Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why We Need Missionaries in Southern Florida

A Christian homeschool mom recently asked me why we need missionaries in southern Florida. She seemed sincere so I sincerely answered her with, "Because most biblically literate people like you assume others know what you know and don't think we need missionaries in southern Florida." We went on to talk about what mission work in the United States entails. Allow me to share some of it with you.

In order to introduce Jesus to people who probably have only ever heard the name as an exclamation or in a cussing tirade, the book of Mark is a good place to start. Currently a group of women meets every Friday in our living room to read it together. I told them in the beginning that they were about to embark on a study of the basis for all Christianity - the biography of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I assured them that by chapter eight they would know everything they need to know to make an informed decision about whether they want to be Christians.
When we began the study, three out of the group of seven didn't own a Bible nor had they ever opened one, so we bought them each a copy. None of the seven had ever read more than small excerpts. One woman says she's Jewish and goes to Temple but didn't know where to find the Old Testament in the Bible. She has skipped Temple for the past month to be a part of this study that she says "is more interesting than Temple." Other comments and questions include:

"It keeps me up at night."

"I never knew Jesus was a real person. I always thought He was like Santa Claus."

"If Jesus came to earth once, do you suppose He'll come again?"

"I want to have the Holy Spirit but I don't know how to get it."

"I feel like I'm being sewn into this Book. Like I've always known it somehow but have never actually heard it."

"I'm being enlightened."

"What does it mean to follow Jesus?"

If someone were to invite me to a study of The Iliad I would certainly make comments that would seem foolish to scholars of classic literature. What we, as Christians, need to understand is that ignorance of classic literature may keep me out of the great conversation to some extent but it won't keep me out of heaven. Basic knowledge of the Bible is critical to understanding why we exist.

Our study group had a very sad but helpful object lesson on the parable of the sower when the woman who was most excited to begin the study told me just three weeks into it, "I won't be there. My heart's not in it any more." The night we initially read the parable in chapter four, I was met with seven blank stares. After this lady left the group, we revisited the parable and I'm sure I saw a few hovering light bulbs. It's always encouraging to see God's word come to life, even when it means disappointment on an earthly level.

Our family must have the best job in the world - not to convince people to become Christians but to share God's love and truth with them and let them decide what to do with it. If everyone in the United States already knew what the Bible said, as that good-intentioned mom clearly assumed, I would agree that we should move on to other unreached parts of the world, but it seems that is not the case. I'll let you judge the need for local missionaries by the feedback we've gotten in this study.


  1. We are gathering with our group to pray with you about all of this as I speak......We love you dearly....keep pressing on!
    The Pearsons and gang at Springtown

  2. Great post. I daresay your title could have been Why we need missionaries everywhere..... or better yet, why every Christian needs to be a missionary. Because, as you well know, those comments didn't surprise me at all. I think anyone who tries can find others who need Jesus but have no idea 1. that they need HIm, 2. How to find Him 3. What that really means. Thanks for opening up the eyes of so many who will read this. We love you guys - keep pressing on!

  3. Awesome guys, love what God is doing through you!

  4. What Candice said.

    Chris, Jenn, Books and Steele.