Tommy wanted to GO, but God has him living in Southern California, practicing hospitality. What does missions involvement look like for him now? And what does hospitality have to do with anything?
I’ve been interested in missions ever since I was in high school and have gone on various short-term trips to Mexico, the Middle East, East Asia, and most recently to Japan with my church. I see myself as a mobilizer and currently serve as a coordinator for a Perspectives class, volunteer with OMF International, host prayer meetings for the WCF Torrance group, and most recently have come on to serve on the Board for World Christian Fellowship.
One of my biggest “ministries” revolves around the house the Lord blessed me with. I am the steward of the house… His house. My name may be on the title, but it rightfully belongs to Him. This shift in ownership has shaped my perspective of the house and its purpose. I’ve hosted dinner parties, movie nights, poker games, sharing times, prayer meetings, etc. I love bringing people together, and I hope I’ve blessed others as much as I’ve been blessed by them.
Blessed to be a blessing
In Genesis 12:1-3, God tells Abram that he will be blessed in order to be a blessing to the nations, not for comfort or personal gain, but for His kingdom. I purchased the house with that in mind – to be a better blessing. God has not only used this space to host meetings, but to house missionaries, family, and friends and to provide a place of rest and refreshing. And I get to enjoy fellowship with others and hear what God is doing in the lives of people here at home and all over the world. I get to participate in what He is doing to call His Church to His purposes. It’s a real blessing for me to use the house this way, and I thank God for the opportunities He’s given me.
“Where I have sent you”
The funny thing is that I never set out to be a homeowner. When I graduated in 2004 with a master’s degree, I fully expected to be on the field in four years and never gave homeownership a second thought. After passing my “four year goal” and no closer to going overseas, I began to wonder what He had planned for me.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.’”
– Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)
The Lord spoke to me: stop looking so far ahead that I ignore the ministry around me. I began to understand that ministry happens in the present through the relationships around me. Should I really desire to go overseas, it would serve me well to learn to minister here where I know the language and the culture.
For me, the next step is to be intentional with my neighbors. Maybe I’ll host a dinner once a month to get to know them. After all, most people won’t pass on free dinner. I’ve already had some neighbors over for poker, and I hope to continue strengthening those relationships.
I thank God for the opportunities He’s given me, and I encourage everyone to ask God how you can be a blessing where you’re at, whether you see yourself going overseas in the future or not. May we be His hands and feet to the ends of the earth… AND here at home!