What is EDGE-X?

Evangelize the Lost, Disciple the Found, Give back to the Community, Edify the Church, all to eXalt the Savior.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hey everyone!

For some reason, I have been hearing a lot about foreign missionaries lately. When I went to the leadership overnight, they kept talking about Summer Project and some of the missionaries in Far East. Before that, we listened to a speaker talk about the his mission work in Japan (which was really interesting I might add; sadly, I can't remember his name). Many of my friends are tweeting about their mission trips they are either on or went on over break. My Facebook homepage seemed flooded with mission work my friends are doing or about to do. Even the adds on the side of my Facebook page are advertising mission groups! LOL! Random conversations over the past few weeks have popped up about foreign missions: my friends reminiscing about their past mission trips, my friends telling me about the mission trips they are going on this summer, etc.

My world seems flooded for foreign missions! Yet strangely, through all of that, I didn't feel one ounce of conviction to help. Hear me out before you send me hate mail, close this page, and storm off. I didn't feel the need to give them money, I didn't feel the urge to go to some foreign country and help, and I didn't feel conviction that I had missed out on mission work. It wasn't like the Holy Spirit wasn't speaking to me, because trust me, He was!

What I did feel convicted of was two things: to pray earnestly for those overseas and helping in foriegn missions (which I neglected to do before as much), and to be a better missionary here in America.

We are all called to be missionaries: some of us overseas to foreign lands, but most of us to our own neighbors around us. I know we hear that in church all the time, but do we really apply it? I mean, its easy to go overseas to a radically different climate and culture and minister there effectively. We put our whole effort into it, leave stuff behind in our homes that we won't need, and really try to meet the needs of the people we are serving during the days/weeks/months we are over there. Then we get back home and relax. We chill out, we go back to our normal way of living. We remember those fond memories of "how God moved in ______" but we forget that God wants to move here, in America, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing foreign missions! They are amazing and teach us more than we can learn here in America. But what I am trying to say is: why don't we put as much effort in our immediate surroundings here in the states that we put overseas?

This is what God has been convicting me of the past few weeks as I have been hearing these stories of missions: to be a missionary here in America. This conviction hasn't just been all the sudden in my life either: it has been a calling that began years before.

It started when I was in 8th grade and heard one of my friends who was a senior in high school tell about her mission trip to Russia that past summer. She said that she worked in an orphanage over there and was appalled at the living conditions these poor children had to live in. It really changed her life to see what those people went through. But ironically enough, she told me what was most convicting was not the trip, but what the leader of the Russian orphanage told her before she got on the plane to go home: "I vant to zank you for comming to help us; I really do! But consider zis: before you come back to help us again, fix ze problems in your own country. Zen you vurry about our problems." She told me she was blown away by that. Not at his boldness in his statement, because she had gotten used to the boldness of the Russians, but that he opened her eyes to something she had never thought about before: that we have a whole bunch of dying and hurting people in our own country that are in need of just as much help as these orphans in Russia. When she told me all of that, I was stunned. It set me on the path I am currently headed down.

Later on, I attended a Christian conference in high school that dealt with missions. I got uber pumped up about going on a mission trip that summer! I was gonna go to the Far East and minister to the people there! One problem: money. So I went to the associate pastor of my church with full intentions to ask him about a potential scholarship to go to the Far East. Instead, I asked him what he thought about me going. We started talking, and I don't remember much of what he said, but I do remember these words because they changed my life forever: "Adam, you can't be a good missionary overseas until you are a good missionary in your own backyard." Wow..... I never thought of it that way. If I didn't have a heart for people around me, how could I really have a heart for those overseas?

Disclaimer: I know MANY missionaries who have a calling to go overseas to a certain people group. So before anyone gets offended and takes my associate pastor's statement WAY out of context, realize that God calls people where He calls them. But we ALL should be missionaries wherever we are at, regardless of how we feel about it, even if we don't have a heart for the people group.

Talking about missions these past few weeks brought back all that information I was taught over the years. I discovered my calling. When I was first called to into the ministry, I didn't know what I was supposed to do. People all around me were saying that God called them to do _______, or work with _______ group, or go to _______ country. I didn't get any of that. I just was called. Now I understand.

I am an American Missionary. I am specifically called to minister to the hurt, dying, and lost people of the United States of America. That is why I didn't feel convicted to go overseas or give money (mostly because I don't have any). What money I do have I feel I should invest here, in my local group of people, imparting to them what I can, being there for them when I can, and serving them when I can. I love America, but not in the sense of how most people do. I love the people here. I really want to impact the Kingdom of God right here in America.

This is my conviction. Even though you may not be called specifically to minister to a certain people group, just remember, you are a missionary right where you are at. Can people see that in you?

Following His Call,
(2 Corn 3:6)


  1. Two reasons off the top of my head that foreign missions are more important to me (though, of course, I agree that you should be a missionary where you are):
    1. Americans have heard the gospel. People in many other places have not, and while I definitely think indigenous missionaries are the ideal scenario, there are some places that there aren't any, and the impact that can be made is greater in those places. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."
    2. America has resources and riches beyond comparison. Our ability to go far outmatches any other group of people in the world. And while I agree that it's silly that many leave their comfortable homes, go, then come back to their comfortable homes, I still think that our responsibility to be in world missions is greater due to what we have to give.

    And America's just not really the place for me. Americans frustrate me too much. :/

  2. That's why you are called to foreign missions and I'm called here. All I know is that only 4% of my generation are evangelical, Bible-following, born again followers of Christ. To me, it doesn't matter how many times they have heard the Gospel, I want to see it click with them.

    America may be rich, but people struggle here with many different problems than they struggle with overseas. Americans are some of the least happy people in the world (according to the studies we talked about in my Positive Psychology class). My heart is here for them. And I will give up my comfortable living to serve them.

    So where are you moving to, Ian?

  3. I'm not belittling foreign missions. My biggest concern is our motive behind the missions. If we really have a heart for the people, GREAT! :D But if we are just going to make us feel better and feel like we helped someone out, then that's the wrong reason. If we are going to serve in, idk, Africa somewhere, and we give up all of our comforts to go over there to serve, then come back and are like "OH! I'm so glad I live in America and have a nice warm bed to sleep in food available whenever I want!" I think we have missed the point. It's not about us at all. It's all about them.

    What scares me are the statistics and information being thrown at me from the news about the spiritual state of our nation. My only question is: Have we focused so much more on foreign missions that we are neglecting our own country?

    Wherever you are called, thats between you and God, but I know I am called here, to America. That's all this post is about.

  4. - And I'm glad you and others like you are called to that. I don't think I'd be very effective here.

    - That's definitely regrettable. And I wish it wasn't the case. But I just don't have much pity for America. As I see it, we've brought all this upon ourselves.

    - I don't know yet. Maybe a Spanish-speaking nation.

  5. I can say the same thing about the ancestors in foreign countries bringing upon themselves for rejecting God so long ago. But I'm not trying to argue. I just want people to be witnesses here in America.

    You do speak Spanglish quite well, my friend ;)

  6. I didn't see your last comment, and I wholeheartedly agree. If it becomes about an experience we have had, or the trip, or us, and not the people, then it's entirely a waste, and I would even call it sin.

    And I see your concern, and I have encountered many times the attitude about missions that totally precludes America as a place to share the love of Christ. And it is definitely concerning. But I do think that with one comes the other. They must both be obeyed or they are both disobeyed. (And I think you kind of said that.)

    My experiences with the American people lead me to believe there is little hope. I tend to feel that it's generally futile. However, I'm sincerely glad that you have more hope than I do about America.

    I very much agree that people here need to grasp the gospel. I just know how much it would frustrate and pain me to try to effect that.

  7. Whoa, so I was going to write a more extensive comment on here, then I saw you two were having a whole conversation goin', so I'll keep my comment brief: I have thought about this semi-extensively and have had multiple discussions with my dad about this. Like you, Adam, I have gotten very frustrated with people talking about their 'over-seas experience' and how somehow their 3 week missions trip was much more 'worthy' than my work at the inner-city camp. I know those feelings were rather selfish based, but I had reasons as well. We have all sorts of needs in our own country, I often feel like the needy are forgotten here in the states. (also, the mission trips in question were more of a feel-good thing than anything) In a discussion with my dad one night, (okay, forget about the brief comment, I don't know how to do those)we were talking about if someone who had never heard the gospel could be saved. You know, if they figured out there was a higher power or something, but never heard of Jesus. My dad's response was a stout,'no.' Which is why he argued that foreign missions was very important - to go to places where the gospel has not gone. Still harboring my slight anger towards feel-good mission trips, I slightly resented this statement. I grew frustrated with people who did not seem to see the hurt and pain in our own country. I'm kinda just babbling right now, sorry. This is something I think about a lot. mostly because for a while I have come to believe my ministry is more 'hands on' and directly working with people. For a while, I assumed it would be in the States, partially because I was afraid to do anything else (not saying that missions in the States is not sacrificial or 'more easy', just different) but lately I've been having some confusion with that. I see the importance of both ministries...maybe I'll find someway to do both : ) Anyway, that was a long random post of nothing. i think we should all discuss this in more detail later, cuz I think in-person conversations are so much more interesting than ones on the internet and this is one of my favorite topics. Also, I'm so excited that your ministry has become more clear to you and that you are on fire for it! I am super excited to see God use you in the years to come. Okay, I'll stop talking now. Thanks for posting : )

  8. P.S. pastor's name: Michael Oh

  9. Ian and Adam - I have to giggle a little when I hear you discuss this, because it is so obvious how God has called you and how the Holy Spirit has opened your eyes to certain things that fit your unique designs - as humans, created in His image, we were each created to fulfill a particular purpose. Adam, you are to minister here. Ian, you are called to minister away. Adam - if you were called to minister away and were choosing to stay here for some reason, then you would be frustrated with Americans and how they do things and how difficult they are to reach. And Ian, if you used Adam's techniques to reach America in another country, then you would fall flat on your face. One of you is an 'arm' and one is a 'leg' and you can't try to reconcile the two. You each have been given a job to do - both important - and together you will reach many people...probably more than you could reach working together (an odd concept, really)
    Ian - I am so glad I got to know you - even if for just a little bit. Please try to stay on Facebook so we can follow your travels to wherever they take you.
    Adam - I will see you soon :)

  10. oops - try this instead... You each have been given a job to do - both important - and individually you will reach many people...probably more than you could reach working together... LOL

  11. Thank you, Sarah! :D You guys should check Michael Oh out. He's got some good stuff.

    And I think we all agree with you, Sarah. :) Thanks for posting!


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