By Erik Martin | General Cepeda, Mexico
Have you ever heard a missionary say, “Missions is the greatest life!”? I know I have, a few times. I may even be guilty of saying it a time or two. But why, you say, I don’t get it. What’s the big fuss? What could be so great about leaving the comforts of your home, including family, loved ones and American food? What could be so great about robbing grandparents of the gift of seeing their grandchildren often? What could be so great about having to bother and beg people to support your “lifestyle”? What could be so great about hand washing clothes and having to dry them on the line while watching a rainstorm roll in? What could be so great about putting your family in “danger” and being “irresponsible” by not having health care, a retirement plan, or being in a place where there is not “quality” medical care? The list goes on, but it begs the question, “How is this the greatest life?” What is all the fuss about?
Eight years ago, I probably would have been asking the same questions. Prior to encountering this lifestyle I never dreamed or even thought of being a missionary. In fact, I wanted the opposite, “The American Dream”: a big house, nice cars, boat, jet ski, 4 wheelers, 60 inch flat screen and surround sound, vacations in the Bahamas. So how does one go from wanting all that, to selling everything and following Him? Love happened. It didn’t happen overnight, but it was a slow process of many encounters with a Love that does not fail, a Love that heals all wounds, a Love full of mercy, a Love that shines light in the darkness, a Love that brings hope to the hopeless, a Love that brings joy to those who mourn, a Love that sets the captives free, a Love that gives all, even life itself. When you encounter this type of Love, it demands an equal response. Love for Love.
When one encounters this type of love, it would be extremely selfish to keep it to yourself. One of my best friends wrote a song titled, “The World Will Know,” and in this song is a line that states, “I will give my life so that the whole world will know, everything You are, and all that You have done; how You gave Your Son.” This simple line answers the question, “Why are you a missionary?” I want the world to know the Love that I have encountered, the Love that a life with Christ brings. I’m more than willing to give up all of the luxuries and comforts of living in America and ultimately my life itself if called to do so, to embrace all the sacrifices that come with this life for this type of Love and for others to encounter it.
Everyday my family and I have an opportunity to respond to this Love in a real and tangible way here in Mexico. Everyday we have an opportunity to see this Love in action, to watch it heal, to watch it shed light in darkness, to bring hope to hopeless situations, to abound in mercy. Everyday in missions we have an opportunity to be an instrument of this Love. Sure we could encounter this Love in the States, and many do, but the difference is, when we offer up all those sacrifices mentioned above and then some, that come with living in foreign missions, there is an unexplainable grace that comes with that sacrifice. Sure there are days when you dwell in the sufferings, but God eventually reveals His Glory, His Love and we are quickly reminded why this life is indeed the Greatest Life! All for Love!
by Erik Martin
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