve around the principles of Jesus. When the Gospel is centered around Jesus, we leave a Godly legacy long after we’re gone.
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