By Not Known
What is the hardest mission field? A missionary in tropical Vanuatu reports having electricity for only a few hours a day, water running low and there being no money for the basic supplies. A missionary in China tells of Christian workers been arrested and disappearing, without information or judicial review. Missionaries in other countries speak of how uttering the name of 'Jesus' in public draws trouble. The stories can be multiplied – of how missonaries in distant land face grave difficulties.
Yet, places like these are not the hardest mission field.
The hardest place to persude people to become Christians is close at hand. It is within reach of us all. It is our family. It is our first mission field and a responsibility of each of us.
Why is our family such a hard mission field? The answer is simple: They know us. They hear our pious words about trusting the Lord – and then see us trust ourselves. They hear us speak about God’s grace – but see little grace in our lives. In short, they hear the talk, but they don’t see the walk. And talk without walk is ugly, especially for family members who are always there.
Peter has words to say about mission to our families. HIs words are addressed to wives with unbelieving husbands, but apply equally well to other family settings:
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (1 Peter 3: 1- 4)
Family mission really is a setting where the old words serve us well: use all means possible to spread the gospel … if necessary, use words
Our first responsibility in family mission is to follow Jesus so well that we bring no discredit to this name by our actions. And then we pray – that God will give us opportunities to speak to family members about Jesus and that he will give us the words to say and make them fruitful.
Let us indeed take up God’s purpose for mission among all peoples – including those very close at hand.