When I joined a missions organization in 2003 intending to go overseas as a 24-year-old, people didn’t understand. They asked me why. They told me there were plenty of people who needed help in the U.S. They wanted to know why I was leaving my job at the newspaper.
It didn’t make sense to them, because it wasn’t a safe choice. But I knew I’d been put on earth for a reason that was bigger than my own comfort. So I went.
In those two years, I learned about sharing the gospel in front of a crowd or one-on-one. I learned about the global body of Christ. I worked with others’ whose cultures were very different from mine, but we overcame those differences to help further God’s kingdom.
Fast forward 10 years. Now I’m married with two kids. We (mostly) own a home. My husband and I both have good jobs we enjoy. My oldest is in school. I’m financially responsible. We go to church. We have Christian friends. (And even some non-Christian friends who we can share Jesus with.)
But there’s still that itch: am I doing enough? I’ve been blessed to be a blessing; I’ve been equipped in order to help others. How could I be serving God’s kingdom more?
Francis Chan recently gave a challenge on churchleaders.com. He said people have a tendency to take risks when they’re young, but once they are married with kids, they back off. They look for that gated community where they can “safely” raise their kids.
When you do that, you “miss out on life,” Chan says. We have to figure out a way to still be kingdom-minded, still take risks while in these stages of life. He says you might have to expose your kids to a little bit of danger; they might have to experience something a little scary. But it’s worth it.
That’s what I want for my own kids. I don’t want to raise them to be safe. I want them to be risk-takers for Christ. I want them to learn what it looks like when we live by faith.
Some of VOM’s own readers don’t understand this concept. People often write to us and ask why persecuted Christians don’t leave places where they face danger. For some of the most courageous of our brothers and sisters, the reason is because they are focused on God’s kingdom first, even before their own safety or their children’s education opportunities. Of course they want those things for themselves and for their kids. But instead, they are choosing to risk security for the sake of living for Jesus in these most dangerous places.
In our June newsletter, a Syrian Christian leader explained his own commitment to stay in his nation, which is devastated by civil war and where Christians are particular targeted. He said, “God has called us to serve our people in this time and this place. We have no desire to leave Syria.”
So where does that leave me? The itch is still there. I’m in a constant state of asking the Lord what he wants me to risk for him. I’m in a constant state of being ready to leave it all behind, should the Lord ask. And I hope that my children will learn that leaving security behind for kingdom work is always worth it when your ultimate goal is eternity with the Lord.
Dory P. has worked with VOM for nine years. She grew up in Ecuador, met her husband while working with another mission organization and now lives in Oklahoma. Dory tells the stories of the persecuted through VOM's newsletter, and her husband serves in VOM's international department. Between Dory, her husband, five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, the family shares seven passports, though they know their ultimate citizenship is in heaven.