On Being or Becoming a Missionary

When people ask me for my job title, I try to tell them, but it actually makes no sense to most people. After spending a few minutes trying to explain what a "Dean of International Studies" is, I generally just say that I am a missionary to a whole lot of countries. I like the idea of having a mission and going on a mission. In fact, all who enter my office at Sunset have to pass a sign on my door that reads, "If God calls you to be a missionary, don't stoop to be a King." Sometimes, however, i forget what an amazing role I am allowed to play in the Kingdom. Recently I was reminded by someone close to me that I love mightily.

Phillip is my nephew. More specifically, he is the eldest son of my little sister Melissa. Her two sons, Phillip and William, mean a great deal to me, as do all of my nephews and nieces. Phillip is smart, athletic and gifted in many areas, and is very serious about following Christ.  He was recently given one of those typical assignments in school, an assignment to write about what he wants to be when he grows up. As a proud uncle, I thought I would share his paper with you. His words are italicized below.

I want to be a missionary when I grow up. One of the reasons why I want to be a missionary is because you get to go to places all over the world and teach the Bible! My uncle is a missionary and has been to over 40 countries!  Another reason I want to do this amazing job is because you get to meet new people. For instance my uncle went to Africa and became good friends with an African and brought him to the U.S. for us to meet him. He's really nice! I can't wait until he brings him back. I also want to be a missionary because it's just one of the best jobs you could ever have! Someday I hope to be a missionary.

The African he referenced is Dennis Malepa, the Dean of Ministry Training at the African Center for Theological Studies in Botswana.  He is really nice and an amazing preacher of the gospel and trainer of African preachers.  When he traveled with me to Dumas, Texas to meet my family and the First Street congregation there, he made quite an impression on my family. He was a great ambassador for Southern Africa.  I hope that Phillip can someday stand on African soil and preach the gospel alongside great preachers like Dennis.  It's even greater than he imagines. When he is old enough, I hope that I can take him on such an adventure.

I received an email this week from another mission co-worker named Benny Baker. Benny is a missionary to Nicaragua and we are partners with him and his ministry "Mision Para Cristo" there. He mentioned that another nephew, Barrett Adair, is there doing mission work in Central America. Barrett is from Searcy and his Dad, Scott Adair (Brenda's brother), teaches at Harding. He has been to Nicaragua before and I am very proud of him and his efforts. This also serves to remind me of what a privilege it is to serve as a missionary.

Every day at Sunset, I am surrounded by former missionaries, present missionaries and future missionaries. What a blessing!  Teaching AIM and Advanced Missions and getting to teach at schools around the world and in mission congregations wherever God planted them is also a blessing. Maybe some day I will even be blessed enough to teach my nephews!  No one has ever stopped by my office and offered to make me a king, but I'm glad I got my sign on the door just in case.  They need to know that missionaries of The King, would never stoop to be a king.

Uncle Chris