Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I feel like Marvin K. Mooney

Sending...long story short, we stink, but we are going to fix that.

No more excuses.

It's time for us Hendricks to remove our heads from our rumps and know what's going on with missionaries we've technically sent, but not really sent in the ways that matter. We're truly excited about learning to be better senders.

Come to find out, life is lonely for lots of missionaries. Yes, they need money but they need to know we love them, we pray for them, we haven't forgotten them, and we see ourselves in a partnership with them in fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Radical Series has totally ruined our lives. Not exaggerating. Technically it's Jesus ruining our lives but still...

Recently our pastor was at some conference.

He emailed Aaron to tell him that he had just met David Platt.

I asked Aaron to ask Allen to knee David Platt in his man parts and then say, "That's for ruining the Hendrick's life."

Some days I'm overwhelmingly grateful for all the things we learned while listening to the Radical Series.

Some days I want to maim David Platt, rewind my life and go back to the way it was before we were given ears to hear.

That's just the way it goes.

During this whole "re-evaluate our entire life" phase (and we're still in it, but actually seeing a light at the end of the tunnel) we started asking ourselves some hard questions about how we care for the poor, how we help the orphan, and how we support global missions.

I mentioned that we started asking God (for the very first time in our lives) if we should go.

God says go, so should we go?

With everything else, we've had to confess how quick we are as a couple to jump straight to all the reasons why Jesus didn't really mean what he said. We're lightning fast about listing all the reasons why "go" means "stay right here." We're even faster at coming up with a long list of reasons why Jesus was not talking to us...to Aaron...to me...to our family.

Before asking God if we should go, I had this ongoing, broken record conversation in my head that went something like this...

I can't go.

I can't.

I'm a wienie.

A big wienie.

My nick name is Heather Hilton.

I'm a brat.

Hayden has eczema.

I heart electricity.

Aaron takes man baths...hot longs ones.

I don't have the complexion for missions work. This is a biggie.

I have such a great family. I want to go to all my niece's birthday parties.

I have the best group of friends. For real. We are crazy blessed.

We are doing so much work here for Jesus.

I'm sure that work is uber important.

Too important to leave behind and go.

I'm sure it would be easier for singles to go...or people with less kids...or kids who are younger than mine.

I could seriously go on all day.

Lots of reasons.

Lots of "not it" excuses.

When asking the question, "Do we need to go" we started doing a lot of research.

Research in general...as in, do there need to be more missionaries?

And research specifically about Haiti. For some reason, that's the country that has our heart right now. "Obsessed" is the only word to use for Aaron's relationship with Haiti.

In general, here's what we found about missions and the way the church spends their money on reaching the lost. These statistics are mind boggling. I got them from this blog. The author cites his sources at the bottom of his post.

"Worldwide Christian churches devote more than 85% of their resources on our own development. That is, only 15% of this arsenal of personnel, finance, prayer, and tools goes to bless unreached people groups.
In the U.S., the picture is even bleaker. According to the Bibles for All World Prayer Map, American Christians spend 95% of offerings on home-based ministry, 4.5% on cross-cultural efforts in already-reached people groups, and 0.5% to reach the unreached.
American evangelicals could provide all of the funds needed to plant a church in each of the 6,400 people groups with only 0.2% of their income.
If all the missionaries needed came from this country, less than 0.5% of evangelicals aged 18 - 35 could form the teams required."
Is there a missionary shortage?
There is a desperate...and I mean desperate need for more people to leave this country and suffer for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the poor and the orphaned.
Is there a giving shortage?
A friend sent me this statistic. It's from the book, Through God's Eyes: A Bible Study of God's Motivations for Missions by Patrick O. Cate Past President & General Director of Christar.
"Worldwide Giving -

$2.75 per week per church member
$0.15 per week per church member to foreign missions"
The average amount of money we give to foreign missions is 15 cents a week. Crazy.
Obviously, more people need to be going and more people need to be sending. Too many of us are living in the category where Aaron and I have made our home...in the disobedience column.

Remember how I said we've always been "that couple" who make everyone a little irritated by saying things like this....
"Maybe not everyone is called to adopt, but holy crap, with all the orphans we have sitting in institutions or foster care around the world AND all the homes here in the US with plenty of money and resources to care for those kids COMBINED with the fact that God commands that we care for the orphan, I will go to my grave confidently saying that MORE of us should be adopting."
After doing a few weeks worth of research on missions I think I can confidently say that maybe not everyone is called to go, but dang it...more of us obviously should be going.
For those of us who live here in College Station, the following statistics should really hit home for us.
"60% of unreached people groups live in countries closed to missionaries from North America.
22 million internationals visit the US each year. Of these, some 7050,000 are university students from 220 countries 25% of which prohibit Christian missionaries. 80% of those students will return to their countries having never been invited to an American home.
  • 40% of the world's 220 Heads of State once studied in the US.
  • 60% of international students come from the 10/40 window.
  • 10% of international students are reached by ministries while in the United States."
So, that's where we are right now.

Asking God if He wants us to go.

And like I've said before, please oh please don't think we're totally rad for asking God that question.

We're not rad.

We're sad that this is an area near and dear to the heart of God and yet we've basically told Him to talk to the hand. We serve a missional God, and yet we have never gone to the trouble to do any research or ask God if He wants us to imitate His heart when it comes to "going" somewhere hard and foreign for the sake of the gospel...or the poor...or the orphan.

Read back over those statistics.

The Great Commission is a pretty easy read. It's pretty clear.

The need is great.

And yet if someone would have even suggested to me that I should pray about "going" I would have laughed and then said something sassy like, "Shut up. That's stupid. Puh-lease" and totally dismissed them.

I'm asking myself...if the great commission is so important to God, why aren't we more comfortable asking our friends and our family if God is asking them to go? Why are long-term foreign mission conversations weird (or worse, non-existent) even in the church?


Bob & Judy said...

I commented on this on the sale comments. I am so blog-illiterate Poppi

mandi said...

those numbers about students in our country...now that is an interesting take on missions. i've never thought about the fact that students from other countries don't get be-friended by americans. that is really something.
i was also humbled by the dollar amount given. ouch.

Megan Fletcher said...

this is so near and dear to my heart. You mentioned in your statistics that many countries that are least evangelized are closed to westerners. true. in fact, 80% is the latest stat we've heard around GFA. national/native missionaries really makes sense in these places, in which case we need to be sacrificing while living here so we can resource those who are able to be there and be praying HARD for them.

we have supported the work of China Outreach Ministries (chinaoutreach.org). They are reaching China scholars studying on college campuses here in the U.S.

When we went on a recent support trip to Arizona we talked with one of our supporters who is fluent in Arabic (which totally surprised me). She and her husband have prayed about going, but they haven't heard a yes yet and God keeps bringing lots of people from Middle Eastern countries into her path (who live in her town!). She meets them at a park and talks. They are overjoyed that an American will befriend them, not be frightened of them (how said is that?!), and will help them with their English skills. She is overjoyed with the opportunity to share God's love by being a friend (and hopes to somehow share the Gospel as they become friends).

Finally, we have friends here in the Dallas area who are actually missionaries to the States to minister to Bulgarians. They pastor a Bulgarian church here in the metroplex.

There are so many ways for us to get out of our comfort zone and minister. Just because God doesn't call us to go overseas doesn't mean He isn't going to call us to go across the city.

I think the key is living right now, regardless of where He has us, as though this world is not our home. I don't do this enough. I get sucked in. Just this week I was reminded by Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy. Pauls encourages Timothy to endure hardship along with them (Paul and others imprisoned), though Timothy was not imprisoned. He was pastoring the church in Ephesus. "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer." 2 Tim 2:3,4 Do I enjoy too many of the comforts of living in America? in a suburban community? justifying it because this is where God's placed me? Or is my focus on giving my all for the war?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for introducing me to David Platt thru your blog. Truly, I cannot thank you enough ! The majority of my Christian walk has been nominal at best and thru David's sermons & Secret Church along with your open, candid sharing - God is dealing with me. I'm no longer going thru the motions. Thank you ! Jami in Folsom,CA

Shannon said...

I love the "kick him in the man parts" phrase! My husband and I say that David Platt has wrecked our lives. Our comfy, Christian bubble has popped and now we're trying to figure out where to go from here. I found your blog about a week ago and have been slowly reading through and trying to process what I'm learning about Haiti. I've cried and laughed my way through your posts. Yesterday I finally sat my husband down and through tears shared stories from your blog and about Heartline. And its touched him too. He said, "Shannon, you know what this means. We have to go. Maybe not specifically Haiti (though not ruling it out!) but somewhere! We have to be Christ's hands and feet."
I am encouraged by your blog and enjoying it so much.