Although we help when we are able, the thought has crossed my mind that this method of "ministry" may indeed have become the modern Christian feel-good method of traveling the globe on somebody else's dime. I'm not entirely convinced that spreading the Gospel of Christ is the truly compelling force behind these "mission trips", but rather a desire to experience different cultures and feel good while doing it.
But, I digress. In our Post-Christian country, I am constantly amazed at the ministry opportunities that present themselves in our own back yard and even sometimes, in our own kitchens.
Years ago, we lived in Bellevue, Washington. Sir Knight was close to a family with three small children and after we married, I became quite attached to them as well. That family grew until there were five children, two of which were close to our own children's ages. Our families grew up, we moved across the mountains and, although we maintained our friendship, we rarely had an opportunity to visit our dear friends.
The older children stayed in touch with our family, Sir Knight having had a huge influence on the two boys. One summer, the older boy, then about 25 years old, came to visit for a few days, bringing with him his live-in girlfriend. Living in "Little Shouse on the Prairie", with limited space, we didn't have bedrooms to house extra people, so when our guests arrived, Sir Knight took "young man" aside and told him that he was welcome to sleep on the couch and that "girlfriend" was welcome to bunk with Maid Elizabeth in her room. Young Man readily agreed that that was the best course of action and not another word was said on the subject.
Oh, we had fun! We rode horses, made homemade pizza, swam in the lake and, of course, spent a number of hours sending bullets down-range. Girlfriend helped milk the cow and tried her hand at making butter and often sat on the couch and just stared at us, commenting from time to time that she had never been around a family quite like ours.
One day, the guys were out of the house and Girlfriend, Maid Elizabeth and I were in the kitchen having a bit of tea. I sat, visiting this pretty young woman and I looked at her and said "You know, you are worth more than living with. You are precious and should be cherished. Young Man should be pursuing you and asking you for the honor of loving and protecting you all the days of your life - not moving his stuff into your house until he gets tired of you and moves on to the next pretty girl".
Girlfriends eyes grew large, with a single tear escaping down her cheek. She looked at me and said "What makes me so special?" And then, right there in my humble little kitchen, I had the opportunity to tell this sweet girl from Everett, Washington the story of her life. I told her how God had knit her together, how He had thought of her before she was ever born. I told her how she had been made in the very image of God. I told her that God knew everything she had ever done and would ever do and how He had given His Son to die for her so that she could be reconciled to Him. I told her that she was worth far more than rubies and that when she accepted Christ as her Savior, as her one and only, she would become the daughter of the King - and the daughter of the King was worth a very steep price indeed.
Girlfriend wept. She asked questions after question, wanting to know her story from the very beginning. This girl, who grew up in "Christian" America, had never, ever heard the Good News! This girl, with the pierced tongue, met the Man with the pierced hands, in a shop in the middle of a windswept prairie.
Young Man and Girlfriend went home, split up and went their separate ways. I have no idea if Girlfriend grew to know Jesus as her Savior, but I do know that the seeds of Truth were planted. Young Man has gone on to another girlfriend (actually, many since then) and still is living his life for himself, but he will always find our door open to him - we love him and pray for him.
Yes, you can go to far-flung, exotic locations and spread the gospel of Christ, or you can open you door and plant seeds in your own back yard.
Therefore said he unto them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest".