Mission: so much more than you expect it to be
We all learn about mission in different ways. But many of us come to it with the same preconceived ideas of what it’s all about. Part of our work at BMS World Mission aims to change that. So even (and perhaps especially) if you think you know what it’s all about, read on. We might just surprise you!
Where do you expect mission work to happen?
When we imagine mission workers overseas, we often imagine them being sent to far-flung places we would never be able to visit. We think of people flying off to Africa or India and doing things we could never do at home.
Where does mission work actually happen?
Our mission workers serve all across the world – from France to Mozambique!
We do send mission workers to places like Mozambique, India and Peru – but we also work much closer to home! Christine Kling serves as an associate pastor in Paris, about two hours away from London. And we support work in Southend, helping fight modern slavery. In fact, we’re also helping UK churches learn from and with our brothers and sisters in the world church, changing theologies and learning to minister better – and all that is mission too!
Who do you expect mission workers to be?
Who do you picture when you think of a mission worker? It’s easy to imagine western Christians who have worked overseas for many years. It can be difficult to imagine anyone other than ‘white saviours’ with imperial attitudes and insensitive approaches, maybe?
What does a mission worker actually look like?
Anyone can be a mission worker, no matter what you look like or where you come from. In fact – every Christian is! Ann Bothamley, left, and Annet Ttendo Miller, right)
Mission isn’t restricted to a single age group. Whether they’re 18-year-old Action Teamers or an 80-year-old BMS volunteer like Ann Bothamley serving in India, all our mission workers are an important part of God’s work across the world.
And mission isn’t just sending people from the ‘West to the rest.’ We have mission workers serving in their own countries, and crossing borders. People like BMS lawyer Annet Ttendo Miller, who was born in Uganda but who is currently serving in Mozambique, or like Ben Francis, planting churches in his homeland, India!
What do you expect mission work to be?
It’s easy to imagine that the main thing mission workers do is preach. Or provide traditionally ‘missionary’ things, like medicine or teaching. We imagine them distributing Bibles to local people or setting up health clinics, and it can be difficult to see them doing anything else.
What does mission work actually look like?
Our mission workers want to serve the communities they’re working with in the best way they can, which is why their jobs aren’t always what you would expect them to be! Speech therapist Lois Ovenden, and environmental scientist Laura-Lee Lovering
Mission work can be almost anything. Healthcare and education are a big part of what we do – but even that isn’t constrained to teaching English. Take the BMS supported Siloam Bible Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Many young Karen people enrol there, so that they can study the Bible in their native language. Or our many training programmes to develop crucial skills in local Christians around the world!
Mission today is about responding to the World Church’s needs. Laura-Lee Lovering is an environmental scientist working on a number of different sustainable horticulture initiatives in Peru. And Lois Ovenden is serving as a speech therapist in Uganda, helping those who struggle to communicate. We have physio therapists, chief executives, HR professionals and computer geeks – all serving God alongside local Christians, bringing life in all its fullness to people in Jesus’ name. And it happens because people like you support it. And because people like you go.
We’ve hopefully shown you how much amazing work is done under the umbrella of mission across the world. If you want to help us keep changing expectations of mission work, share this story with your friends and family, and show them what mission actually looks like.
This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission
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