From the Bayou to the Desert
Our Mission at Home
By Genie Summers
Those who are supporting and following our mission work, surely have noticed that we are a group of itinerant missionaries, surrendering to workings of the Holy Spirit who places us where we are most needed and where we most need to be. As I reflected on where Frank and I are now, at home and “in mission” to bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, through our witness and our writing, through the ministry of FMC who has more than one hundred full time missionaries sharing the call to Serve Jesus and His Kingdom, I thought I would share with you a reflection from my second book, OUR FAMILY’S BOOK OF ACTS. The event described in this chapter took place in 1984, but it is being lived by us now and by our missionaries who follow God’s directions. I feel that our wonderful new pope, Pope Francis has called us to rebuild the Church. Sometimes we need to rebuild ourselves as well.
From the Bayou to the Desert
“Like a sponge soaking up water, I felt strength returning to my soul as I watched the kids play in the colorful, crunching, fallen leaves at Kisnoaks, my childhood home. Back at home, after my “lifetime” in the Philippines, I was sitting on a swing and admiring the view of the bayou. I mused on its faithfulness. It moved along with the tides and the seasons, fast or slow, depending on a force greater than itself to move it. It sometimes flooded the land with the overabundance of water. Sometimes, it barely moseyed along, looking hot and murky and still.
The bayou did its duty of keeping the people, towns, and cities along its banks supplied with the life-giving water they needed. People had fun on the bayou, too. They water skied and boated. Frank and his brothers used to have a rope swing in their back yard that swung out over the bayou; it provided untold hours of good, clean entertainment as they dropped off of the swing into the water. Some fishermen earned their livelihood off the bayou, following it out into the bay, catching fish near its mouth. Sparkling clean tugboats still ply the waterway with barges of fuel for energy, and sand and shell for building roadways.
Missionary life can be like a river or a bayou. Missionaries must go and come as the Lord our God directs. At times, we must be still and know that He is God. We must be faithful to give as much of the “living water” of the Holy Spirit as God is giving to us, even to the point of flooding others with His love. We must provide those we evangelize with recreation that gives them real respite and refreshment from the cares and troubles that the daily duties of life impose. They must be “re-created” by God’s word. Missionaries must bring fuel and energy from one community of God’s people to another. Frank and I felt that we had so much fuel for gospel living to bring to our Church at home. Missionaries must supply those waiting in bondage and darkness with materials for building the roads that lead to freedom and light. Our lifestyle should console those who look upon it, as they notice us faithfully running our course.
Sometimes after a drought, people standing on the banks of the bayou shake their heads, saying, “Look how low the bayou is!” Missionary life has its droughts, too. That’s when we need to pray for rain, for a new filling of God’s Holy Spirit. Sometimes, we have to go home to the people – family and friends – who love us unconditionally, to feel the power of our prayer together. The Summers family came back from four years of mission in the Philippines needing a refreshing rain to fill us anew. Our resources were depleted. We needed the filling of the Holy Spirit. We needed a game plan. We were ready to keep serving. Jesus had to show us what His priorities were for our immediate future.
Right off the bat, the word that came to us was, “Don’t look back, keep your hands to the plow.” “Trust Me!” “I am doing something new!”
After our time at home, we were later called to serve in General Cepeda, Coahuila, Mexico, Chuuk, Micronesia and finally to found Family Missions Company whose missionaries serve around the globe.”
Visit Frank & Genie Summers’ missionary profile to learn more about their missionary work and read their blog!