The Official Writing Challenge
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Date
10/27/06
I have to disagree with your interpretation of what a missionary is. It is a person who is on a mission for God. A person who bears witness for him to those who don't know him. I don't believe you have to leave the country for that. There is much need for it everywhere.

There are groups set up in this country to train people to be missionaries in the U.S. I applaude those who do go out into areas of the unknown and risk their lives. They are amazing, but God calls all of us to be missionaries, and because we all have special talents and gifts it wouldn't make sense to send us all to third world countries.
10/27/06
I chuckled at the reference to the shoes - on my mission field in Caracas among the middle/upper class, fashionable shoes are one of those things that open doors to relationships. Our "jungle" is a concrete one. But what you have written reflects the mentality of many - it's a shame that so many miss the blessing of obedience blinded by the so-called "sacrifices."
This was very well written, showing, through the narrator's lack of understanding, what it means to be a missionary.
10/28/06
I do agree with your definition of a missionary - it involves a cross cultural aspect - but that can be at many different levels. You CAN be a missionary in your own country, because we have so many different cultures in our own countries. Sharing Christ with others around us is ESSENTIAL, and it's called evangelism. But don't hold missionaries on a pedestal. They're just regular people - and they need your prayers. Good word.
10/29/06
I thought there was a lovely contrast here between the restlessness of the person who never went and the woman who found such fulfilment in Cambodia. Of course itís never too late - my own mother-in-law went out to North Africa in her late 50s.

I particularly enjoy the debate among the various commentators as to what a missionary is. In my book we are all called to do the work of an evangelist where we are. But a missionary has a special call (rather than a universal commission) to go to another culture, normally but not always overseas.
We're getting caught up a bit on semantics here. A generally accepted definition of missionary is someone who goes to a foreign country - someone sent on a mission--especially a religious or charitable mission to a foreign country.(WordNet ģ 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University). The author is correct that it's different being a "witness" and being a missionary.We are all called to be witnesses and to be prepared to give an answer at any time for the faith that is in us(Timothy) We are all part of the great COmission. We all need to do the first part "in Judea and Jerusalem", the missionary does the "then to the uttermost parts of the earth" part. That's what our word "missionary" is and this author makes that point correctly.I appreciate her distinction between the two, having grown up an MK in
India in the early '50s. We are all parts of the same body and each of us important, just different. Thanks for the article. Well done.