By Matthew Holland
I want to talk a little bit about how missions has made me, and continues to make me into the man that I am today!
First off when I entered the formation that every missionary goes through, it was very tough for me and it was a real challenge! It was an intense time, but a time for growth, experiencing what missions really is, and being purified.
“….because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:6
Knowing that the LORD chastises those whom He loves is very encouraging to me!
After being in Ecuador for over five months, and being able to look back and see what all we have done is, on one hand, very sentimental and uplifting; and on the other, very sobering, because I am reminded of all I have struggled with and things that have been a sacrifice. It hasn’t always been easy!
The way missions has formed me as a man, and continues to form me is obvious to me in the way I view the day-to-day stuff: the issues, sacrifices, people, weather, trips, public transportation, and the list goes on and on. Missionary life has helped me to see God in all things; not just the sentimental ones! The fight against the Evil One on a daily basis, having my time with the LORD is vital to my life and without it i will FAIL! I have come to see how much I relied on material things and less on GOD. Missionary life has taught me the value of taking things day-by-day rather than worrying about the future!
I remember feeling conflicted in the past, wondering whether I was leading a good Christian life or just being complacent. I chose to become a full-time missionary partly because I knew it would be a challenge, I knew that it would make me grow as a man, I needed to serve the poor, I had to be humbled, I needed a change, and GOD just kept knocking at my door! GOD was calling me to go deeper most of all.
As I look back on the reasons I almost decided not to become a missionary, I realize that no internet, drinking, smoking, and girls was a great lifestyle for me, and to make me obedient to my missionary directors, but more than that to GOD which is so much more important than any material desire I could ever have!
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