I was privileged to spend this last week with missionaries who like me are just about to enter the field. Some are going to Tanzania, others to Spain. Some are single and some are young. And some are in their seventies—quite the mixed group. We were just about as different as we could be. And through this week I was reminded of the diversity of Christ’s body, as seen in the oddities, quirks, and behavioral differences of each missionary there. I left Pre-Depature Orientation at Wheaton College convinced that missionaries are not subject to cookie cutters, even the ones I’ve created unconsciously.
To be honest, there were many moments of frustration, anxiety, and even grumbling among the group of single missionaries I hit it off with. Meeting after meeting about missionary finances, insurance, and retirement proved taxing and tiresome. But at the end of the week, as we served one another and partook together of Christ at the Lord’s Supper, I breathed in such a beautiful picture of the people God had raised up to send into His harvest. As the pieces of bread were unevenly torn and the wine dripped down our hands while dunking our apportioned piece, I saw the imperfect, immature, and inexperienced servants we really were. And yet these were the very people God had raised up for Himself. We couldn’t help but laugh as we looked at each other and the mess we had made. But that was exactly the point. We ourselves were the beautiful messes God was sending to Spain, Italy, Germany, China and Thailand. Only in Christ can we rejoice and rest in our shortcomings, weakness, and failures.