Dear Erin: my letter to a mission-hearted girl
I just wanted to first of all let you know how proud I am of you for everything you are to me, to this world and most importantly to God. I tell you often that I fall in love with you more and more every day and part of that is because I fall in love with God more and more every day and you have the heart of God.
I know that you have a heart to travel overseas and to reach out to people and do overseas missions. Whether this means a lot of short term trips or one long term trip has yet to be decided or made known by God, but a career in missionís is in the making for you and I both.
I wanted to brief you on a few things that I think might help you to prepare for your work in ministry throughout your life. Some are general to your life specifically and some are just things in general thatíll help as you travel overseas. I know you want to do missionís work and I know that itíll probably be at least a year or two yet before the real opportunities start to come your way, but the time to prepare is now.
I know you donít like the name Peter, but in IPeter 1:13 it tells us to prepare our minds for action. It doesnít say anything about preparing only when the time is close to do something, it just says to be prepared. It doesnít say to plan out everything else and then prepare your mind, it simply says to prepare your mind.
To me this means that there doesnít even need to be a trip planned or a destination picked, just prepare your mind for action. I want to encourage you in this and to continue to do this. The best two ways to prepare your mind for action is to read the Bible and pray. I know you already know this, Iím just offering a friendly reminder.
The next thing I wanted to say about overseas traveling is a little simpler. Always bring hand sanitizer with you. Water is something we take for granted here in the states because itís always clean, or at least itís mostly clean. If/when youíre in a third or even many second world countries, you canít be assured that and washing your hands, as gross as it may seem to you sometimes, isnít really an option. The best way to combat this is to always have some sanitizer there and ready with you.
The next thing I wanted to tell you is what Iíve already told you, but just feel it can never be said enough: prepare your mind. Read, Pray, read, pray and then do it all over again. If there is ever a missionary couple or person in town, talk to them and soak in as much information as you can. Research, study, pray some more and donít quit until your mind is fully prepared.
Thereís one last thing I wanted to tell you about missions: itís simply the greatest calling ever given by God, next to loving God with everything you have. (Love the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul and then love everyone else as yourself). Christ commands us, He doesnít ask us, He tells us to ďgo into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.Ē Matthew 28:19-20
I know weíve talked a little about this before, but look into the 10/40 window. Look it up, read about it, pray about the countries that are in that window and find out what drives those countries. Pick a specific country that seems to just stick out, thatís usually a prompting of the Holy Spirit. Even if itís not the Holy Spirit and you just randomly picked a country, itíll help to get you started. Pick a country. Read about that country. Pray about that country. Cry for the people in that country. Ask God to give you a country and ask Him to put one on your heart.
Above all, no matter what happens while youíre in the states or while youíre overseas, donít ever give up. Trust in God in everything you do, in everywhere you go and in every situation in your life. No matter how big or how small something may seem to you, itís all the same to God, he just wants you to trust Him and put your faith in Him.
I pray Godís blessings upon you as you prepare your mind to enter into a world of unknown things. I pray that you will have courage to face trials of many kinds, boldness to jump headfirst into a seemingly hopeless situation, faith to move mountains, love to heal the sick, joy and peace to rule over you in the worst of situations, grace to rule over you when you slip up, patience to see things through, and the trust of the Holy Spirit as He guides your paths.
I also pray that I can be a friend who will help you along this journey. A friend who will have the rights words to say at the right time, one that will encourage and doubt, one who will push you forward and not hold you back, one that will pray with you, one that will help you up when you fall, one that will inspire you and not bring you down, a friend that will love no matter what. Most of all, I pray Godís spirit to dwell richly in you.