Letting off Steam

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It happens almost every time I speak to individuals or groups about Europe as a mission field: “Ah, yeah, but we have those problems here, too.”  The majority of the people who say this to me have either never been to Europe or have only been to Europe on vacation.  To be honest, I’ve never known quite how to respond to this.  Part of me wants to scream: “Don’t do that!  Don’t minimize my ministry!”

Of course, that’s not the right response, so often I say: “Yes, but Europe is much farther down the same road that we (in America) are on.”  But that fails to convey the urgency of the calling to Europe.  And, yes, it is an urgent call.

I suspect that some of these people are trying to deflect the tug of the Holy Spirit to come to Europe as missionaries (or perhaps to do the same ministry at home).  What they’re really saying is: “Why go there when the same problems exist here?”  And I could get in their faces and ask them: “OK, so you recognize these problems, what are you doing about them here?”  Because I also suspect that besides volunteering once a month in a soup kitchen, they are not doing anything tangible to change the bad situation that they acknowledge is right here in their own backyard.  Furthermore, they are probably not praying about the bad situation that’s right in their face, either—or maybe they made a single plea to God: “Lord, help these poor people.”

But I doubt that such a confrontation would be effective in motivating anyone into the mission field, either there or here.

Here’s the thing that I really want to say to all those who have remarked to me that America has the same problems as Europe:

Unless you have spent time in ministry (treasure-hunting for trafficked women, reaching out to the poor and marginalized, actively sharing the Good News, etc.) either here or there; unless you have spent time in Europe, talking to pastors and missionaries, hearing their joy at small victories and their anguish at setbacks, opposition, and seemingly impossible situations; unless you have labored on your knees over Europe, praying and fasting for the salvation of the European people, praying for the missionaries and pastors of Europe, praying for Revival in Europe, prayer walking miles and miles of what’s been enemy territory; unless you have spent thousands of dollars of your own money to answer the call of God; unless you have done at least one of those things, then you have not earned the right to say to me that America has the same problems.  Because I have done all of that.  I continue to do all of that because the task is not finished.  True, America has many of the same problems, but Europe is far worse.  So what are you doing about it?  What are you going to do about it?

Thanks for letting me blow off a bit of steam!  Europe needs more missionaries.  Are you sure that you’re not called to Europe?

6 thoughts on “Letting off Steam

  1. Wow, amen. I have heard that Europe is in more of a “rut” you could say than America, but hearing it first-hand is quite interesting. Personally, it disappoints and sort of frustrates me when people say that “we have the same problems anyway.” Although, I will confess, I myself used to say the same thing when I knew nothing of missions or having a mission worldview. Press on, however!

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  2. Good points, Alisa. And I know what you mean. But I think perhaps the biggest ‘problem’ is that we tend to see missions/missionaries as about “solving probems”. Christ didn’t come to solve our problems, but to take care of our sin problem. And Italy, like many nations, have so few people who know and understand that message. So few churches and believers being cities on the hill and lights to the world. To me, the greatest difference is that in the states, in most towns, people can find a church on nearly every corner that will show them the way. But here – where do people go? Every nation has ‘problems’, but nations do not have equal amounts of salt and light!

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    • Sheila, you’re absolutely right! I think my focus was more on how to answer people who are deflecting the nudge of the Holy Spirit while in the same breath minimizing what I (and every missionary in Europe) am doing here.
      Thanks for adding depth to what I wrote.

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      • Glad it helped Alisa! I’ve seen a lot online lately about “But we have problems here too.” My thought is always, “Welcome to the Real World!” According to Christ, we will always have problems in this life!!

        Which is good- they are what help us, wake us up, make us grow. But Christ’s focus is our Sin Problem. His focus is people are dying without knowing him. There are few lights pointing to him in Italy. Ours is a very high and important calling!! Keep up the good work!!

        Liked by 1 person

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