By Naomi Friedman, Opinion Editor
“When I grow up, I will be rich.”
I never wanted to become a missionary — I do not associate missionaries with poverty, but I did not associate my becoming rich with mission-life. I innocently imagined I would be doing some kind of fun and challenging job that would make me earn a lot of money. Missions are fun and challenging too, and my grandparents’ stories are testimonies of grand adventures.
Both sets of grandparents were missionaries. One set was in France; the other one was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One set did a lot of church accounting before switching to global missionary counseling; the other set planted hundreds of churches, opened a hospital, opened schools and the list continues. One set is now retired in the United States; the other ones never took retirement: my grandfather is buried in Sona-Bata, a small village two hours away from the capital, and my 88-year-old Grand-Maman is still living in Kinshasa, serving God the way she always knew she would.
Chapels like Great Commission Congress week suddenly made me feel like a bad Christian. Conversations around campus combined with gatherings similar to Global Café gradually brought me to this place of discomfort each time I had to answer, “No, I don’t want to become a missionary”.
This simple unchristian-sounding answer slowly evolved into, “I don’t think I want to become a missionary,” to “I don’t know if I will become a missionary,” to “maybe,” to “I’d like to.” That’s why I started to look for a summer-long mission trip somewhere — anywhere — around the world.
I made several calls and spent a lot of time in prayer, what felt like hitting my head against the wall over and over again. No doors were opening; no country felt more compelling than another one, and I could not figure out why. None of these options sounded natural to me, none of them resonated in my heart with a particular purpose — every country suggested, every project supported was just another name on a foreign list.
None of these options sounded natural to me, none of them resonated in my heart with a particular purpose
What’s funny is that I never used to think that way. Grand-Maman often told me that in a town, we need all kinds of people doing all kinds of jobs for the town to function well. We need a doctor, farmer, baker, butcher, mechanic, tailor, technician and the list goes on. “It’s the same with the Kingdom of God,” she told me again this summer, “All kinds of people doing all kinds of different jobs are needed to fulfill all kinds of different needs.” So, what if I truly am not called like my grandparents to the Congo or to some inner city in the U.S., won’t God still use me? The truth is, the world is our mission field, for all. And it includes Walmart, and Cluckers and the Hiccup.
I am a junior in college at the moment, and I don’t know what I want to do when I “grow up” or graduate. I don’t know what I should do when that day arrives. When people ask me what my plans are for the future, my only honest answer is to serve Jesus, whatever that means.