14 years ago, when Troy and I married, we went off to seminary in hopes of preparing for our journey ahead as full-time missionaries overseas. Despite our newlywed desires to live in either Asia or Latin America, God has seen fit to place us in suburbia, USA, raising children, ministering through the local church and through education. At times it has felt less than adventurous. There have been moments we've questioned God's leading and directing in our lives. America seems so saturated with Biblical resources and churches that the pastoral heart, Troy says, often desires to preach to those who are spiritually hungry, who are desperate to fill the void.
And yet, that is exactly what I see when I look next door, across the street, at my church, and even in my own home. Sharing the good news of the Gospel begins at home, and works it way out through the words and the testimony of our lives.
And sometimes, it is shared through the sharing of shovels, pruning shears, hedge-trimmers, and a few hours of man power with neighbors who don't know Christ. It may not be as adventurous as traveling to the other side of the world, but it is crossing the same great divide.
This has convicted me:
- That I might be burdened for a people group in Africa, but be unintentional about a very real spiritual need in one of my own children.
- That I might willingly travel thousands of miles to speak about Christ with someone I don't know, when I make very little effort at times to meet the people who live on my street.
- That I might boldly proclaim the Gospel on the street corner in another country, but hesitate to share the Good News in my cul-de-sac.
And so, as we continue to make our home here in this cookie-cutter neighborhood, and learn to bloom where we're planted, our family is seeking to share ourselves and the Gospel with those right around us...next door, across the street, around the cul-de-sac.
Our neighbors invited our family over for a home-cooked Indian meal made by the grandmother who has been visiting the US. What a treat and blessing it was, as we have built a relationship with them over the last several years in which we've shared our help and our faith within friendship. It was an honor to be invited into their home...just across the street.
Kingdom work begins at home and in the heart. It spills over onto neighbors, friends, and community, which is and can be...anywhere.