I remember when I was an undergrad and people came to the CU talking about going on mission, I always sighed very hard. I was married, and then married and pregnant and then married with a child….it was impossible for me to go on mission. Then when I was older and in a church where lots of people went to exciting places on mission, you know the gap year / middle aged type overseas thing to Eastern Europe or Africa I couldn’t go. Even a week going off around different places was a bit of a no go, being a single mum and all. When Third Party was older and it may have been logistically an ickle easier I found I was too old for the youth orientated UK based stuff and the overseas stuff tended to be more than a week. I have a confession to make, I was just an ickle jealous that all I ever seemed able to do were holiday clubs which were mainly attended by church type kids I knew anyway.
This does not discount doing holiday clubs, I love doing them but I always felt that in not being able to have the experience of “going on mission” I had somehow missed out on something. Anyway, my thinking has changed a bit. This week I have the opportunity to take a few days away from the research and be a student fully engaged in a weeks outreach. Best bit of all is I don’t have to leave home. Our church is running the Christmas Journey, where school kids come and hear the Christmas story acted out. Then on Friday I’m involved in something else at church I do regularly. The thing is I am finding I can be used exactly where I am. Even though it is “my normal location”, it is something different a chance to take myself out of the everyday and serve God doing something slightly different.
I also like the way outreach, and if you want to use the word “mission” is happening within the local community and I’m getting a chance to serve where I live and hopefully take a tiny part in helping people here find out an ickle more about Christ. I don’t want to knock people who go on exotic trips for which people invest lots of time and money and which support overseas churches. However, I do want to say that there is loads to be said for supporting the local and giving a bit of our time and money to support those working tirelessly within our local community.