I recently received a letter from a missionary who went through the training with us before we left for the mission field. My mind flooded with gratefulness as I remembered the influence she had had on my life and how God used her to bring us into a community that was entirely foreign and outside our comfort zone. I am a city girl and although my heritage is grounded in the heartland, I was apprehensive of this small country town and its established culture.
Have you ever found yourself in a totally unfamiliar situation and are positive you will do or say the wrong thing?
We were in our last few days of language school. We had successfully completed a year of boot camp and another year of language school. Our series of required injections for our targeted mission field were in process and our passports and visas had arrived. We had been tested for tuberculosis, given yellow fever shots, tetanus shots, dengue fever inoculations, malaria pills and a small pharmacy had been accumulated for the specific needs of our remote area, etc.…and we were on a fast track to get into the jungles of Panama!
My husband became aware of a need of one of the mission families and volunteered us to “stop by and check on a family of six children who had just lost their father” on our way back to California. Christina was almost five months old and that little “stop” saw her celebrate her first birthday in that beautiful Nebraska farming community!
During our time there, God confirmed to us that he could and would use us on the mission field and our time there formed the basis of what we are still using to challenge, win, and disciple. His faithfulness in building His character in us over those months prepared us for the years of ministry ahead. Being adopted by this community allowed us the confidence to keep pressing on!
One of the valuable lessons that came out of this well-spent time was the fact that I am responsible for my influence, regardless of how I feel or how others perceive me! My husband, children and now grandchildren, and not to forget everyone I come in contact with everyday, are observing and reading me. “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” II Cor. 3:2 A Christian is a living sermon whether or not he says a word!
Will others speak well of my Lord because of me or
will I be someone’s excuse for a bad attitude or behavior?
The unfamiliar is a great proving ground for our “real” character! Being conscious of my total dependence and need for Him to live the Christian life through me, rather than being pre-occupied with my failure or “will I say or do the right thing” was liberating.
His fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (not insecurity!), meekness, temperance…Gal. 5:22-23 When this is NOT my fruit I know He is NOT living through me! We don’t always know what to say or do when “in the trenches” with our little ones (or big ones) but He does! We often go to friends, counselors and self-help books, looking for answers, while the Bible sits dormant and contains the key!
Could we, moms, really make a difference?
Is our influence the catalyst in the behavior of those entrusted to us?
Could our godly conduct control the spirit of our home and bring peace instead of turmoil?
“Let no man imagine that he has no effect.” Henry George
This missionary has no idea how she influenced my life with hers. We are never fully aware of our sphere of influence, but for better or worse…the influence of our lives carries power… either for the success or the destruction of others!
“The selfless person increases the value of every other person whom he influences.”
The selfish person becomes the excuse for the person following him.
Which will you be?
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.