These words come from one of the most well-known passages in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 6:8. After recognizing the depths of his sin, and the sins of his people, God symbolically cleansed the prophet Isaiah, and called out “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” To which the prophet replied, “Here am I. Send me!”
This past Thursday, Matt Macy and I returned from our Luke 10 trip to Tanzania. After a total of (5) flights we arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for a 5-day, 6-night exploration trip. Those joining us were Brad Carpenter, Thomas Moore (future missionary candidate), and three of our friends from Burundi (Dometian, Fidel and Solomon).
In preparation for our trip we read Luke 10:1-17 over numerous times, and asked how these words could apply to our trip. In a very tangible way, I had an opportunity to experience ‘first-hand Jesus’ words from vs. 4 where he said, “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals…” because my luggage got lost and didn’t make it to Burundi until we had arrived in Tanzania. However, I must admit, that after four days of wearing the same clothes, I purchased some clothing in Tanzania for the remainder of our trip.
Often, when we think about Isaiah’s words in chapter 6, our attention naturally goes to global missions. And that certainly is one of the clear applications for us. As we traveled several hours from the city of Dar es Salaam, into the “bush” we met four different missionary families who had taken the words of Isaiah seriously. Each one had a different story to tell, but the result was the same. They had heard the voice of the Lord asking, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And the response was the same, “Here am I. Send me!”
The first young lady we met had moved to a tribe that lives in the trees, several hours from the city. She attempted to learn their culture and ways. In order to be accepted into their village, as one of them, they made her complete a rite of passage which included eating meat from a still born calf that had set out for 3-days before they cooked it, and then sleeping in the cattle pen with other livestock for another (3) days, before returning to the village and being required to once again eat more of that same meat.
I know what you are thinking…GROSS!!! Traveling to places like central Africa can be hard on me physically anyway, with the uncertainty of what we will eat. But, choosing to endure what this young lady went through was more than I could imagine. What kept her from giving up and walking away? I am certain it had to be her clear “call” and compassion for the people to whom she has been giving her life. As a result, (10) people from that tribe have come to faith in Jesus during the past two years. What faithfulness!
Some of you may be thinking to yourself, “Well, that rules me out. I could never do something like that.” But, the fact of the matter is that not all of us are called to go overseas. But, ALL of us are called to go across the street, or across town in the name of Jesus.
Since EFM announced our (5) year goal two years ago, I have watched and wondered to myself, “Should we have a (5) year goal locally…right here in EFC-MAYM? Isn’t it just as important that our neighbor or co-worker knows Jesus as it is that people in Tanzania know Jesus. Don’t they ALL matter to God?”
It may be that your calling is not to go across the ocean (or maybe it is!), but if not God could be calling you to help plant a new church someplace right here in Mid-America. God has gifted you. He will equip you. And, He is calling you to play an important part in His plan, whether locally or globally.
So here is what I am asking you. Would you be willing to take the next week…or even next month…and daily say to God, “Here am I. Send me.”? Or perhaps pray those words daily until God reveals to you where He wants to send you? You are gifted. You are called. Together, let’s ask God what He has in mind for us individually, as families, and as churches. I believe He will be faithful to answer our prayer if we are faithful to say, “Lord Here am I. Send Me.”
Thayne Thompson, DMin
Lead Superintendent, EFC-MAYM